By Scott Bricker
Arizona Daily Wildcat
May 5, 1997

Men's golf wants to end 2nd-place streak

Throughout the course of the 1996-97 golf season, the Pacific 10 Conference has been a three-horse race.

Win, place and show have been shuffled between Southern Cal, Arizona State and Arizona.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they have become notorious for placing rather than winning. They finished in second place four times this season without a win, twice behind the Trojans and once behind the Sun Devils.

However, all past records are thrown off the track today as the Wildcats start competition in the Pac-10 Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Arizona assistant coach Tom Brill said that the competition amongst the three schools will be tough.

"It is definitely a three-team race," Brill said. "Both USC and ASU have some great players and the tournament should be full of some terrific golf."

The Sun Devils are trying to repeat as conference champs after winning last year's title by 17 shots over the Trojans. The Wildcats finished a distant sixth.

Arizona has not won the Pac-10 title since 1991 and will need a solid effort from all six of its golfers to overcome the talent of the other top schools.

The tournament is being held at the Eugene Country Club and will use the collegiate format. Six golfers keep track of their scores with the top five each day counting towards the overall team total for that round.

Golfers play 36 holes today, followed by 18 apiece on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This event marks the first time this season that the Wildcats will play in a 72-hole tourney, and coach Brill said that the course will test the players' abilities on nearly every shot.

"This tournament will consist of four rounds on a really great course," Brill said. "There won't be any flukes. It is a very mature course with plenty of trees on every hole."

The Wildcats sent their familiar quintet of senior Gary Matthews, junior Rory Sabbatini, sophomores Andy Barnes and Todd Rose and freshman Derek Gillespie.

Freshman Scott Moore will compete in the number six slot for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats tee-off at 8 a.m. this morning and are paired with Stanford in the first and second rounds.

Brill said that his team will need a solid effort from the entire lineup for them to bring home the conference title.

"The key for us is going to be the first two guys out every day," Brill said. "If those guys can play well, it will give the rest of the team playing behind them that much more confidence. We need all of our guys to play under 74 for all 72 holes. Anything higher than a 76 and we will be toast."

In the individual race, the main competition should come from Chris Hanell and Scott Johnson of ASU, Roger Tambellini and Brian Hull of Southern Cal, Joel Kribel of Stanford and Arizona's Sabbatini.

Each of the six players are currently ranked in the nation's top 45.

Arizona looks at this tourney as the first of its three majors, with the Regional and NCAA Championships completing the trio.

"We are playing some of our best golf of the year right now despite our recent rocky finishes," Brill said. "The guys are just anxious to play and should come out all fired up."

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