March 11, 2004
The third-ranked UCLA men's golf team travels to the Las Vegas Founders Tournament, Mar. 12-14, to be hosted by UNLV at Southern Highlands Golf Club.
The Robert Trent Jones-designed course is home to UNLV's golf team and will measure 7,381 yards and play to a par of 72.
The field is one of the best in college golf, featuring top-ranked Florida and defending NCAA champion Clemson. Also participating are Georgia and Georgia Tech, which are ranked among the Top 5.
Top individuals include Wake Forest's Bill Haas, the nation's top-ranked collegian and Arizona State's Alejandro Canizares, the 2003 NCAA champion. Past champions of this tournament who are participating this year include UNLV's Ryan Moore and Camilo Villegas of Florida.
The Bruins, who tied for sixth place in their last appearance, enter the tournament with three victories this season and 10 in their last 15 events dating to February, 2003. This run of victories includes first-place finishes last season in the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA West Regional. Since the beginning of Coach O.D. Vincent's UCLA tenure, the Bruin varsity has finished among the Top 10 teams in 19 straight events.
"Our team is certainly proud of its recent success," said Vincent, the 2003 Pac-10 and NCAA West Region Coach of the Year. "We look to this tournament as a preview to the post-season and, hopefully, to gauge our prospects for the final stretch drive of the season."
UCLA will be making a change in its lineup this week, substituting freshman Peter Campbell for senior Roy Moon. The rest of the lineup will remain intact with seniors Steve Conway, John Merrick and Travis Johnson as well as junior John Poucher.
Conway leads the team in scoring average at 71.6 and won the MacKenzie Invitational in October. Merrick, the defending Pac-10 Conference medalist, is averaging 72.5 and won the Inverness Invitational in September. Johnson, who also is averaging 72.5, tied for third at the NCAA Fall Preview. Poucher won the Fall Preview and is averaging 73.0.
In the latest GolfWeek poll Conway is UCLA's highest ranked player at No. 41. Johnson is ranked 52nd, Merrick is 70th and Poucher is 90th.