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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Freshman Oriol taking over as UA’s top golfer

    Pedro Oriol
    Pedro Oriol

    Head coach Rick LaRose is still trying to find the right lineup for the Arizona men’s golf team. Auditions continue.

    The No. 28 Wildcats tee off with an expanded lineup in two rounds today and one tomorrow starting at 8 a.m. in the Oregon Duck Invitational in Eugene, Ore.

    Six golfers – rather than the usual five – will compete for each of the 12 participating teams, with the four best individual scores being counted. The setup will essentially prepare 10 of the 12 teams for the Pacific 10 Championships on April 23-25, which will also feature a six-man roster.

    With the extended lineup, LaRose said the Wildcats will “”use two players who we haven’t used in a while,”” seniors Josh Wilks and Nathan Tyler. Wilks and Tyler tee off for the first time since Nov. 7 and Feb. 23, respectively.

    They will be accompanied by seniors Josh Esler and Brian Prouty, sophomore Ben Fox and freshman Pedro Oriolon the par-72, 7,033-yard course.

    The lone freshman is projected to lead the team after back-to-back outstanding outings. Oriol tied for 11th overall in the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational in Statesboro, Ga., on March 17-18, carding a 1-over 217, and tied for third in the Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship in Las Vegas on March 9-11 with a 1-under 215.

    “”It was huge when he came back with another great performance after Las Vegas,””

    Tyler said. “”Those are the kind of guys we need playing for us.””

    Tyler wasn’t talking about the top-finishing players, necessarily, but the most reliable ones.

    “”Pete’s been the most consistent player as of late,”” LaRose said of the Madrid, Spain, native. “”He’s managing his game better. He’s hitting better shots. All aspects of his game are coming together.””

    The change in team leadership has shifted from Prouty, whom Golfweek magazine named the nation’s No. 1 golfer at the beginning of March, to Oriol.

    But LaRose doesn’t see it as a surprise.

    “”I told you guys (in the media) not to anoint him quite so quickly,”” LaRose said of Prouty. “”He’s nowhere near the top anymore.””

    Prouty is now ranked No. 24, but LaRose said he has confidence his top senior will bounce back from two “”very poor performances,”” a tie for 70th place at 14 over in Statesboro and a tie for 28th place at 8 over in Las Vegas.

    “”The pressure to do well is more on him than Pete,”” LaRose said. “”He’s the one that needs to get his game back to where it was, and I think he will.””

    As LaRose continues to search for the lineup that works best, Oriol has certainly made a name for himself.

    “”He just has that edge that (he) wants it more than anyone else,”” Tyler said.

    Defending champion San Diego State, ranked No. 46, and Pacific are the other two schools competing this weekend.

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