Men's Golf Release
Oct. 31, 2003
On the Tee: It's a busy week for the Arizona men's golf program as both the varsity and junior varsity squads are in action ... The Wildcat varsity concludes fall team play at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C., while the junior varsity opens play at the Del Walker Collegiate Classic in Long Beach, Calif.
The Rankings: The Wildcats opened the 2003-04 season ranked in the top 20 in all three major college golf polls, and are currently ranked 18th in the most recent (Oct. 22) Precept/GCAA Coaches Poll and 17th in the (Oct. 10) Golfworld Coaches Poll. After four events, UA checks in at No. 46 on the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Individually, senior Chris Nallen is ranked fourth among Golfweek magazine's '50 College Players to Watch' list, marking the third consecutive season in which he has made the list.
A Look at the 2003 Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship: The Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship will be held Friday-Sunday, Nov. 7-9, at the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a par 71, 7,145-yard layout. Now in its second year, the tournament features 16 of the nation's best teams competing in a modified double-elimination match play tournament. Tournament seeds were determined by the Golf Coaches Association of America and are as follows: (1) Florida, (2) UCLA, (3) Clemson, (4) Georgia, (5) Georgia Tech, (6) Arizona State, (7) Oklahoma State, (8) Texas, (9) Augusta State, (10) Wake Forest, (11) UNLV, (12) USC, (13) Arizona, (14) Auburn, (15) North Carolina State and (16) Wichita State. Arizona will face Georgia in Friday's first round.
The Probable Arizona Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. EventsChris Nallen Sr. 72.00 1/2 62 4Henry Liaw Fr. 74.91 0/0 70 4Josh Esler Fr. 74.82 0/0 68 4Nathan Lashley Jr. 74.18 0/0 68 4Blaine Peffley So. 74.33 0/0 71 1Kipp Riehle Jr. 71.67 0/0 70 1
Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in his 26th season at the helm of the Arizona golf program, and in that span has established the Wildcats as one of the nation's elite programs. 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 51 tournaments and produced 41 All-Americans. LaRose, who has coached two U.S. Amateur champions, was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame on Jan. 22, 2003. He is assisted by John Knauer.
Last Time Out: Bolstered by a record-setting final-round tally by Chris Nallen, the University of Arizona men's golf team posted its lowest score of the season to finish in seventh place Oct. 14 at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala.Nallen, a senior from Hackettstown, N.J., fired a final-round nine-under-par 62 en route to a three-round total of 205 (-8) and a tie for ninth place. It was Nallen's first top-10 finish in three starts this season and the 18th of his career. His 62 was just the second such score recorded in Arizona golf history and the lowest in relation to par in school history. Nallen's round included seven birdies and an eagle-3 on the 16th hole. Robert Gamez recorded an eight-under 62 at the 1989 NCAA Championships, on a par-70 layout. Nallen's eight-under 205 total was also the 11th lowest 54-hole aggregate total in school history. The senior's efforts helped Arizona post its lowest tournament total of the season. The Wildcats tallied a seven-under 845 total to finish seventh in the 12-team field. The team's single round totals of 281, 276 and 288 were the lowest three totals for the Cats through 11 rounds this season. Oklahoma State won the event with a 34-under-par 818 total. Including Nallen, four of the five Wildcats in the lineup posted low tournament totals for the season. All told, Arizona posted eight rounds at par or better at Birmingham's Old Overton Club, a total that was two greater than its season tally entering the event. Junior Nathan Lashley posted rounds of 72, 68 and 74 to finish in a tie for 31st place at 214 (+1). Also strong in his first appearance of the season was Kipp Riehle. A junior from Phoenix, Riehle shot 70-71-74=215 (+2) to tie for 34th place. A pair of freshmen also posted solid efforts, as Henry Liaw and Josh Esler tied for 38th and 46th places, respectively, with totals of five-over 218 and eight-over 221.
Last Year at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship: Arizona defeated Texas Christian, 3-2, to claim third place at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship at the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort. Led by freshman Blaine Peffley, Arizona won at the second, third and fifth positions clinch the match over sixth-seeded TCU and finish third in the field of 16. Peffley, a native of Lebanon, Pa., used a quick start to defeat TCU's Colby Beckstrom, 4 and 3. He won four of the first six holes in the match en route to his third win in the tournament. Peffley, who finished with a 3-0-1 record, was the only Wildcat player to finish the event undefeated. Teammates Chris Nallen and Reid Hatley also came through with wins in the final match. Nallen defeated David Schultz, 5 and 3, while Hatley downed J.J. Killeen, 2-up, to give fifth-seed Arizona the three points it needed for victory.
Match Results Team Finish(5) Arizona def. (12) Pepperdine, 3-2 1. Augusta State 4-0(5) Arizona def. (13) North Carolina State, 3.5-1.5 2. Clemson 3-1(1) Clemson def. (5) Arizona, 4.5-0.5 3. ARIZONA 3-1(5) Arizona def. (6) TCU, 3-2 4. TCU 2-2 5. Texas 2-1-1 Oklahoma State 2-1-1
A Look at the Del Walker Collegiate Classic: The Del Walker Collegiate Classic will be held Friday-Saturday, Nov. 7-8, at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, Calif., a par 72, 6,631-yard layout. Hosted by Long Beach State University, The event features a 12-team field: Arizona (junior varsity), Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Lamar, Long Beach State, North Texas, Oregon State, Pacific, San Jose State, Texas-San Antonio, UC-Riverside and UC-Santa Barbara. The Wildcat junior varsity won this event last year with a five-over-par total of 869 on the PGASC Champions Course in Calimesa, Calif.
The Probable Arizona JV Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. EventsNick Juszczak Jr. 73.40 0/1 70 2Nathan Tyler Fr. 77.00 0/0 72 2Ben Marsh Fr. First Collegiate EventBilly Whalen Fr. First Collegiate EventBrett Carter Fr. First Collegiate Event
Last Year at the 49er Collegiate Classic: The Arizona junior varsity won the 49er Collegiate Classic after posting a final-round of 5-under-par 283 to finish with a three-round score of 869. The Wildcats opened the third round 10 strokes behind day two leader North Texas, but claimed the title as UNT fell into second place after shooting a nine-over 297. Andy Connell was the top finisher for the Wildcats as he finished second with a 210 (-6) total. Connell, a native of Denver, Colo., posted a final-round of 4-under 68 to finish one stroke behind individual medallist Bobby Powers of San Jose State.
Another Appearance: Senior Chris Nallen was one of 29 individuals selected to play in the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic, Nov. 24-25, in El Paso, Texas. Each player in the field must have earned All-America honors in the previous season. Nallen is making his third consecutive appearance in the event, making him the 22nd player in the 28-year history of the event to make three career appearances. Nallen's best finish in the event came in 2001, when he tied for eighth place with an eve-par 213 total.
A Positive Sign: After struggling for much of the first three events this season, the Wildcats finally showed some positive signs in posting a seventh-place finish Oct. 14 at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. UA posted its three lowest scores of the season en rote to the 845 (-7) total, including its first two subpar rounds of the year.
This is Much Better: Just how much better was the play for the Wildcats at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate? Individually, UA golfers registered eight rounds at par of better for the tournament, including four rounds in the 60s. That nearly doubled the team total for the season (nine entering that event). It was also the team's first rounds in the 60s this fall.
Match Play Experience: With the Hooters Match Play Championship serving as the only such event on the collegiate schedule, it only makes sense that few players carry a wealth of match play experience, at least on the college level. But two players in the UA lineup have had success worth mentioning. In two college match play championships, Chris Nallen (he also competed in the 2000 CGF/Match Play Championships and helped the Cats to the team title) has a 4-2-1 career record. Teammate Blaine Peffley has a 3-0-1 mark after playing in the inaugural Hooters Match Play Championship last year. Incidentally, he was the only Arizona golfer not to lose a match in the 2002 event.
Head to Head: Though it will be his first collegiate match play experience, Nathan Lashley picked up some valuable experience of his own on amateur golf's grandest stage. A junior from Scottsbluff, Neb., Lashley qualified for match play at the 2003 United States Amateur Championship. He was defeated in the second round of match play by Matt Kohn (Longwood, Fla.), 1-up after defeating Steve Conway (Irvine, Calif.), 2-up, in the first round at Oakmont Country Club.
Off the Bench: Kipp Riehle made quite an impression in his first appearance, so much so that he made it into the lineup this week in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The junior carded rounds of 71, 70, 74 to finish in a tie for 34th place at two-over 215. He ranked third among the UA lineup. Riehle's 215 total was the lowest for a Wildcat in his first round this season.
Nice Round: Chris Nallen closed his appearance at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate Oct. 14 with a nine-under His 62 was just the second such score recorded in Arizona golf history and the lowest in relation to par in school history. Nallen's round included seven birdies and an eagle-3 on the 16th hole. Robert Gamez recorded an eight-under 62 at the 1989 NCAA Championships, on a par-70 layout. Nallen's eight-under 205 total was also the 11th lowest 54-hole aggregate total in school history.
Breaking In: The youth included in the UA roster certainly is no secret. Twenty eight of the 61 rounds played to date (45.9 percent) by the UA varsity have been completed by players in their first season of action. That won't change this week either as three players at the Del Walker Collegiate Classic will be making their collegiate debuts: Ben Marsh, Billy Whalen and Ben Carter.
Adjusting: Freshman Henry Liaw continues to make a steady adjustment to college golf. The 2001 United States Junior Amateur Champion carded a five-over 218 total, which was his low through four events, including a first- and second-round 70. His 74.91 stroke average ranks seventh on the squad and he is one of four players to see action in all four varsity events.
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