Defending Champ Oregon Heads to Western Intercollegiate

April 5, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon men's golf team will try to defend its 2001 Western Intercollegiate title at the oldest collegiate golf tournament West of the Mississippi River, Monday and Tuesday at the 6,445-yard, par 70 Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz, Calif.

The Ducks are coming off a win at last week's Oregon Duck Invitational and a second-place showing at last month's Cleveland Southwest Intercollegiate, and will stick with the same starting line-up. Senior Aaron Byers, who leads the team with a 72.2 strokes per round average, will play at No. 1, followed by juniors John Ellis and Chris Carnahan at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, senior Brandon Harnden at No. 4 and sophomore Mike Sica anchoring the No. 5 spot.

'This is a very prestigious tournament,' said Oregon coach Steve Nosler. 'Year-in and year-out, it is always one of the really good college golf tournaments in the country. It will be a good test for us to see how we handle coming into a tournament like this as the defending champion.'

The 17-team field for the 56th annual Western Intercollegiate features No. 10 Fresno State and No. 12 Washington from the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin top 25. California, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Stanislaus, Hawaii, Kansas Long Beach State, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, host San Jose State, Santa Clara, Stanford and Texas-El Paso are also scheduled to compete.

Last year, Oregon ran away with the Western Intercollegiate, winning by 17 strokes over Washington. Ellis and Carnahan tied for third at 210, while senior Matt Genovese tied for 10th at 216 and Sica had the best performance of his young career, tying for 17th at 218.

'We have four of the five guys who won here last year playing again, and we're playing relatively good golf right now,' Nosler said. 'I'd like to keep our momentum going as we get closer to Pac-10s and NCAAs.'

Oregon has a long tradition with the Western Intercollegiate and has more individual winners of the tournament than any other school. That list includes Peter Jacobsen, Cam Martin, Ted Snavely and Doug DuChateau.

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