Men's golf heads to Sin City
The Arizona men's golf team will begin play today in the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, a three-day, 54-hole event held in Las Vegas that is recognized as one of the nation's premier collegiate tournaments.
It will be the biggest challenge the Wildcats have faced up to this point in the season, as every team in the tournament is featured in the top 50 of the latest Golfweek rankings. No. 1 Oklahoma State is in the field, which includes three other top 10 teams — No. 4 Texas, No. 6 Florida and No. 7 Texas A&M.;
Arizona is the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at 43rd.
Although the Wildcats are playing without junior John Kostis — who was in the lineup for all four tournaments in the fall — for the fifth consecutive tournament, they have received solid, sometimes spectacular play in his absence.
""We gave him a chance to see if he was ready to come back in tournament play, and he didn't play very good in California,"" said assistant coach Andy Barnes. ""All five starters we took finished in the top 20, so you can't really argue with their play. We're just in the mode of whoever's playing best, we're going to play.""
There are four Pacific 10 Conference teams in the tournament field — UA, No. 13 Arizona State, California, No. 12 UCLA and No. 15 USC.
The Wildcats seem to have marked this tournament as one in which they can establish themselves as one of the better teams in the country.
""We played good last week … everybody finished in the top 20,"" said senior Rich Saferian. ""It's a good tournament in Vegas, and we should have a little bit of momentum going in there.""
""This is where we'll find out how good we are,"" he added.
This is UA's last tournament not located in Arizona until the NCAA Regionals, which begin May 13.