2000-01 Men's Golf Season-in-Review

June 6, 2001

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On the Tee: Arizona closed another highly-successful season with its 15th consecutive berth in the NCAA Championships ... The Cats finished third for the second consecutive year ... No team west of the central time zone has finished ahead of Arizona at the NCAA Championships in the last two years ... UA earned two team championships in 2000-01, including the CGF Match Play National Championship in November, and three individual wins ... Each member of a very young UA squad ( one junior, two sophomores, two freshmen) will return next season and four golfers finished the season ranked in the College Golf Foundation/MasterCard rankings.

The Rankings: The Wildcats finished 2000-01 ranked in all three major college golf polls and were ranked in the nation's top 25 in all three major polls throughout the season. The Cats ranked No. 10 in the final CGF/MasterCard poll, No. 12 in the Golf World poll and No. 6 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, four UA golfers finished the year nationally ranked. Ricky Barnes, the 2001 Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year, ranked 12th in the CGF/MasterCard poll and 27th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Joining Barnes in the national rankings is freshman Chris Nallen, who ranked 29th in the CGF/MasterCard rankings and 41st in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Junior Cody Beyer finished No. 32 in the CGF/MasterCard rankings and No. 57 in Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, while sophomore Reid Hatley ranked 47th in the CGF/MasterCard rankings and 76th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

A Look at the Numbers: The Wildcats ended the 2000-01 campaign with a 294.45 stroke average in 37 stroke play rounds. That average drops to 286.46 when making an adjustment for the Pac-10 Championships (five countable scores per round). UA posted sub-par totals in 10 of its last 17 rounds. The Cats posted top-10 finishes in 12 of 13 events, including nine top-five efforts and an average finish of 4.6. With two team wins in 2000-01, it marks the second straight year in which Arizona picked up multiple team titles. The three individual wins earned this season is the most for UA since 1991-92.

The Arizona Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Ricky Barnes So. 71.05 7/1 63 14
Chris Nallen Fr. 71.81 3/2 66 13
Cody Beyer Jr. 72.22 2/5 65 13
Reid Hatley So. 72.43 3/2 68 14
Andy Connell Fr. 74.80 3/0 67 11

Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . completed his 23rd season at the helm of the Arizona golf program, and in that span 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 play, he also has five 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 57 All-Americans. He is assisted by John Knauer.

2001 NCAA Championships Review: The test of playing 27 holes in one day for the national championship proved to be too much for the University of Arizona men's golf team, as it posted its worst round of the tournament in the final round to finish third at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships. The Wildcats, who held a six-stroke lead midway through the third round when play was suspended for bad weather, could not keep up with the hard-charging University of Florida and ended up with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. Florida finished the event 24-strokes under par over the last two rounds and won the tournament with a 1,126 (-26) total. Arizona, which entered the final round tied for the lead with Florida at 851 (-13), carded a final-round 294 (+6) and fell to third place, one stroke behind runner-up Clemson. Only one UA player posted a sub-par final round. Sophomore Ricky Barnes, who entered the final round tied for the overall lead with eventual winner Nick Gilliam of Florida, shot a 79 (+7) to finish in a tie for eighth place at 284 (-4). Teammate Chris Nallen, who carded a third-round 66 to get back into contention for the lead, shot a closing 77 (+5) to finish in a tie for 13th place at 286 (-2). Junior Cody Beyer was the only UA player to come in under par in the final round, as he tallied a final-round 70 (-1) to finish tied for 16th place at 287 (-1). Sophomore Reid Hatley followed his third-round 71 (-1) with a 73 (+1) in the final round to finish in a tie for 39th place at 294 (+6). Freshman Andy Connell closed with his two best rounds at the championships to finish in 79th place at 307 (+19). The 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships were contested at the Duke University Golf Course, a par 72, 7,045-yard facility in Durham, N.C.

NCAA West Regional Wrap-Up: The University of Arizona men's golf team shot a one-over-par 289 May 19 and finished in second place at the NCAA West Regional. The Wildcats earned its 15th consecutive berth in the NCAA Championships. Arizona's final-round 289 (+1) was good enough to give the squad a three-round total of 867 (+3) for the tournament and clinch runner-up honors. Arizona State won the 27-team event by 15 strokes with an 852 total (-12). UC-Irvine (871), Pacific (872) and South Carolina (880) rounded out the top five. UA freshman Chris Nallen continued his run of strong play and finished the tournament tied for fourth place at 213 (-3). The Blairstown, N.J. native, who has been under par in seven of his last 10 rounds, has top five finishes in each of his last three tournaments. He finished five strokes behind co-winners Kyle Thompson of South Carolina and Matt Jones of Arizona State, who each finished with a three-round total of 208 (-8). Also playing well for the Wildcats was junior Cody Beyer. He equaled his best finish of the season with a tie for sixth place at 214 (-2). Beyer fired a final-round 69 en route to his second top-10 finish of the year. Teammate Reid Hatley finished tied for 34th place at 222 (+6). He tallied a 73 on Saturday.

All-America: Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen were named to the GCAA NCAA Division I Ping All-America team on June 3. Barnes, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif., was a second team All-America pick by the GCAA. He led the Wildcats with a 71.05 stroke average and posted seven top-10 finishes in 13 stroke play events this season, including a tie for eighth place at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships. Barnes won two tournaments in 2000-01, the Savane College All-America Golf Classic in November and the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Championship in April. The Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year posted a team-leading 24 rounds at par or better this season, including 13 rounds in the 60s. Barnes was the national Freshman of the Year and a second team All-America selection last year. Nallen, a freshman from Blairstown, N.J., earned third team All-America honors from the GCAA. He ranked second on the team with a 71.81 stroke average and had three top-10 finishes to his credit. Nallen picked up his first career win on April 22 at the U.S. Intercollegiate and closed the 2000-01 campaign with four consecutive top-15 finishes. He was the low-scoring freshman at the 2001 NCAA West Regional and finished at par or better in 17 of 26 rounds this spring, including eight rounds in the 60s. He finished in a tie for 13th place at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships.

Take Note: With two All-Americans this season, 24 Arizona golfers have earned a total of 40 All-America accolades since 1967. The Wildcats have had at least one All-American in each season since 1992. It also marks the third time in the last four seasons in which UA has had multiple All-America selections.

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.

Making a Move: The performances have been pretty good for the Wildcats in NCAA Regional competition. Since 1989, Arizona has finished no lower than ninth at the NCAA Regional and advanced each year to the NCAA Championships. Arizona has won five NCAA Regionals (1989, 1991-93, 2000) and finished no lower than ninth (1999) in the last 13 years.

A Stroke-Play Win: The Arizona men's golf team dominated the U.S. Intercollegiate, winning the event by 15 strokes. It was the team's first stroke play tournament win since last season's NCAA West Regional. Entering the final 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. He 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.

Match Play National Champions: The University of Arizona's men's golf team defeated fifth-seeded Georgia Tech by a score of 3-2 Nov. 12 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 title was Arizona's second CGF Match Play title. UA 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 (through 12 events) is the best in the Pac-10 this year. He has four top-10 finishes in six events this spring. 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.

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. He 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 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 kudos. Junior Cody Beyer and freshman Chris Nallen were second team picks, while sophomore Reid Hatley was an honorable mention selection.

Among the Leaders: Arizona earned 12 top-10 finishes in 13 events this season. The Cats posted top-10 efforts in all eight spring tournaments, including top-three efforts in its last four outings. UA was the highest-finishing Pac-10 team at the NCAA Championships for the second straight year.

Top Freshman in the West: Chris Nallen enjoyed a strong run to close the season. In his last four events, he had three top-five finishes (1st at U.S. Intercollegiate/T5th at Pac-10 Championships/T4th at NCAA West Regional) to his credit and his three-under-par 213 at the NCAA West Regional made him the top-finishing freshman. He finished under par in nine of his last 14 rounds and averaged 69.9 strokes per round in that span. His first- and third-round 66s at the NCAA Championships not only equaled his low round of the year, but was also the low round of the day at the championships. He was the first-round leader at the NCAAs.

Back in the Top 10: Junior Cody Beyer tallied a 73-72-69=214 (-2) to finish tied for sixth at the NCAA West Regional. For Beyer, who played since December with a torn left ACL, it was his best finish this spring and fifth-lowest tournament of the year. His final-round 69 was his fifth round in the 60s this season. He finished tied for 16th place at the NCAA Championships and missed All-America honors by just one stroke.

Team Leader: With a strong spring, Ricky Barnes leads the team lead with 24 rounds at par or better this season. Nineteen of Barnes' 26 rounds this spring have been at par or better, including 13 of his last 17. How good has he been this spring? In the three events prior to the NCAA West Regional (10 rounds), Barnes carded seven rounds in the 60s. He opened the NCAA Championships with rounds of 68 and 65.

Tuning Up: Following Barnes' lead, the Wildcats steadily improved its play with each tournament this spring. In eight spring events, Barnes averaged 70.62 strokes per round, 1.24 strokes lower than his average in the fall. As a whole, the team has also picked up play, lowering its scoring average by 4.16 strokes to 284.85 in the spring (making an adjustment for the Pac-10 Championships, where five scores were counted in each round). This spring, 15 of UA's 26 team rounds have been below par, including nine of the last 15.

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 Beyer's 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).

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 14 events this year, Hatley ranks fourth in stroke average (72.43), second in top-10 finishes (3), and is third in rounds at par or better (20). He was ranked No. 47 individually in the final CGF/MasterCard rankings.

One Cool Freshman: Chris Nallen quietly became one of the top freshmen in the country. Nallen played in all 13 varsity events this season and ranked second on the squad with a 71.81 stroke average. He has one victory and four top-20 finishes to his credit, while his 22 rounds at par or better rank second 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 finished 2000-01 ranked No. 29 nationally in the final CGF/MasterCard rankings.

Looking for a Fifth: While the majority of the UA lineup remained the same, the Cats looked for a reliable player to fill in at the No. 5 position all season. Since the fall, the Nos. 1-4 positions have been manned by Ricky Barnes, Cody Beyer, Reid Hatley and Chris Nallen. Each of those golfers played solidly, posting a cumulative 71.87 stroke average with 15 top-10 finishes. Finding a consistent No. 5 was the key to success in 2000-01, as Andy Connell, Brandon Smith, Ben Clark, and Tim Weiss each attempted to occupy the role. That quartet posted a cumulative 74.82 stroke average.

Finishing High: Since finishing eighth at its own PING-Arizona Intercollegiate Jan. 30, Arizona picked up its play and steadily improved its finish in the spring. In the last seven spring events, the team's average finish was 3.4 with a stroke average of 284.04.

Best in the West: Not only has Arizona been the top finishing team west of the central time zone in each of the last two NCAA Championships, but the Cats have done well when compared to other West Coast teams in key tournaments. Arizona was the only team to post a top-three finish in the 2001 Pac-10 Championships, NCAA West Regional and NCAA Championships.

Record-Setting Effort: Ricky Barnes, 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. The 196 total was also a school scoring record.

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