Men's Golf Heads to Oregon to Defend NCAA West Regional Crown

May 16, 2001

On the Tee: The Arizona men's golf team competes at the 2001 NCAA West Regional in Corvallis, Ore. ... The event, which features 27 teams and six individuals, is one of three qualifying events for the NCAA Championships... UA won last year's West Regional by four strokes with a 839 total (-25) ... All five of UA's golfers are ranked in the most recent CGF/MasterCard rankings.

The Rankings: As has been the case all season, the Wildcats remain ranked in all three major college golf polls. The Cats are ranked No. 14 in the MasterCard/CGF poll, No. 12 in the Golf World poll and No. 8 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, five UA golfers are ranked nationally. Ricky Barnes, the 2000 National Freshman of the Year, is ranked 12th in the CGF/MasterCard poll and 31st in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Joining Barnes in the national rankings is sophomore Reid Hatley, No. 35 in the CGF/MasterCard rankings and No. 81 in the Golfweek/Sagarin poll, while junior Cody Beyer is No. 62 in the CGF/MasterCard rankings and No. 88 in Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, freshman Chris Nallen is ranked 68th in the CGF/MasterCard rankings and 63rd in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, while fellow freshman Chris Nallen is ranked No. 90 in the CGF/MasterCard poll.

2001 NCAA West Regional: Oregon State University plays host to the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf West Regional, May 17-19. The event will be contested at Trysting Tree Golf Club, a par 72, 7,060-yard facility in Corvallis, Ore. The 54-hole tournament features 18 holes each day beginning Thursday. Tee times begin at 7:30 a.m. PDT each day. In addition to Arizona, the following teams are scheduled to compete: Arizona State, Austin Peay, BYU, California, Colorado State, Detroit, Fresno State, Navy, Nevada, New Mexico, Oral Roberts, Oregon, Pacific, Pepperdine, San Diego State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, UC-Irvine, UCLA, USC, UNLV, Wake Forest, Washington, Weber State, and host Oregon State. The following individuals will also compete: Eric Ballinger (Denver), Scott Carlyle (Hawaii), Ryan Hanratty (Washington State), David Hearn (Wyoming), John Mallinger (Long Beach) and Jeff Wood (UC-Santa Barbara).

The Probable Arizona Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Ricky Barnes So. 70.76 6/1 63 12
Chris Nallen Fr. 71.93 2/1 66 11
Reid Hatley So. 72.15 3/2 68 12
Cody Beyer Jr. 72.37 1/4 65 11
Andy Connell Fr. 74.43 3/0 67 9

Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in his 23rd season at the helm of the Arizona golf program, coach Rick LaRose has established the Wildcats as one of the finest programs in the nation. The only college coach to win both a men's (1992) and women's (1996) NCAA Championship, LaRose's teams have won seven NCAA Regionals, five Pac-10 crowns and three Rolex Match Play titles. In NCAA Championship competition, he also has four third-place finishes, a fifth-place and two sixth-place efforts to his credit. Since 1978, his men's teams have won 44 tournaments and produced 55 All-Americans. He is assisted by John Knauer.

Last Time Out ... Pac-10 Championships: University of Arizona sophomore Ricky Barnes shot a final-round 68 on April 29 to win the individual title at the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championships. Barnes, who led the event wire-to-wire, claimed individual medalist honors with a four-round total of 268 (-16). It was the fourth career victory for Barnes, and his second this season. Barnes' 16-under-par total was a record low for a UA golfer at the Pac-10 Championships. Barnes' title marks the sixth time a Wildcat golfer has won the Pac-10 championship since joining the league in 1978-79. Barnes was one of just two golfers in the 60-player field to register four consecutive rounds in the 60s. He won the tournament by three strokes over Hunter Mahan of USC, who tallied a 271 total (-13). UA freshman Chris Nallen continued his run of strong play by posting a fifth-place finish with a 276 total (-8). The duo of Barnes and Nallen helped the Wildcats finish in third place as a team. UA tallied a 355 team total (E) on Sunday and finished with a 1,408 total (-12). Arizona, which placed fifth in this event last season, finished eight strokes behind USC, which won the tourney with a 1,400 total (-20). Arizona State claimed runner-up honors with a 1,404 total (-16). Sophomore Reid Hatley closed the tournament with two sub-par rounds and finished in 11th place. Hatley fired a one-under-par 70 Sunday and posted a 282 total (-2). Also competing for the Wildcats were juniors Cody Beyer and Ben Clark and freshman Andy Connell. Beyer finished in 41st place at 293 (+9), while Connell finished tied for 42nd at 294 (+10) and Clark finished tied for 49th at 296 (+10). The 72-hole Pac-10 Conference Championships were contested at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif., a par 71, 6,786-yard layout.

Moving On: The top 10 teams and two individuals from this weekend's NCAA West Regional will advance to the 2001 NCAA Championships, May 30-June 2, in Durham, N.C. Arizona has won five NCAA Regionals (1989, 1991-93, 2000) and advanced to the NCAA Championships in each of the last 15 years.

A Stroke-Play Win: The Arizona men's golf team continued its dominance at the U.S. Intercollegiate on April 22, posting the lowest score of the day to win the event by 15 strokes. It was the team's first stroke play tournament win since last season's NCAA West Regional. Entering the day with a five-stroke lead, all five UA golfers came it at par or better to propel the team to a final-round 280 (-4) and 837 (-15) total. Arizona's final-round 280 was its lowest closing total of the season. Led by freshman Andy Connell's 69, three UA golfers posted sub-par rounds, while two others finished at par. The Wildcats' 837 total was 15 strokes better than runner-up Arizona State (852). With a final-round 71, freshman Chris Nallen claimed individual medalist honors. The Blairstown, N.J., native finished with a 54-hole total of 206 (-7) to top the field of 104 by four strokes. It was the first career victory for Nallen and topped his previous low tournament score by nine strokes. Nallen finished just ahead of teammate Andy Connell and Arizona State's Jeff Quinney, who tied for second place with a 210 (-3) total. It was Arizona's second tournament victory of the year, and the team's first stroke-play win since last season's NCAA West Regional.

Last Season's NCAA West Regional: The eighth-ranked University of Arizona men's golf team won the 2000 NCAA West Regional Men's Golf Championship today at Riverbend Golf Course (Par-72, 6,966 yards). Capturing their first NCAA West Regional title since 1993, the Wildcats finished with a three-round total of 25-under-par 839 and won the championship by four strokes over UNLV and Brigham Young. The UA entered the final round in second place and trailed BYU by one shot, but fired a 281 today to win the title, which was its third overall tournament win of the year. Following the top-three were USC, who placed fourth at 848, New Mexico (850) and Fresno State and Arizona State, which tied for sixth at 851. The individual championship was won by Pepperdine's Michael Beard. He carded a 65 today and won with a three-round total of 12-under-par 204. Arizona's top finisher was freshman Reid Hatley, who finished in a four-way tie for fifth at 6-under-par 210. Hatley shot a 69 today to move from a tie for 18th into a tie for fifth. Arizona senior Derek Gillespie entered the day in a tie for first, but shot a 2-over-par 74 and dropped to a nine-way tie for ninth at 5-under-par 211. Also included in that group who tied for ninth at 211, was Arizona sophomore Cody Beyer, who shot a 72 today. UA freshman Ricky Barnes shot a 70 today and finished in a six-way tie for 18th at 4-under-par 212. The final member of the first place Arizona lineup was Scott Moore, who tied for 60th at 3-over-par 219. 'We played very consistent golf and we never got ahead of ourselves,' said Arizona head coach Rick LaRose. 'Everyone of these players worked real hard - it was a blue collar effort. They grinded their way out there and I couldn't be more proud of them. We've played real solid since January. If we are peaking, it's a great time to peak.'

LaRose Named U.S. Head Coach: The Golf Coaches Association of America has selected University of Arizona Director of Golf Rick LaRose as the head coach for the United States team in the 2001 U.S.-Japan Collegiate Matches. The competition, which is scheduled to take place July 2-5, 2001, at Verde Sano Golf Club, located in Sano shi, Tochigi, Japan. The annual matches consist of a Walker Cup format between collegiate teams from Japan and the United States. The United States' eight-man, four-woman team for the event will be announced later this spring. Nine of LaRose's UA players have competed in this event since 1990.

Match Play National Champions: The University of Arizona's men's golf team defeated fifth-seeded Georgia Tech by a score of 3-2 on Sunday to claim the team title at the 2000 CGF National Intercollegiate Match Play Team Championships. The Wildcats, seeded No. 3 in the tournament, defeated UNLV, 4-1, in the semifinals Nov. 11 and Northwestern, 3-2, in the first round to advance to the title match. Sophomore Reid Hatley, junior Cody Beyer and freshman Chris Nallen all won their matches against the Yellow Jackets. Hatley scored a 1-up victory over Wes Latimer. Beyer came away with a 2 and 1 win over Troy Matteson, while Nallen defeated Kris Mikkelson with a final of 3 and 1. Sophomore Ricky Barnes dropped a close match to Bryce Molder, losing 1-up. The tournament championship was Arizona's second CGF Match Play title. The Wildcats won the inaugural Match Play Championships in 1996.

P.O.W.: University of Arizona sophomore Ricky Barnes was named College Player of the Week May 2 by Golf World magazine. Barnes earned the honor after winning the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Championship by three strokes on April 29. The Stockton, Calif., native shot a 72-hole total of 268 (-16) to claim individual medalist honors. It was his fourth career victory and his second this season. Barnes' 70.76 stroke average is the best in the Pac-10 this year. He has four top-10 finishes in six events this spring. Barnes was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season and shared 2001 Golfer-of-the-Year honors with Arizona State's Jeff Quinney. Arizona is just one of four schools in the country to have both a men's and women's national Player of the Week this season. UA's Lorena Ochoa (Sept. 29) and Natalie Gulbis (Feb. 26) were honored earlier this year by Golf World magazine.

Pac-10 Honors: Sophomore Ricky Barnes was named Pacific-10 Conference Golfer of the Year April 30 in voting released by the league's head coaches. Barnes was named Co-Golfer of the Year after winning the 2001 Pac-10 Championship by three strokes. The Stockton, Calif., native shot a 72-hole total of 268 (-16) to claim individual medalist honors. It was his fourth career victory and his second this season. Barnes' 70.76 stroke average was the best in the Pac-10 this year. He has four top-10 finishes in six events this spring. Barnes was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season and shared 2001 Golfer-of-the-Year honors with Arizona State's Jeff Quinney. Barnes' efforts also earned him a slot on the all-Pac-10 first team. Three other UA golfers were honored with all-conference accolades. Junior Cody Beyer and freshman Chris Nallen were second team picks, while sophomore Reid Hatley was an honorable mention selection. Beyer, a native of Tucson, Ariz., has a 72.37 stroke average through 11 events this season. One of Arizona's most consistent golfers, Beyer has five top-20 finishes to his credit and 14 rounds at par or better. He was an honorable mention all-Pac-10 honoree last year. Nallen, a native of Blairstown, N.J., ranks second on the squad with a 71.93 stroke average. He won the U.S. Intercollegiate and finished tied for fifth at the 2001 Pac-10 Championships. He ranks third on the team with 18 rounds at par of better and four of his last seven rounds have been in the 60s. Hatley, a native of Spokane, Wash., has five top-20 finishes this season and ranks third on the team with a 72.15 stroke average. One of two UA golfers to play in 12 events to date, Hatley ranks second on the team with 19 rounds at par or better.

The Winner: Freshman Chris Nallen earned individual medalist honors at the U.S. Intercollegiate on April 22, posting a career-low tournament total of 206 (-7). Nallen is one of two Wildcats to win individual titles this season, joining Ricky Barnes, who captured the Savane College All-America Golf Classic in November and the Pac-10 individual title on April 29. Nallen's 206 total was the third-lowest tournament total this season for a UA golfer this season, ranking behind Barnes' 196 at the Savane All-America and Cody Beyers' 204 at the Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Invitational. Nallen's victory means that UA has had a freshman win medalist honors in each of the last two seasons (Barnes).

A Share of the Lead: With a strong spring, Ricky Barnes now leads the team lead with 20 rounds at par or better this season. Fifteen of Barnes' 19 rounds this spring have been at par or better, including nine of his last 10. How good has he been this spring? In his last three events (10 rounds), Barnes has carded seven rounds in the 60s.

Tuning Up: Following Barnes' lead, the Wildcats are steadily improving play with each tournament this spring. In five spring events, Barnes is averaging 69.95 strokes per round, 1.91 strokes lower than his average in the fall. As a whole, the team has also picked up play, lowering its scoring average to 283.94 by 6.33 stokes in the spring (making an adjustment for the Pac-10 Championship, where five scores were counted in each round). This spring, 13 of UA's 19 team rounds have been below par, including seven of the last eight.

One-Two Punch: In addition to Ricky Barnes' win at the Pac-10 Championships, freshman Chris Nallen also put forth a strong effort with a fifth-place finish, his second consecutive top-five finish. Nallen carded an eight-under-par 276 to finish in a tie for fifth place and earn all-conference honors. He was one of three Wildcats to finish in the top 12.

Finding the Positives: After posting an eighth-place finish at its own PING-Arizona Intercollegiate, the team has done a good job this spring of posting solid finishes. The team has an average finish of fourth in five events in an average field of 16. The team's stroke average per round in those three events is 282.63.

Among the Leaders: Arizona has 10 top-10 finishes in 11 team events this season. The Cats have posted top-10 efforts in all six spring tournaments to date, including a third-place effort at the Pac-10 Championships. It was the team's best league finish since 1998.

Making an Adjustment: Whatever is said in the clubhouse after the first 18 holes must work because the Wildcats' stroke average in the second round of spring tournaments is 3.7 shots lower than its first round average. UA has opened five spring events with a stroke average of 286.2. That mark falls to 282.5 in the second round and rises slightly to 283.7 in the third round of play.

One Cool Freshman: Chris Nallen has quietly become one of the top freshmen in the country. Nallen has played in all 10 varsity events this season and ranks second on the squad with a 71.93 stroke average. He has one victory and two top-20 finishes to his credit and his 18 rounds at par or better rank third on the squad. He was the only UA player at the CGF Match Play National Championships to win all three of his singles matches. He is ranked No. 63 nationally in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. He is averaging 70.0 strokes per round over his last 10 rounds played.

Mr. Consistency: Arguably Arizona's most consistent player all season, Cody Beyer continues to perform well, despite playing with a torn left ACL all spring. Averaging 72.37 strokes per round (No. 4 on the team) this year, he has earned top-20 finishes in four of his last five starts. He is ranked No. 62 individually in the most recent CGF/MasterCard rankings.

Looking for a Fifth: While the majority of the UA lineup has remained the same, the Cats are still looking for a reliable player to fill in at the No. 5 position. Since the fall, the Nos. 1-4 positions have been manned by Ricky Barnes, Cody Beyer, Reid Hatley and Chris Nallen. Each of those players have played solid golf, posting a cumulative 71.79 stroke average with 12 top-10 finishes. Finding a consistent No. 5 has been the key to success this season, as Brandon Smith, Ben Clark, Andy Connell and Tim Weiss have each attempted to occupy the role. That quartet has a cumulative 74.71 stroke average.

At the Top: Sophomore Reid Hatley remains one of the UA leaders in several statistical categories. Joining Barnes as the only player to see action in 12 events this year, Hatley ranks third in stroke average (72.15), second in top-10 finishes (3), and is second in rounds at par or better (19). He is ranked No. 35 individually in the most recent CGF/MasterCard rankings.

Record-Setting Effort: Ricky Barnes, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif., earned his first tournament victory of the year at the Savane College All-America Golf Classic on Nov. 21 by posting a record-setting total of 196 (-17) to win the event by six strokes. He broke the previous tournament scoring record by five shots. Barnes carded three consecutive rounds in the 60s (63-67-66) to clinch his third career win. He joins a list of former Classic winners, including Jerry Pate (1974), Davis Love III (1984), Notah Begay (1994) and Tiger Woods (1995). The 196 total was also a UA low score for a tournament winner.

Not a Bad Fall: The Wildcats finished the fall with a 290.27 stroke average and No. 10 national ranking. Leading the way was sophomore Ricky Barnes, who posted a 71.86 stroke average in five scoring events. All told, seven UA golfers had stroke averages of 74.00 or less in fall competition.

1999-2000 In Review: From beginning the year not ranked in the preseason top-25 to finishing third and just two strokes behind the leaders at the NCAA Championship, the 1999-2000 Arizona men's golf season was one that will go down as one of the most rewarding in the program's history. Continuing to improve every step of the way with a top-five lineup that consisted of two seniors, a sophomore and two true freshmen, the Cats won two tournaments, including the NCAA West Regional, and placed second four times. After its unexpected third place showing at the NCAA Championships, Arizona ended the season ranked sixth in the country and was the highest ranked Pac-10 Conference team in the final poll.

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