Fifth-ranked Bruins Prepare for Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship

Feb. 3, 2006

The fifth-ranked UCLA men's golf team prepares to compete in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship, Feb. 5-7 to be hosted by the University of North Florida at the Sawgrass Country Club.

The Bruins, who won three Fall tournaments, will feature one junior, two sophomores and a pair of freshmen in their opening lineup.

'We are excited to begin our Spring season and to get it off to a great start with our talented group of young players, who are eager to compete,' said Head Coach O. D. Vincent. 'Sawgrass is a great test of golf. It is usually pretty windy there and driving accuracy is a premium.'

Teeing it up with the Bruins in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. will be several teams ranked in the nation's Top 10, including fourth-ranked Florida, No.6 Tennessee and seventh-ranked Georgia State. UCLA is the only Pac-10 team represented and the only team traveling from the West Coast.

Featured in the UCLA lineup will be junior Chris Heintz, sophomores Daniel Im and Kevin Chappell and freshmen James Lee and Erik Flores. Flores, Im and Heintz are ranked among the nation's Top 50 players.

Heintz in the Fall recorded three Top 20 finishes, a 71.8 scoring average and three rounds under par. He did not record a score worse than 73 in nine rounds and finished the first half of the season ranked 39th nationally.

Im averaged 71.6, recorded three Top 10 finishes and six rounds under par. Entering the week, he ranked 20th nationally.

Flores enters the tournament as the top-ranked Pac-10 player. In addition to leading the team in scoring (71.2), he boasts three rounds under 70, five rounds under par and three Top 10 finishes, including two in the Top 5.

Chappell placed second at the Cullum Intercollegiate last Fall and averaged 74.1 in three appearances. His final round 70 was one of two scores under par in nine rounds played.

James Lee tied for fourth at the CordeValle Collegiate, firing a final round, three-under par 69 to post a collegiate career best score. In nine rounds he averaged 74.4.

'James is a very good ball-striker who worked hard on his game during the (Winter) break,' said Vincent. 'Erik plays with a lot of confidence. This Fall was a great start for him. Chris played well in the Fall, and I look for him to have a really good Spring.

'Daniel started the season fired up and he's going to have a real good year,' Vincent continued. 'Kevin can make a lot of birdies--he made five in a row at the Cullum tournament. He's a very good ball-striker and he has a lot of confidence in his ability.'

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