By Mike Jenkins
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 3, 1998

UA golf teams begin road tourneys

The second-ranked Arizona men's golf team has a chance to regain the No. 1 spot when it swings back into action this weekend at the U.S. Collegiate Championships.

"Our team is playing very well right now, and I like our chances this weekend, but we are competing against a very tough field," UA assistant coach Todd McCorkle said.

A very tough field indeed. Along with the Wildcats, top-ranked UNLV, fifth-ranked Houston and eighth-ranked Oklahoma State highlight a talented field that is looking to capture the coveted crown in Orlando, Fla. The event begins today and runs through Sunday.

The Wildcats are led by senior Rory Sabbatini, the top-ranked player in the nation. This is the fifth consecutive week Sabbatini has been at the top of the Mastercard Collegiate rankings. He has finished in the top five in five of the eight tournaments he has played in this season and owns the team's top stroke average (71.39).

"Rory is playing exceptionally well right now. If he continues his steady play this weekend, it will give our team a solid chance to win the tournament," McCorkle said.

Other Wildcat golfers included in the latest men's individual rankings are junior Andy Barnes, who is 12th, and sophomore Derek Gillespie, who checks in at 28.

The Arizona women's golf team is competing in the PING/Arizona State Invitational this weekend at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe.

The third-ranked Wildcats have finished no lower than third in their four outings and have been the runner-up in each of the last two events, including last week's Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Hawaii. The UA needs a team victory this weekend to have any chance of passing second-ranked Tulsa and top-ranked Arizona State in the Mastercard Collegiate rankings. Play begins today and ends Sunday.

McCorkle believes the women have a good chance of winning.

"We are the defending champion of this tournament. Last year we won by 12 strokes, but Arizona State has to be considered the favorite, due to the fact that they are the home team and they are playing so well," he said.

Individually, UA junior Krissie Register is the team's highest-ranked player, at fourth, in the latest poll. Wildcat sophomore Jenna Daniels is ranked 15th, while junior Marisa Baena has jumped up to 19th.

Baena is playing in her first collegiate tournament in three weeks. The last two weeks Baena played on the LPGA Tour, participating in the Standard Register PING Invitational and the Dinah Shore Classic. McCorkle is excited to have Baena back.

"Marisa is a key component of our squad and we are pleased she will be with us the rest of the year," he said.

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