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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    All players equal on men’s golf team says coach LaRose

    As one of the youngest teams in the NCAA, the Arizona men’s golf team doesn’t seem to have a clear leader for the upcoming season.. Last year, the team was led by senior Creighton Honeck, who helped develop the young Wildcats. Now, with a few weeks left until their first tournament of this season, the team is dependingon a mix of young players.

    The starting five for tournament play is still up in the air, as the final spots have not yet been filled by anyone. Senior Tyler Neal, the oldest player on the team, brings the most experience to the table, having competed in every tournament last year, as well as playing in the U.S. Amateur Championship three years in a row.

    Seniors Nick Park and Justin Silverstein, the latter of whom has had wrist issues, make up the rest of the veteran squad.

    Seven sophomores and one freshman will make up the rest of the team, including sophomores Roberto Galletti and Tarquin MacManus, both of whom are coming off of huge first years. Galletti became one of the top golfers on the team, winning as an individual at the Del Walker Intercollegiate in Long Beach, Calif., last season. MacManus was one of six freshmen to qualify for the NCAA West Regionals last year.

    “”Everyone is an integral part of the puzzle,”” said UA head coach Rick LaRose. “”I wouldn’t put anyone above anyone else because I see them all on an equal basis.””

    Jonathan Khan is another sophomore who could play a huge role on the team this year, despite limited starts last year as a freshman.

    “”McManus, Khan, Galletti and Neal have all shown that they are great players and none of them, I would say, are above the other,”” LaRose said.

    A team deprived of a true No. 1 leader, at least in the coach’s eyes, could be the best thing for this young team as it heads into the season. Last year, the team missed out on the postseason after it was unable to come away with one of the final spots during the Pacific 10 Conference Championships last spring. The team was all over the board, winning the Wolf Pack Classic in Reno with a 3-under-par 285, only to finish in 17th place at the Isleworth Invitational in Florida two weeks later.

    The Wildcats kicked off the spring with a fourth-place finish at the PING Intercollegiate at the Arizona National Invitational only to follow with a 10th-place finish at the Anteater Invitational in California, a 10th-place finish at Southern Highlands in Las Vegas, and an 8th-place finish in the Barona Cup in California. With the new .500 rule initiated last season, the team was unable to land a spot for the postseason and missed out by only a fewplaces.

    “”My expectations are the same as they always are for the team,”” Neal said. “”As the oldest guy on the team, I’ve got to let the younger guys know what to expect.””

    Sophomore Beck Miller, coming off of his first U.S. Amateur appearance, said he’s excited for the upcoming season as one of the young players who hopes to make a big impact. With all five starting spots still up in the air, Miller hopes to get his shot at playing in major tournaments this year to showcase what he can do.

    “”I’m going to work hard and hope to have a good year,”” Miller said. “”I plan on traveling with the team and getting the opportunity to play.””

    There is no question that the men’s golf team is going through a serious transition, but the best way to approach it seems to be without a set leader, allowing younger players to figure it out on their own, LaRose said.

    “”We need all parts of the puzzle to come together,”” LaRose said.

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