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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Men’s golf finishes sixth at NCAA West Regional

    One can never be quite sure who will be the team’s leader, but for the last 21 years, one thing can always be sure of the team itself.

    The No. 24 Arizona men’s golf team has advanced to the NCAA Championships in Williamsburg, Va. after placing sixth at the 2007 NCAA West Regional at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. It marks the 21st straight appearance in the championship tournament for Arizona. That is the second longest active streak in the nation and the fifth-longest streak in NCAA history.

    UA head coach Rick LaRose gave full credit to his golfers, who collectively shot a 36-under 828, the second lowest tournament total in school history.

    “”To be honest with you,”” LaRose said, “”this is probably one of the greatest Arizona teams we’ve ever had. I’m very proud of them.””

    The Wildcats shot a 17-under 271 on the third round of the tournament, solidifying their finish. The Wildcats were led by freshman Pedro Oriol, who collected seven birdies in the third round, and shot a career-low 66. The Madrid, Spain, native finished in a tie with teammate Josh Esler for 14th place at 11-under 205, another career-low.

    “”He’s starting to play like I think he’s capable of and I think he’s getting a little more confidence in himself,”” LaRose said of Oriol. “”He’s really raised the level of his game to where I think it should be all the time.””

    Senior Brian Prouty finished at eight-under 208 to tie for 31st place. He carded a 4-under 68 in the final round. Senior Nathan Tyler (5-under, 43rd place) rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats.

    LaRose said that the team had an easier time with the par-72, 7,057-yard course than it did April 13-15 at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, when it placed fifth out of 16 teams.

    This time, they had to compete with 26 other teams.

    “”We certainly weren’t one of the favorites up there,”” LaRose said. “”But we did a lot better this time around on the course. Some of the rye grass died because of the hot weather, so that helped.””

    The Wildcats have been practicing daily to prepare for the NCAA Championships, which will be held May 30-June 2, LaRose said.

    “”Getting through the regionals is by far the hardest part,”” he said. “”We had our backs to the wall and we came thorough.””

    19th hole

    South Carolina won the tournament with a 44-under showing . . . ASU’s Benjamin Alvarado took the individual title, finishing 18-under.

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