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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Men’s golf tees off on ’09 season today with home tournament

    Last year, the Arizona men’s golf team missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 22 years.

    According to head coach Rick LaRose, the reason they did not qualify was in large part a new rule requiring all teams to finish with a winning percentage of at least .500.

    “”In our conference, we played some pretty tough teams and we were ranked in the top-30 in the country; so it’s kind of misleading,”” LaRose said. “”We are a lot better than what that shows, but because of that stupid rule we ended up missing regionals. I was kind of disappointed.””

    Last year the Wildcats finished 88-87 and faced a tough Pac-10 conference in which four conferences teams placed in the top-5 at the national tournament – including national champions UCLA.

    “”Traditionally when we had a good tournament here, we’ve had a good spring and it really leads us into a good season,”” said Phil Bagdade, a freshman from Eugene, Ore.

    The 54-hole event will run today through Tuesday at Arizona National Golf Club. It will feature some of the top teams in the country and provide an early-season test for the Wildcats.

    “”We had a disappointing fall but we realized that we need to play better in the spring, and since this is our home tournament we really want to play well,”” Bagdade said. “”We could use it and built some momentum.””

    LaRose said the team played mediocre in the fall, finishing right at .500, but sees this meet as a good measuring stick for Arizona.

    “”This is a big meet for us; we need to play well here and there is no reason why we shouldn’t,”” La Rose said.

    Tarquin MacManus will be looked upon to lead the Wildcats this year as being the No. 1 golfer while Jonathan Khan and Tyler Neal return and should provide the UA with some additional firepower.

    Bagdade, Bradley Nicholson, Kenji Hernandez, Andrew Kelly, John Kostis and Alvin Cheung are all newcomers to the team this year.

    “”We’re optimistic, obviously. We certainly hope it goes well; we’re certainly going to have to play better than what we did in the fall,”” LaRose said. “”We are looking for some guys to step up. I think we have enough players to get it done, but we just need to improve. The guys are going to have to step up.””

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