In traveling to its second tournament in a week, the Arizona men's golf team will be bringing along some new blood in the hopes of infusing the team with a burst of energy.
Freshmen Nicholas Park and Ben Fox make their Wildcat debuts today and tomorrow at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala.
Arizona will compete against a field including Auburn, Brigham Young, Georgia Tech and host Alabama at the Old Overton Club, a par-71, 6,958-yard course. The teams will play 36 holes today and the remaining 18 for the final round tomorrow.
Prior to skipping last year's event, the Wildcats competed in 12 consecutive Jerry Pate tournaments. The Wildcats have never won the event but have achieved some individual honors in the past.
Arizona assistant coach John Knauer said that Park and Fox have been playing well in practice along with sophomore Trey Denton, who was the top individual finisher for the Wildcats in last week's Big Ten/Pacific 10 Conference Challenge.
"I putted well last week," Denton said. "I want to keep putting well and try to hit more fairways and hit better drives this week."
Knauer said that he is hoping the trip will be more fun and less stressful for him and the players than recent forays.
"It is a very strong field, and we are looking at our younger guys," he said.
Only junior Henry Liaw has competed in the event. In 2003, he posted a 5-over-par 218 and tied for 38th place.
Fox said that he and his roommate Park are looking forward to the tournament, saying that it is the first big-time event for each of them.
"I'm excited to get down to business," Fox said.