Arizona Rallies For Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship

April 29, 2004

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TUCSON, Ariz. - Led by the stellar play of freshman Henry Liaw, the University of Arizona men's golf team posted a 14-stroke turnaround over the final 18 holes to win the 2004 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championship Wednesday at The Gallery at Dove Mountain.

Liaw, a product of Rowland Heights, Calif., carded a four-under 68, the low round of the day, to lead the host Wildcats to a final-round 365 (+5) and a four-round total of 1,450 (+10). Arizona erased a nine-stroke deficit entering the final round and defeated runner-up Arizona State (1,455/+15) by five strokes. UCLA (1,470), Washington (1,476) and USC (1,479) rounded out the top five places.

The victory was the fourth for the Wildcats this season and marked the program's third Pac-10 Championship since joining the league in 1978-79 (1987, 1991). The five-stroke win was the closest at the Pac-10 meet since 2001 and just the third margin of victory of five strokes or less in the last 11 years.

'It's a big win for us,' said Arizona head coach Rick LaRose. 'It means a lot to us to be champions of our conference when it's the toughest in the country. To win it at home means a lot as well.'

Liaw's efforts not only spurred the team on to victory, but enabled him to capture individual medalist honors. His final-round 68, one of just two under-par rounds on the day, gave him a four-round total of 279 (-9) and a four-stroke victory over Arizona State's Alejandro Canizares and Chez Reavie.

'The main thing was to win as a team,' said Liaw. 'We hung in there, played very well, and we're Pac-10 champions.'

Liaw is the seventh Arizona golfer to capture individual medalist honors and the second in the last four seasons. Of UA's previous medalists, Liaw joins Jason Gore (1993) as the only freshmen to accomplish the feat. Incidentally, each time Arizona has hosted the Pac-10 Championships (1984, 1994, 2004), it has also won individual medalist honors.

The Gallery certainly proved itself championship caliber as well, yielding just seven totals of par or better in the field of 60 for the tournament. All told, there were only nine sub-par scores tallied over the final two rounds of this championship.

The 72-hole Pac-10 Championships were contested at The Gallery at Dove Mountain, a par 72, 7,435-yard layout. The conference championship was determined by teams of six players with the low five scores for each round counting toward the team total.

Complete Championship Results

Team Standings
1. ARIZONA 1450 (+10)
2. Arizona State 1455 (+15)
3. UCLA 1470 (+30)
4. Washington 1476 (+36)
5. USC 1479 (+39)
6. California 1494 (+54)
7. Oregon 1513 (+73)
8. Oregon State 1521 (+81)
9. Washington State 1541 (+101)
10. Stanford 1562 (+122)
Top Five Individuals
1. Henry Liaw, Arizona 69-70-72-68=279 (-9)
2. Alejandro Canizares, Arizona State 71-72-66-74=283 (-5)
Chez Reavie, Arizona State 69-70-70-74=283 (-5)
4. Brock Mackenzie, Washington 67-68-77-72=284 (-4)
5. Travis Johnson, UCLA 74-69-68-75=286 (-2)
Chris Nallen, Arizona 70-69-75-72=286 (-2)

2004 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championships
April 26-28
The Gallery at Dove Mountain
Tucson, Ariz.
Hosted by the University of Arizona

Final Round Quotes

Cal Head Coach Steve Desimore:

'It's been a frustrating fourth round. We didn't putt very well. We had a lot of good shots but didn't get a lot of help depth-wise.'

'This golf course was a tremendous test. The desert heat and the wind makes this a lot different than what we normally have.'

'Teams that don't play in this environment have a disadvantage. The wind makes you lose confidence in the shots you hit.'

'Overall, it's a great event, and the better teams are on top.'

Cal Senior Jesse Ruda:

'I didn't play as well as I would've liked to.'

'The course was in phenomenal condition. It demanded great shots. The wind was sporadic but it really picked up toward the end.'

USC Head Coach Kurt Schuette:

'This was a great test of golf. Between the wind and the greens, conditions are pretty challenging.'

'The last half of the tournament we did a pretty good job. We would have liked to get off to a better start.'

'Our guys showed a lot of pride and battled back. We would have liked to win, but what we do all year is in preparation for the NCAA Championships.'

USC Junior Ben Hayes:

'I hit the ball really well through the whole tournament. It's a putting contest and unfortunately the team didn't do that well.'

'The course we played was great. We couldn't ask for better conditions. It was a great tournament.'

Washington Head Coach Matt Thurmond:

'We would have liked to finish first. We battled and did the best we could, but we just didn't come out on top.'

'I don't think the weather was really a factor in how we played. The course was beautiful and this is a great place to host.'

Washington Senior Brock Mackenzie:

'It was pretty tough out there. I wish the wind was slower.'

'I played solid. I made some stupid mistakes, and I don't think I did well enough to pull it out today.'

'I lost four strokes on one hole in the third round.'

UCLA Head Coach O.D. Vincent:

'We just didn't play well today. It looks like Arizona is doing well.'

'The course is excellent, but it is tough. I couldn't think of a better place to play.'

UCLA Senior Travis Johnson:

'I was even par through most of the day. I knew I needed to make some birdies right away. I was in contention today.'

'This course separated the good playing teams from the rest.'

Arizona State Head Coach Randy Lein:

'It's just one of those days. Arizona just played really well.'

'The wind wasn't a factor because everyone played with it. We just didn't play well.'

'Henry (Liaw) played great. It was a good win for the tournament champion.'

Arizona State Senior Chez Reavie:

'We played terrible today. I didn't play very well. It was a tough day. Arizona played great and they just got us.'

'I wasn't striking the ball as solid as I would have liked, which made it tough.'

Arizona Head Coach Rick LaRose:

'This was a big win for us. It meant a lot to us to be champion of our conference, when it's the toughest conference in the country.'

'To win against ASU means a lot, and also to win at home. We only get to host every 10 years, and it took us 30 years to win it.'

'Every time we have Pac-10's in Tucson, we've won (individually).'

'We have NCAA regionals left, which is always a nerve-racking time.'

'The (regular) season is over and we've got to prove ourselves all over again in the NCAAs. Nothing is out of question there.'

Arizona Senior Chris Nallen:

'I didn't make any putts again. Our putting all week was bad, but everyone's playing well.'

'Henry (Liaw) is playing good, and that's awesome for him.'

Arizona Freshman Henry Liaw:

'The main thing was to win as a team. We hung in there and played very well, and we're Pac-10 champions.'

(On the last putt) 'I'd just bogeyed 16 and 17. I wanted to make it but I didn't want to run it by. We were two up, so it would be a two-shot swing.'

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