TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's golf team withstood high winds and a strong charge from the University of New Mexico, but held on to win the 2003 National Invitational Tournament Tuesday at Tucson National Golf Course.
Arizona, which held an eight-stroke lead heading into Tuesday's final round, shot a final-round 298 (+10) to win the event with an 870 (+6) total by four strokes over New Mexico. High winds pushed the scores higher Tuesday, as every team in the field of 14 finished over par.
The Wildcats saw its lead evaporate by the 17th hole, as the two teams headed to the final hole all square. Arizona clichd the win by playing the hole in two-under par, courtesy of birdies by Ricky Barnes and Andrew Medley and a masterful par save by Brian Woolf, four strokes better than New Mexico.
The win was the fourth in five events for the Wildcats this spring. That's the most wins for the program in a single season since the 1992 national championship squad won six tournaments.
Individually, Barnes paced the Wildcats as he tied for second place at 214 (-2). It was Barnes' sixth top-10 finish this season. His final-round 76 (+4) ended his string of five straight rounds below par and cost him shot at his sixth career collegiate victory. Alejandro Canizares of Arizona State claimed individual medalist honors in the field of 75 at 212 (-4), which was highlighted by a final-round 70 (-2).
Medley and Chris Nallen joined Barnes in the top 10. Medley, who was five-under-par over the last two rounds, finished tied for fifth place at 217 (+1). Nallen posted his seventh top-10 finish in 11 events this season with a tie for 10th place Tuesday at 218 (+2). Also competing for Arizona was senior Reid Hatley, who finished in 66th place at 234 (+18).
Five Wildcats competed in the event as individuals, led by junior Nick Juszczak, who finished tied for 33rd place at 225 (+9), while sophomore Kipp Riehle finished tied for 49th place at 229 (+13). Rounding out the Wildcat individuals was sophomore Nathan Lashley, who finished tied for 64th place at 233 (+17), freshman Blaine Peffley, who finished in 70th place at 237 (+21), and freshman Zack Amole, who finished tied for 71st place at 238 (+22).
The 54-hole event was contested at Tucson National Golf Course, a par 72, 7,138-yard layout.
Arizona will next be in action April 11-12 at the Savane/ASU Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.
Top Five Teams
1. ARIZONA 870 (+6)
2. New Mexico874 (+10)
3. TCU 879 (+15)
4. Texas 880 (+16)
5. Arizona State883 (+19)
Top Five Individuals
1. Alejandro Canizares, Arizona St. 69-73-70=212 (-4)
2. Ricky Barnes, Arizona 71-67-76=214 (-2)
David Inglis, Tulsa 74-71-69=214 (-2)
Michael Letzig, New Mexico 73-71-70=214 (-2)
5. Ryan Keeney, UNLV 73-70-74=217 (+1)
Rusty Kennedy, Texas 73-74-70=217 (+1)
Andrew Medley, Arizona 78-67-72=217 (+1)
Matthew Rosenfeld, Texas 75-71-71=217 (+1)
Taylor Wood, USC 73-71-73=217 (+1)