Men's golf hosts Arizona Intercollegiate
After being off for three months, the Arizona men’s golf team returns to action today by hosting the 2014 Arizona Intercollegiate.
The Wildcats last competed at the Herb Wimberley Intercollegiate on Oct. 22 in New Mexico, where they finished eighth.
“I think coming off of the offseason, we have a chance to evaluate where our team is,” head coach Jim Anderson said. “We’ve had several guys work very hard and added a couple of new guys this semester. After some competitive qualifying rounds, we will be putting forth who we think is our best team to go out and compete and get our spring started off.”
The tournament will begin with 36 holes of play today, and the final 18 will be played on Tuesday at the new Sewailo Golf Club, which is part of Tucson’s Casino del Sol and recently opened.
The tournament will feature teams like BYU, Cal State Fullerton, No. 3 California, George Washington, James Madison, Loyola Marymount, No. 16 New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Pacific, No. 24 Southern Cal, UC Riverside and UTEP.
“We’ve assembled a great field as always,” Anderson said. “There are never a shortage of teams that want to come play in Arizona. We’re definitely excited for the opportunity to play against a variety of teams.”
Senior Erik Oja and junior Alex McMahon will be in the top two spots for Arizona.
Nebraska transfer Kolton Lapa will be in the No. 3 spot, and junior Brenden Redfern and senior Benson Liu will fill in the No. 4 and No. 5 spots.
Seniors Christian Colegrove and Parker Houston, juniors Dylan Kornberg, Tucker Wadkins and Ricky Lee and freshman Bertrand Mommaerts will be playing in the six individuals this week.
“You look at a player like Erik Oja after the fall that he had, and he has positioned himself to potentially be in the All-American conversation at the end of the year,” Anderson said. “I think Alex McMahon has put in a lot of work in the offseason. I know his finish at the Patriot All-American has recharged his confidence. He has some very good golf tournaments in the fall.”
McMahon had a top-20 finish by the end of the fall after the Wimberley Intercollegiate, and Oja finished his fall with four top-10 finishes in five starts.
Arizona will be competing against two teams from the Pac-12 and three teams that are ranked in the top 25.
“We have a great opportunity to knock off some teams that have had a lot of success and really kick-start our spring,” Anderson said.
New Mexico won the champion title for the 2013 Arizona Intercollegiate with 844. Joel Stalter was last year’s individual winner (204) and will return to begin his senior season with California.
The two-day tournament will begin at 8:30 a.m. both today and Tuesday.
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal