Golf to Open 2012 Against University of Arizona
USF head men's and women's golf coach Jenny Coluccio announced on Friday that both squads will open the 2012 season against traditional golf power University of Arizona.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our players," Coluccio said. "Our philosophy, even though we are a Division II program, is to practice and prepare as though we are Division I. Now our players have the opportunity to witness exactly what it takes to compete at the highest level of collegiate golf."
The matches will be played during the Cougars' spring break trip in Tucson. The Cougar men will tee off against U of A and Whitworth University (Wash.) on March 21 and the women will challenge the Lady Wildcats on the following day.
Both matches will be played at Arizona National Golf Club, the Wildcats' home course. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Arizona National is a par-71, 6,785-yard desert course that Golf Magazine called "a classic golf in the desert challenge that will test the very limits of your ability, yet has the flexibility to do so without ever becoming unfair."
Last year, the U of A men's team finished the fall season ranked no.36 by GolfWeek and received votes in the final 2011 NCAA poll. Two Wildcats are currently listed among GolfWeek's top 150 collegiate players; Juan Pablo Hernandez (56) and Erik Oja (136).
The Lady Wildcats finished 2011 ranked seventh in the final NCAA poll and no. 24 by GolfWeek. They boast four players ranked in GolfWeek's top 150: Isabelle Boineau (67), Andrea Vilarasau (109), Kyndall Ardoin (130) and Margarita Ramos (140).
The University of Arizona has won three NCAA golf national championships (1992, men; 1996 & 2000, women). There are 77 players in the Wildcat Golf Hall of Fame, including such notables as Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Rory Sabbatini and Jim Furyk.
The Wildcats are the first-ever NCAA D-I opponent for the USF men's golf program.
"I am thankful to U of A's head women's golf coach Laura Lanello and men's coach Rick LaRose for allowing us this opportunity," Coluccio added. "Our players have the chance to play top NCAA D-I competition at one of the best courses in the Southwest. This opportunity will only help to strengthen the program and the team, and I think it will provide an excellent start to what we anticipate will be a successful spring season."
The USF men's team finished the fall portion of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference golf championship in a tie for second while the women currently sit in seventh place. Additional schedule information is available on USFCOUGARS.com.