Golf: Summer recap and season preview
With a summer of hard work behind them and their first tournament approaching on Sept. 9 in Albuquerque, N.M., a more experienced and motivated Arizona men's golf team hopes to shine this upcoming season.
""You always have high expectations,"" said second-year assistant coach and former UA golfer Andy Barnes. ""You don't show up just to show up, you show up to win.""
To carry out those aspirations, the Wildcats have added quite a bit of depth to their team by way of five freshmen and two transfer students, who will join the four returning starters from last year, including junior All-American Tarquin MacManus.
""(MacManus)'s going to be our leader coming back,"" Barnes said. ""We expect him to kind of carry us. He should be our leader week in and week out.""
MacManus, the 51st All-American selection in UA history, has continued his 2009 success through the summer, finishing in the top five and top 10 in multiple tournaments.
""I've played quite a few tournaments here in the U.S. (this summer),"" MacManus said. ""Everyone's just getting back into town, but from what I've heard, everyone has been working really hard and we are just ready to start the season off with a bang.""
MacManus hopes to once again earn All-American honors this year, but more importantly, he looks to lead the team deeper into the NCAA Men's Golf Championship.
In addition to MacManus' development, the entire Wildcats squad has been working hard to improve their respective golf game through various tournaments across the world. The coaching staff, led by head coach Rick LaRose, expects big things from returning junior and sophomore starters Rich Saferian (All-Pac-10 Conference honorable mention), Jonathan Khan and Philip Bagdade.
For the UA men's golf team, it has never been a question of talent. It is transferring that skill into top finishes that the UA coaches hope will separate their team from other programs.
The Wildcats will try their hand at translating that skill and hard work when they travel to Albuquerque, N.M. on Sept. 9 for their first tournament of the fall, the William H. Tucker Invitational.
""If we play to our capability I feel like we can compete with anybody,"" Barnes said.
Formal practices begin tomorrow.
Women's Golf Summer Recap and Season Preview
An eventful and productive summer for the UA women's golf team has third-year head coach Shelly Haywood optimistic for the upcoming season.
""I think this is the most prepared that we have been coming into a season,"" Haywood said.
The majority of the anticipation for Haywood starts with highly talented freshmen Kyndall Ardoin and Sherlyn Popelka.
Popelka, who is from Switzerland, has spent the entire summer competing in amateur tournaments around the world, most notably the PING Junior Solheim Cup. Popelka thrived in the event, winning two of her three matches for the European team.
Ardoin, a native of Gibsland, La., has played in a variety of tournaments this summer, most recently the North and South Amateur Championship. Ardoin joined soon-to-be teammates Alejandra Llaneza and Brittany Benvenuto in Pinehurst, N.C., but was unable to finish the round due to injury.
In addition to Popelka and Ardoin, sophomores Margarita Ramos and Isabelle Boineau spent the summer in Europe playing in various tournaments.
""Really my whole team has been working really hard on their games and has been pretty successful this summer,"" Haywood said.
Ramos recently took second at the Grand Prix des Landes-Hossegor in Aquitaine, France.
After finishing in 16th place at the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships, Haywood believes her young team has the ability to have a very successful bounce-back season.
""We're still really young, but I think now that those freshmen and sophomores have a year or two under their belt; they can really help the two freshmen that I have coming in,"" she said.
Haywood's squad will start their fall season on Sept. 25 when they travel to Franklin, Tenn., for the Mason Rudolph Championships.