Arizona golf heads to southern California
The Arizona women’s golf team returns to action today at the Bruin Wave Invitational in Tarzana, Calif. UCLA and Pepperdine host the Bruin Wave Invitational at the El Caballero Country Club March 3-4.
The field for the Bruin Wave Invitational is not as not deep as the field the UA faced at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, but it will include No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 9 Washington and No. 12 Oklahoma State.
Arizona head coach Derek Radley said that the strength of the Pac-12 Conference benefits the Wildcats.
“Knowing that our conference is the strongest, we feel prepared to play the other conferences,” Radley said.
Bertrand Mommaerts tees off during the first day of the Arizona Intercollegiate golf tournament hosted at Casino Del Sol's Sewailo Golf Club on Jan. 27.
If the field did not present its own set of challenges, then the schedule of the tournament will provide some of its own. The Bruin Wave Invitational is a two-day tournament requiring the team to play 36 holes of golf on Monday.
“The biggest thing with the girls is making sure they keep their energy up,” Radley said. “We focus a lot on nutrition, making sure they’re eating constantly throughout the round. [UA strength and conditioning] coach Ovid knows there is 36 holes coming up, so he has been having them do a little extra cardio to make sure we’re finishing strong.”
The UA’s lineup for this tournament will include junior Kendall Prince, junior Andrea Vilarasau, sophomore Lindsey Weaver, freshman Jessica Vasilic and freshman Wanasa Zhou.
Zhou replaced junior Manon Gidali for this tournament, but has participated in previous tournaments.
“She is a great kid and very mature for her age, and the other girls get along really well with her,” Radley said.
The Arizona men’s golf team is back in action and on the road again this week at the Del Walker Intercollegiate Golf Classic.
The field competing in the Del Walker Intercollegiate Golf Classic will include teams from Minnesota, Colorado State, Kansas State, UC Santa Barbara and Grand Canyon.
The UA is coming off of a top-five finish in its last tournament.
“It feels pretty good because it’s nice to go out and compete and in some ways validate a strong performance,” head coach Jim Anderson said. “It was disappointing that we didn’t get to play the final round, but at the same time, we’re still a very hungry team.”
This tournament doesn’t feature the as many ranked teams as the John Burns Invitational did, but Anderson sees it as an opportunity for the Wildcats.
“It’s probably not the strongest field we’re going to see this spring,” Anderson said, “so maybe there is opportunity there, maybe there is opportunity for us to take care of business and get ourselves in position to win with nine holes to go.”
The tournament is being hosted by Long Beach State at the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, Calif.
“I think the driving piece plays into our strengths,” Anderson said. “I know for sure that four of our guys drive it as good as anybody.”
The UA will feature the same lineup from the John Burns Invitational: senior Erik Oja, senior Benson Liu, junior Alex McMahon, junior Brenden Redfern and sophomore Kolton Lapa.
“Erik has been very reliable, but with that said, everyone is capable of playing to that level,” Anderson said. “We’re still getting one, two, two and a half, three good rounds each time we tee it up. To be competitive, we need four, and for us to be great, we need five.”
—Follow Fernando Galvan @fgalvan35