Men's golf heads south; women gun for school record.
The top-ranked Arizona women's golf team and the No. 11 men's golf team both begin competitive tournaments today on the road.
The women travel north to Arizona State to participate in the Ping/ASU Invitational in Tempe, while the men's team is heading south to Los Cabos, Mexico for the Compaq U.S. Collegiate Golf Championships.
The women's team is seeking to win its fifth consecutive tournament, which would be a school record. UA head coach Todd McCorkle is not concerned with the school record and feels his players' confidence will be the key to success.
"I think we are so confident that we will play well," McCorkle said.
The women have been the No. 1 team in the nation for seven weeks in a row, but All-American senior Jenna Daniels believes the rankings don't add any pressure to the team.
"We don't think about it at all, and each tournament is individual, and anyone can beat you," Daniels said. "We don't take anything for granted."
McCorkle said playing in Tempe will be challenging, considering the home course advantage for the Sun Devils.
"It will be a tremendous challenge to play on their home course, but I think we are up for it," McCorkle said.
Individually, All-American sophomore Cristina Baena is coming off her first victory of the season. Daniels is coming off a second place finish last week after a sudden death playoff loss to Baena.
"I think they are going to play well no matter what the circumstances are," McCorkle said. "I am hoping they will both be first team All-Americans this season."
The men's team, which has been playing solid golf as of late, will be one of 12 teams at the Compaq U.S. Collegiate Golf Championships. Eleven of the nation's top 17 teams will be in action, including No. 1 Georgia Tech, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Northwestern.
The tournament will be played at the Eldorado Golf Club, which is a par-72, 7,050 yd. course.
All-American senior Derek Gillespie said the Wildcats are ready for the tournament and will play well as long as they don't play poorly in the first round.
"I think that we are ready, and everyone seems to be playing well," Gillespie said. "We will be up there as long as we don't shoot ourselves out of the first round."
Gillespie said his game has come together lately, and he should play a large role in the success of the Wildcats.
"I am playing really good right now," Gillespie said. "It is the first time in a long time, so personally, I feel really good."
Freshmen Ricky Barnes, who is the current owner of the team's lowest stroke average, has already won two individual tournaments this season and is hoping to add more to that list. Gillespie said that although the team hasn't seen much action as of late, Barnes is on top of his game.
"Ricky has been playing good," Gillespie said. "We haven't played much, but he seems to be hitting and putting the ball well in practice."
Gillespie said that his team is ready and should do well at the tournament.
"Everyone shot well today in practice," Gillespie said. " It should be a good tournament for us."