No. 22 Men's Golf Takes On High-Powered Field at ASU Thunderbird Invite

March 31, 2010

CORVALLIS - The Oregon State men's golf team, ranked No. 22 according to the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Division I Coaches Poll, heads to the desert to compete at the 38th annual ASU Thunderbird Invitational.

The trip is expected to pay dividends in late April when the Beavers return to the Karsten Golf Course, the same course that hosts the Pac-10 Championships.

'It's going to be kind of like a preview of the Pac-10,' head coach Brian Watts said. 'All of the Pac-10 schools will be there trying to get in as much golf as they can before the Pac-10 championships at the end of the month.'

Watts isn't afraid of the drastic weather change, coming from the unrelenting rain that covered the Pacific Northwest early this week, before the Beavers' departure, to the dry climate of the southwest. Having only one practice round to adjust to the course and its surroundings will have to be enough for the Beavers.

'We'll be down there and have a full day of practice, typically these guys can make the adjustments pretty quick. But we haven't played at ASU for a couple years now,' Watts said. 'The guys have proven that they can go on the road and not have any experience with the golf course and competition and be okay. We'll get down there and play on the dry turf and hopefully get some sunshine.'

The course itself has proven to be one of the premier college courses in the country, receiving four-and-a-half stars from the Golf Digest Ratings Panel. The par-71, 7,057-yard course is straight forward with several challenging par threes. The challenge of the course can be the desert wind that will push balls all over the rough.

'They're saying the rough is going to be up and the greens are going to be fast and firm, so it's going to put a premium on hitting the ball in play off of the tee. The greens aren't very big, so hitting the greens is going to be key out there to give yourself a lot of birdie opportunities.'

The Beavers will play with seniors Mike Barry, Paul Peterson and Diego Velasquez and sophomores Casey King and Morten Madsen. Velasquez is ranked No. 2 in the nation according Golfstat.com.

The field for the Thunderbird Invitational includes Arizona State (#11 Golfweek), Arizona, BYU, California (#24 Golfweek), Colorado State, UC Irvine, Oregon (#15 Golfweek), Oregon State (#25 Golfweek), San Diego State, Stanford (#2 Golfweek), UCLA (#7 Golfweek), UNLV (#9 Golfweek), USC (#12 Golfweek), Washington (#6 Golfweek) and Washington State.

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