By Curtis Acosta
Arizona Daily Wildcat
After a blistering start to the season in Monday's opening round of the Ping Arizona Intercollegiate Tournament, the UA men's golf team cooled off yesterday and placed third at Randolph Golf Course.
Second-ranked Oklahoma State took the team competition, with Texas finishing second. The Cowboys' Trip Kuehne claimed the individual championship by one stroke over Pacific's Sean Corte-Real.
Wildcats head coach Rick LaRose was disappointed with his team's play yesterday, but was pleased with its performance over the entire tournament.
"We didn't play very well today as a team, but they fought well as a team," LaRose said. "They shot under par for the tournament. That's pretty good."
The Wildcats were led by juniors Tim Beans and Ted Purdy, who both finished in the top 10 for the tournament.
Beans came out Monday and fired career-best rounds of 69 and 67 during the 36-hole opening-day marathon. Beans led the field after round two, but faltered and shot 4-over par in the final round to finish the tournament tied for sixth place.
Purdy was also among the leaders for the tournament, finishing eighth. His low finish was due largely to his disappointing opening-round 75. Purdy bounced back with a 66 and a 70 in the next two rounds.
The big news for the Wildcats was the surprising play of some of the younger players on the team Ä freshmen Chris Berry and Rory Sabbatini, and newcomer Chris Sage Ä who impressed LaRose with their strong rounds during the intercollegiate tournament. Berry finished six strokes off the lead, but only three strokes behind Beans.
"Those three guys really showed some grit and determination out there," LaRose said of the newcomers.
Even with the impressive finish at this week's tournament, LaRose is still unsure how the team will play for the rest of the year. The team is loaded with inexperienced players, and it will be some time before these players show how far they can take this team.
"Overall it (the tournament) was a very positive thing for us," LaRose said. "I still don't have a real good feel for this team yet. I'm really happy with our young guys. I really am."
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