The University of Arizona men’s golf team will be back in action this weekend as the Wildcats will be in their own backyard at Omni Tucson National Golf Club ,which is also home to the PGA Tour Champions Cologuard Classic.
It is a great opportunity for the No.17 team in the country to bounce back after a rough outing in the Cabo Collegiate a few weeks ago. This year’s N.I.T. features a stacked field including Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. With that level of competition, we will get a great look at how good this Arizona golf team is.
Sophomores Chase Sienkiewicz and Chaz Aurilia are excited to get back to action after a difficult tournament.
“The weather hit us pretty good, but we just didn’t play our game,” Sienkiewicz said. “But I know we will bounce back because we have a great team.”
“I know Cabo didn’t go the way we were imagining and it’s good to be back at a familiar course that we know and play all the time, I feel like we are trending in the right direction,” Aurilia said.
For Aurilia, this will be his first time in the starting lineup after having to sit out the last few weeks with a wrist injury. Aurilia is excited to get back into the competition but thinks he should be ready since the team's qualifying rounds are so competitive. Aurilia was asked if he was nervous and his answer was pretty clear.
“Not really to be honest, kind of just very familiar with the course and have been playing it a lot,” Aurilia said.
Head coach Jim Anderson is excited for his team to get back to their winning ways and play some great golf this weekend. While of course, he would like his squad to finish on top, he loves the level of competition that this tournament brought out. To put it simply, Anderson is pumped to be here.
“Obviously with golf one of the things that’s important is to manage expectations, but I’d be lying if I said we aren’t excited to be here,” Anderson said. “We are thinking about playing great golf and we do believe if that happens we can win this tournament.”
It’s important in golf to not harp on past rounds, but Anderson was proud of how his guys battled the entire time at the Cabo Collegiate despite some tough weather and not everyone having their best stuff.
“Anytime you play golf you can learn and we certainly had plenty of things we learned from in Texas, but there were a lot of positives to take away,” Anderson said.
Following the N.I.T, the team will travel east to Augusta, Georgia to play in the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational starting Saturday, April 3. Unfortunately, the tournament is not played at Augusta National but will be played at Forest Hills Golf Club, which, according to the tournament's website, is only a five-minute drive from Augusta National.
Augusta, Georgia is the golf capital of the world and nobody on the team has been there so it should be an awesome experience for them.
“It’s going to be great … we’re really fortunate to get the invitation to play in that tournament,” Anderson said. “Our team, none of our players have been to Augusta National so just being that close and being in proximity of a tournament that every single golfer and every non-golfer it’s such a recognizable tournament that it’s going to be really cool to be there in that time of year.”
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