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Golfers have last tune-up before Pac-10 tourney

By Kamy Shaygan
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 14, 2000
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For the Arizona men's golf team, this weekend's tournament at the Karsten Golf course in Tempe is the last prior to the Pacific 10 Conference Championships.

UA head coach Rick LaRose said his golfers are playing well coming in to the Thunderbird/Savane Invitational and hopes they can continue to improve their play before the Pac-10 Championships.

"I hope we can continue like we have been doing," LaRose said. "We have been playing pretty well, and we hope to improve on that."

All-American senior Derek Gillespie, who has four top-10 finishes this season, is confident the No. 11 Wildcats will play well this weekend in Tempe, especially because UA has a slight home course advantage.

"We've got a few guys that have already played the course and are familiar with it," Gillespie said. "I think we will be right up there."

Freshmen Ricky Barnes said he is pleased with the team's play, but feels they need to improve on their execution.

"We are all playing pretty well, and we have the ability to win every tournament but it's just a matter of performing," he said.

Along with Barnes, freshmen Reid Hatley has also been hitting the ball with more consistency for the Wildcats recently.

"Reid and Ricky Barnes have made some great progress this year and it is a real positive thing for us," LaRose said. "I can't say enough good things about Reid."

For the UA to do well, Barnes and Hatley must continue their strong play.

"We need the freshmen to do well," Gillespie said. "We will run them through the course and they will be all right."

The field of play consists of 17 teams, eight of which are ranked in the top-25, including No. 4 Arizona State, the top ranked team in the tournament.

Even though the field is strong, LaRose said he would prefers an even stronger field.

"We want to play against the best to be able to beat the best," he said.

Individually, the Wildcats are confident they will play a solid tournament.

"I am pretty confident right now and I am hitting the ball a lot better," Gillespie said. "I will try and win this week and see what happens."

Although the Wildcats are playing in Thunderbird/Savane Invitational this weekend, Gillespie said his main focus is on the Pac-10 Championships.

"Next week the Pac 10's are there, so we are also getting ready for that," he said. "We just want to go out there and do the things we are doing."

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