Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona men's golf team said it will have something to prove as it opens play today at the Rolex Golf World Palmetto Dunes Collegiate Invitational in Hilton Head, S.C.
The three-day, 54-hole event will be held at the Palmetto Dunes Country Club and will feature some of the best teams in the country.
Despite facing a tough field, many UA players were disappointed with their No. 9 finish at last week's Jerry Pate Invitational.
"(Our play was) really bad," sophomore Reid Hatley said. "It was definitely the worst that we've played all year. We're all extremely disappointed and believe we should always compete for a top-three finish."
One of the main contributors to this team's play so far this season has been freshman Chris Nallen.
While sophomore Ricky Barnes is ranked in the top-10 nationally, Nallen has quietly led the Wildcats in scoring average at 73.00.
At the Jerry Pate Invitational, Nallen shot a final-round 71 en route to a ninth-place individual finish.
Despite such individual achievements, Nallen said he remains focused on doing whatever it takes to ensure an Arizona victory.
"I was happy with my play at Jerry Pate, but I need to be more consistent," Nallen said. "The focus in this tournament is on more consistent play, so that hopefully, we can win it."
The competition at the Palmetto Dunes Invitational won't make it any easier for UA - 16 of the 18 teams in the field are ranked.
Arizona is one of those ranked teams.
The team jumped three spots to a No. 3 ranking in the new MasterCard/CGF poll.
With such a high national profile, it can be easy to lose sight of the team's accomplishments, according to assistant coach John Knauer.
"We go into every tournament with the obvious goal of winning it," he said. "This team believes in their talent and feels they should be no worse than a top-three at any point."