MacManus, Arizona Prepared For Pac-10 Championships

- Championship Central

For Tarquin MacManus and the Arizona men's golf team, this weekend's Pac-10 Championships is a make it or break it tournament.

The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 64 in the current Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, but hope that a solid showing at Stanford Golf Course will be just the start of a successful postseason.

"To be honest, it hasn't been our best season obviously. The rankings and our record show that," MacManus said. "The way we feel at the moment is, we go to [the Pac-10 Championships], perform well there and hopefully get through to regionals, and from then on out, it doesn't matter how the [beginning of the season] went. Hopefully we advance, and who knows what can happen."

MacManus, a senior, is coming off an individual medal at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic on April 5, where he led the Wildcats to a second place finish. He hopes that this momentum carries over into the postseason.

"It's always nice to boost your confidence after you haven't been playing that well," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing, I'm hitting it well."

MacManus leads the Wildcats with a 72.85 scoring average, low tournament total (205/-11), low round (65), rounds at par or better (12), rounds in the 60s (7) and top-10 finishes (4).

The Cairns, Queensland, Australia, native won the Australian Master of the Amateurs tournament, Jan. 12, at Royal Melbourne's West Course.  MacManus used six birdies on the final 10 holes to post a six-under 65 and a record 12-under-par tally to win by three shots.

Additionally, the Aussie collected a runner-up finish at the Asian Amateur Championship, Oct. 10, at Kasumigaseki Country Club's West Course outside Tokyo.  His 10-under total secured MacManus a berth in the International Final Qualifying for the 2011 British Open Championship at Royal St. George's Golf Club.

After beginning his golf career at a young age, MacManus has participated in golf tournaments around the world. As for why he came to the United States for his college career, he said it was because of the opportunity it presented for him to improve his game.

"I liked the idea of playing against the best players in the world on the amateur scene, and playing the best courses," MacManus said. "I figured [coming to the U.S.] was the best way to get experience and take the next step."

Growing up under the shadow of many great Australian professional golfers - Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, and Adam Scott to name a few - MacManus uses their performance as motivation.

"I always look at the Aussies to see if they perform well. We all kind of root for each other," he said. "I look up to them, and aspire to do what they've done."

Throughout his career at Arizona, MacManus said he has improved every part of his game, and credits much of his success to head coach Rick LaRose.

"I get along well with him. We're both very competitive people, and we expect a lot out of ourselves and our team," MacManus said. "I've gained a lot being on his team, playing golf under him for the last four years."

This weekend's Pac-10 Championships is a four-round tournament, whereas most collegiate events are only three rounds. But MacManus said that it won't affect the way he and his teammates prepare.

"We just take it like any other tournament," he said. "That's the way you play golf, one shot at a time, one hole at a time."

MacManus has had success at this tournament, with top-10 (6th/2009) and top-20 (14th/2010) finishes to his credit. With his solid play so far this season, it's likely the he and the Wildcats will put forth a solid performance at the Pac-10 Championships.

After his golf career at Arizona is over this spring, MacManus plans to stay at Arizona and get his degree in psychology in December. After that, he plans to turn professional and follow in the footsteps of the many great Australian golfers.


Photo courtesy: Luke Adams, Arizona Athletics Photography

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