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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA golf awaits NCAA greens

    Arizona golf is at its most trying time of the season. With NCAA Regional Championships, and possible National Championship appearances right around the corner, both the Arizona men and women’s squads are preparing for a heated summer of competition.

    For the men’s squad this is no new feat.

    “”We’re going to the NCAA Regionals for the upteenth thousand time,”” said UA men’s head coach Rick LaRose.

    The squad is coming off a rough ninth-place finish at Pac-10s and is hoping to rally back at the RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla.

    “”We certainly didn’t play very good Pac-10s,”” LaRose said. “”We had four guys play pretty well, and we had two guys that just didn’t get the job done so we’ll just regroup. We were a little disappointed but we’re not discouraged. We’re certainly going to press on.””

    The squad has never played RedTail, but it is not heading into regional play completely blind.

    “”We’re going to a place outside of Orlando called RedTail Golf Club,”” LaRose said. “”We haven’t played there, but our women’s team played there and Coach Haywood was able to give us some reports on the place. The grass is something we’re familiar with.””

    The team will need to rely on shots though, more than the course grass, as LaRose fully knows.

    “”We’ve got a lot of great teams playing there and you have one bad hole and you probably won’t advance,”” LaRose said. “”So you’ve got to cherish the value of the shot, and I think the scores will be relatively low at this particular place. It’s going to take some good scoring, and hopefully we’ll be up to it.

    “”Our tradition is such that for the last 30-something years we’ve always made it to the finals, and I expect nothing less out of these guys,”” LaRose added.

    As for the women’s team, the summer road looks very similar.

    “”We play NCAA West Regionals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,”” said UA women’s head coach Shelly Haywood, “”and then depending on how we finish there – if we finish in the top eight and we should – our national championships are, like, the 23-25 of May.””

    The women’s squad is set to compete in Tempe at the ASU Golf Course and is very confident in its abilities on the given course.

    “”We just played there a month ago, all the girls know it and feel really comfortable,”” Haywood said. “”It’s supposed to be hot, but that’s fine for us; we’re used to it.””

    If the team places high enough, as Haywood has predicted, the next and final stop will be the Caves Valley Golf Course in Maryland to compete in the 2009 NCAA National Championships.

    “”We haven’t played there yet,”” Haywood said, “”it’s a totally new course for us.””

    Despite the fact that Caves Valley is uncharted territory for the squad, Haywood feels her team will rise to the challenge.

    “”We get two practice rounds at nationals, so it’s not a big deal,”” Haywood said. “”I don’t think it matters that much, to be quite honest, whether or not you’ve played that course before, as long as you’ve prepared yourself well in the practice rounds.””

    As for the summer outlook from both squads, LaRose summed it up best.

    “”Hope springs eternal,”” he said. “”If we thought we wouldn’t do good, we wouldn’t go play.””

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