Runner-Up Finish Qualifies Cats for NCAA Championships
May 16, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. - Led by the stellar play of Tarquin MacManus, the University of Arizona men's golf team finished in second place at the NCAA Southeast Regional Saturday in Sorrento, Fla.
MacManus, a sophomore from Cairns, Queensland, Australia, held off two challengers from host-UCF to claim individual medalist honors and lead the Wildcats to a three-round total of 829 (-23) and a tie for second place. Arizona posted a two-under 282 tally in Saturday's final round to share runner-up honors with top-ranked and top-seeded Georgia and third-seeded South Carolina, 11 strokes behind tournament-winner UCF.
Arizona's 23-under 829 total equaled the 15th-lowest tournament tally in school history.
The effort qualified Arizona for the NCAA Championships for the 26th time in school history and the 22nd time in the last 23 seasons. The only break in the streak since 1987 came last season, and this year's squad rebounded furiously at the regional by posting its low aggregate total of the season and the second lowest tally in relation to par. The Cats bested two higher-seeded teams in earning one of five qualifying slots for the 2009 NCAA Championships.
MacManus earned his first collegiate victory with a final-round 69 (-2) en route to a three-round total of 198 (-15) and two-stroke win. His effort was just enough to hold off UCF's Brad Schneider and Blayne Barber, who posted a final round 63 and 62, respectively, to trim three shots off MacManus' second-round lead.
MacManus' tournament total is the fourth lowest in school history. He also becomes the sixth Wildcat to earn individual medalist honors at the NCAA regional, joining Robert Gamez, 1989 (206/-10); Harry Rudolph, 1992 (201/-15), Manny Zerman, 1993 (211/-5); Ricky Barnes, 2002 (210/-6) and Chris Nallen, 2004 (211/-5).
Over his last 10 rounds played, MacManus has a 69.60 stroke average to go with his win and two other top-10 finishes. Eight of those 10 rounds have been at par or better, including five rounds in the 60s.
Arizona also received solid play from senior Tyler Neal and freshman Philip Bagdade, who each collected top-20 finishes. Neal equaled the low tournament of his career with a seven-under 206 tally and a tie for seventh place. It was his fifth top-10 finish of the season.
Bagdade tied for 19th place with a four-under 209, highlighted by a first-round 67. It was Bagdade's fifth top-20 placement this season.
In 20 NCAA regional appearances, this was Arizona's first such appearance outside the west. Interestingly, four of the five players in the UA lineup made their NCAA postseason debuts. Only MacManus, who played in last season's NCAA West regional as an individual, had previous postseason experience.
The NCAA Southeast Regional was contested at Red Tail Golf Course, a par-72, 7,126-yard layout.
The top five teams and the low individual from each of six NCAA Regionals qualify for the 2009 NCAA Men's Golf Championships, which is scheduled for May 26-30 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
Top-Five Teams1. UCF 268-277-273=818 (-34)2. ARIZONA 270-277-282=829 (-23) Georgia 282-275-272=829 (-23) South Carolina 273-287-269=829 (-23)5. Iowa 283-278-276=837 (-15)
Top-Five Individuals1. Tarquin MacManus, Arizona 63-66-69=198 (-15)2. Brad Schneider, UCF 66-71-63=200 (-13)3. Blayne Barber, UCF 69-71-62=202 (-11)4. Corey Nagy, Charlotte 65-70-69=204 (-9)5. Spencer Fulford, Georgia 70-69-66=205 (-8) Brooks Koepka, Florida State 69-69-67=205 (-8)