Men's golf finishes seventh at John Burns Invitational

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Courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona men’s golf team spent the weekend in Lihue, Hawaii, at the John Burns Invitational, and the Wildcats nearly mirrored their performance from the Arizona Intercollegiate in late January. Arizona finished in seventh place and shot a total of 865 (+13) in the Arizona Intercollegiate, and finished in seventh place and shot an 884 (+20) at the John Burns Invitational.

“We improved a lot as a team this event, and we took a few steps forward as a team,” Arizona men’s golf head coach Jim Anderson said. “I liked the way our team played overall in the tournament.”

Freshman George Cunningham had a fulfilling week while taking a detour to Pacific Palisades, Calif., to compete for the Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase on Feb. 16. Cunningham recorded a one-over 72 and tied for second place along with Jim Furyk, a former Wildcat and Professional Golfers’ Association icon.

Heading into Hawaii, Cunningham acquired a few helpful tips and compliments from Furyk.

“George is more confident than ever after having a great round in Pacific Palisades,” Anderson said. “He also took some notes from Jim, and it really helped George with his game.”

Cunningham entered the final round on Friday tied for the lead after shooting 68 (-4) in the first round and 70 (-2) in the second round. The freshman was also in the lead among Pac-12 Conference opponents.

Cunningham fell in the final day after shooting a 74 (+2) and finished tied for fourth place with a final score of 212 (-4). The final score Cunningham posted was also the second time in a week that he finished in the top five of an event.

“George played [phenomenally] the entire tournament, even though he double-bogeyed early on in the final round, but he picked up and finished fourth,” Anderson said. “He is a true competitor and stayed relax.”

Alex McMahon finished tied for 17th place after shooting a total score of 220 (+4). McMahon collected five birdies and recorded a four-under-par on Friday, jumping from being tied for 45th place on Thursday.

“Alex played tough and competed well on the final round,” Anderson said.

McMahon adds experience and credibility to the team after winning the Mayfair Award for the top amateur golfer in Arizona. McMahon doesn’t have all of the experience that Furyk has, but he mentors underclassmen such as Cunningham.

“Alex adds experience to our team that can help us later in the season, and he’s a quality leader that is extremely valued,” Anderson said.

As a team, Arizona said finished in seventh place and shot a 20-over-par. Cunningham emerged as a reliable player for Anderson. He played two tournaments, which included four total rounds of golf, and finished in the top five.

The next event for the Wildcats is the National Invitation Tournament, which will be hosted at the Omni Tucson National. The Wildcats host the NIT from Feb. 28 to March 2.

“This road trip was great for the guys, but now it’s time to get back home and build off of what we accomplished today,” Anderson said.

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