M Golf Travels to San Diego for 2010 NCAA Regional

May 17, 2010

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On the Tee: With four top-five finishes to its credit in eight spring events, the Arizona men's golf team earned a berth in the 2010 NCAA Regional, May 20-22, in Santee, Calif. ... This is the Wildcats' 21st regional appearance since the format debuted in 1989 ... Of those 20 prior berths, 19 were in West Regional, the lone appearance elsewhere came last season when UA traveled to Sorrento, Fla.

The Rankings: The Wildcats are ranked 37th in the current (May 9) Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, and were receiving votes in the most recent (April 28) Golf World/Nike Coaches Poll. Individually, junior Tarquin MacManus was the top-ranked Wildcat nationally, checking in at No. 95 on the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Jonathan Khan was next at No. 202.

The Probable Arizona Lineup:Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. RoundsTarquin MacManus Jr. 71.62 3/3 66 37Rich Saferian Sr. 72.53 2/2 66 34Jonathan Khan Jr. 72.44 2/4 67 34Philip Bagdade So. 73.00 0/3 66 30Trent Redfern Fr. 74.35 0/0 71 20

A Look at the 2010 NCAA Regional: San Diego State University hosts 54 holes of stroke play over three days at Carlton Oaks Golf Course, a par-72, 7,360-yard layout in Santee, Calif. Arizona is seeded ninth and has tee times on hole No. 1 from 8:50-9:30 a.m. PDT on the first day of the event. All told, 13 teams and 10 individuals fill the 75-man field. Here is the field listed by seed: Oregon (1), UNLV (2), Augusta State (3), Tennessee (4), San Diego State (5), California (6), Chattanooga (7), Central Florida (8), Arizona (9), California-Irvine (10), Missouri (11), New Mexico State (12) and Oral Roberts (13). Individuals include Tom Whitney, Air Force; Scott Travers, Santa Clara; Nate Barbee, Kansas; Nick Delio, Cal State Northridge; Lloyd du Preez, Arkansas State; Zack Fischer, Texas-Arlington; Pierre-Alexis Rolland, Lamar; Justin Bardgett, Colorado; Jared Becher, Nevada; Paul Apyan, Southern Mississippi. The top five teams and one individual advance to the 113th NCAA Championships, June 1-6, at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn. Live scoring of both the regionals and NCAA Championships will be available at www.golfstat.com.

Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in his 32nd 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 a combined eight NCAA Regionals, six Pac-10 crowns and three Rolex Match Play titles. In NCAA Championship play, he also has six third-place finishes, a fifth-place and two sixth-place efforts to his credit. Since 1978, his men's teams have won 60 tournaments and produced 47 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, and the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame on Nov. 23, 2009. He is assisted by Andy Barnes and volunteer Justin Silverstein.

Last Time Out: The University of Arizona men's golf team slipped to ninth place at the 2010 Pac-10 Championships in Tempe, Ariz. With just one member of the six-man squad under par on the day, Arizona posted its highest round of the day and finished in ninth place. The final-round tally of 366 (+11) gave UA a 72-hole tally of 1,421 (+1). Just three teams in the field were under par during the final round. Washington claimed the championship with a 1,383 (-37) total, erasing a seven-stroke deficit to start the round. The Huskies, winners of back-to-back titles, finished ahead of Stanford (1,386), USC (1,396) and host Arizona State (1,401. California's Eric Mina topped the 60-man field by one stroke to claim individual medalist honors at 16-under 268. Junior Tarquin MacManus was the top-finishing Wildcat, posting a final-round 73 (+2) en route to a six-under 278 total and a 14th-place finish. The Cairns, Queensland, Australia, native has been Arizona's top finisher in four of the last five stroke play events and has a total of six top-20 finishes this season. Sophomore Philip Bagdade turned in a final-round 70 (-1), which was UA's low round of the day. The effort moved him into 15th place with a five-under 279 tally. The tournament total was Bagdade's low of the season and his placing was his second-best in 2009-10.

Last Year at the NCAA Regional: Led by the stellar play of Tarquin MacManus, the University of Arizona men's golf team finished in second place at the NCAA Southeast Regional in Sorrento, Fla. MacManus, a sophomore from Cairns, Queensland, Australia, held off two challengers from host-UCF to claim individual medalist honors and led the Wildcats to a three-round total of 829 (-23) and a tie for second place. Arizona posted a two-under 282 tally in the final round to share runner-up honors with top-ranked and top-seeded Georgia and third-seeded South Carolina, 11 strokes behind tournament-winner UCF. UA's 23-under 829 total equaled the 15th-lowest tournament tally in school history. The effort qualified Arizona for the NCAA Championships for the 26th time in school history and the 22nd time in the last 23 seasons. The only break in the streak since 1987 came last season, and this year's squad rebounded furiously at the regional by posting its low aggregate total of the season and the second lowest tally in relation to par. The Cats bested two higher-seeded teams in earning one of five qualifying slots for the 2009 NCAA Championships. MacManus earned his first collegiate victory with a final-round 69 (-2) en route to a three-round total of 198 (-15) and two-stroke win. His effort was just enough to hold off UCF's Brad Schneider and Blayne Barber, who posted a final round 63 and 62, respectively, to trim three shots off MacManus' second-round lead.

Arizona Individuals1.   Tarquin MacManus, 63-66-69=198 (-15)T7.  Tyler Neal, 69-67-70=206 (-7)T19. Philip Bagdade, 67-72-70=209 (-4)T49. Jonathan Khan, 71-72-74=217 (+4)T49. Rich Saferian, 72-72-73=217 (+4)

Team Finish1. UCF, 8182. ARIZONA, 829 Georgia, 829 South Carolina, 8295. Iowa, 837

Regional History: Few teams are as accomplished as Arizona when it comes to NCAA regional play, as the Wildcats have won the event six times as a team - 1989, `91, `92, `93, 2000, `06 - a figure that ranks second behind Clemson's seven. Arizona's average finish in 20 previous NCAA regional appearances is 3.5. UA has been just as successful in terms of individual medalists, as six Cats have won the regional: Robert Gamez, 1989 (206/-10); Harry Rudolph, 1992 (201/-15), Manny Zerman, 1993 (211/-5); Ricky Barnes, 2002 (210/-6), Chris Nallen, 2004 (211/-5); and Tarquin MacManus (198/-15).

All-Conference: One University of Arizona men's golfer received all-Pac-10 honors in voting done by the conference's head coaches, the league announced May 3. Tarquin MacManus was an honorable mention pick, marking the third consecutive season that he has been recognized. The junior was a second-team selection in 2008 and 2009.

It's Been A While: This isn't the first time that Carlton Oaks Golf Club has hosted an NCAA regional, as the facility also hosted the 1997 West Regional. The Wildcats were here as well, and the Wildcats finished fourth with a 285-288-290--863 (-1) total, 16 strokes behind UNLV. Individually, Rory Sabbatini was UA's top finisher, carding an eight-under 208 to finish second. Interestingly, current Arizona assistant coach Andy Barnes participated in the event for the Wildcats, and the then-sophomore tied for 66th place with a nine-over 225.

Consistently Inconsistent: Arizona's spring season has been filled with ups and downs, but they have seemed conform to a pattern that bodes well for the Cats this week. In its last six events, Arizona has followed up a ninth place finish or worse with a fourth place or better finish, and vice-versa. Arizona has finished first, 15th, fourth, tenth, fourth and ninth, respectively, in its last six outings. This peak-valley formula displayed during the spring season indicates that Arizona should follow its low (a ninth place finish in the Pac-10 Championship) with a high this week. Arizona needs to finish in the top-five places to claim an NCAA Championship berth.

For the Better: The 2010 spring season has been one of improvement for the Wildcats, as the squad has collected four top-five finishes in eight starts, including a win March 2 at the Braveheart Classic, and seen its scoring average drop. Arizona's 287.32 stroke average this spring is 1.89 strokes lower than the fall figure (adjusted for three six-man events). On an individual level, UA's countable stroke average in the spring is 71.83.

Winner, Winner: Arizona is no stranger to the top of the leader board, both as a team and individually. The Wildcats claimed the Braveheart Classic, March 2, by 20 strokes with an 858 (-6) total. It was the 69th win in program history and the first since October 2007. The 20 stroke separation was the largest margin of victory for UA since Feb. 21, 1992, when the Cats won the John Burns Intercollegiate by 21 strokes. Individually, two Wildcats claimed medalist honors this season, the 65th and 66th wins in program history. Rich Saferian won the Arizona Invitational, Feb. 2, with a 13-under par 200 total, while Tarquin MacManus won the Braveheart Classic with a six-under 210 tally.

Mix It Up: Only three Wildcats - Tarquin MacManus, Rich Saferian and Jonathan Khan - have managed to appear in all 11 varsity stroke play events with sophomore Philip Bagdade appearing in the last eight consecutive. Additionally, Arizona used the same lineup in the first four events of the spring, but has switched things up in the last four appearances, including the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championships. Not coincidentally, the five players scheduled to compete this week have each appeared in the last two tournaments.

Round-By-Round: A quick look at the statistics shows that Arizona is a second round club. Through its 11 stroke play events, the Wildcats' lowest scoring round is the second, with an adjusted average of 285.88. The Cats open play with an average of 287.76 in round one and post a final round average of 289.88. Not surprisingly, Arizona low round of any tournament was registered in the second round seven times, while it's high round appeared in the third five times.

Coming On Strong: Of the five players scheduled to compete in this event for the Wildcats, four have improved scoring averages in spring action when compared to their season-long efforts. The only Wildcat with a higher spring scoring average to date is junior Tarquin MacManus, whose 71.64 mark is just above his overall average of 71.62. The other UA players' spring averages are as follows (improvement): Philip Bagdade, 72.59 (0.41); Jonathan Khan, 72.27 (0.17); Trent Redfern, 74.13 (0.22); and Rich Saferian, 72.41 (0.12).

Help Wanted: Arizona heads into the 2010 NCAA Regional still looking for a solid, consistent leader. The Cats feature a nice mix of youth and experience in this week's five-man lineup - one senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman - but no one player has stepped permanently into that No. 1 position. UA played eight tournaments before a player (MacManus) was its top finisher in back-to-back events, a feat he accomplished in three consecutive tournaments, but even those came with a wild fluctuation from six-under to 13-over to one-under par. MacManus has been Arizona's top finisher in six of 11 tournaments this season and 18 of 36 since he debuted with the program in Sept. 2007.

Under Par: Five times in 2009-10 Arizona finished a tournament under par: one-under 863 at the Wolf Pack Classic in October, 28-under 824 at the Arizona Invitational and 10-under 854 at the John Burns Intercollegiate in February, six-under 858 at the Braveheart Classic in March, and six-under 846 at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational in April. All told, the Cats registered 16 under-par rounds as a team in 11 stroke play events with the lowest single round, 271 (-13), occurring Feb. 1 at the Arizona Invitational.

Follow His Lead: Junior Tarquin MacManus leads the team with a 71.62 stroke average, top-10 finishes (3), rounds in the 60s (11) and rounds at par or better (21). The Cairns, Queensland, Australia, native has been UA's top finisher in six of 11 stroke play appearances, including a win and five additional finishes in the top-20. His six-under 278 tally at the Pac-10 Championships earned him a 14th-place finish, while that six-under total equaled his second-best tournament of the season.

Proving His Worth: Wixom, Mich., product Rich Saferian has provided a nice boost this spring, collecting three top-20 finishes in eight starts to go with a 72.53 stroke average, which ranks third on the club. His best effort was a victory Feb. 2 at the Arizona Invitational, in which he posted a 68-66-66=200 (-13) for the first win at Arizona. Saferian was the 2007 national junior college champion at Scottsdale Community College. The senior has been within one stroke of par in each of his last three stroke play events. He also won the U.S. Open local qualifier on May 10 at Tucson Country Club with a 67.

We're Counting on Him: Jonathan Khan has been remarkably consistent this year. The junior from Tucson, Ariz., has played in every varsity event, ranks third on the team with 14 rounds at par or better and second with a 72.44 stroke average. He has two top-10 finishes, including a seventh-place finish at November's Gifford Collegiate at CordeValle (210/-6) and a tie for fourth place at the Braveheart Classic (216/E). Eighty-eight percent of his rounds played (30/34) have counted towards the team total.

A Good Omen: Hopefully, Philip Bagdade's last outing was an indication of good things to come. The sophomore from Eugene, Ore., carded a 71-72-66-70=279 (-5) and finished in 15th place at the Pac-10 Championships. The five-under total was his best of the season and one stroke in relation to par off his career low. Last season at the NCAA Southeast Regional in Sorrento, Fla., Bagdade posted a 67-72-70=209 (-4) to tie for 19th place. He was one of two Cats to finish the regional under par in 2009.

A Solid Debut: Trent Redfern, the UA freshman scheduled to compete in the 2010 NCAA Regional, has performed well in his first year on the collegiate level, posting 74.35 scoring average through nine appearances. The native of Austin, Texas, has four rounds at par or better. At the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championships, March 21-23, Redfern posted a 3-1 record. In Redfern's last three stroke play appearances, his scoring average is 73.90 over those 10 rounds played.

Up Next: With a top-five finish at Carlton Oaks, Arizona would earn a berth in the 114th NCAA Championships, June 1-6, at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn., June 1-6. Such an appearance would be the program's 27th championship appearance and the 23rd in the last 24 seasons.

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