May 5, 2003
The second-ranked UCLA men's golf team earned the top seed for the NCAA West Regional Golf Championship to be hosted by the University of Washington at Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, WA.
Washington National will play to a par of 72 over 7,304 yards. The format for the 27-team tournament will be 54-holes of stroke play over three days. The top 10 teams from each of the three regional sites will advance to the NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek GC in Stillwater, OK, May 28-31.
"It [the top seed] represents a lot of hard work by our players and they deserve it," said Head Coach O.D. Vincent, who last week guided the Bruins to their first conference title in 18 years. "We will be prepared to play against a tough field."
The West Regional field includes 12 conference champions and seven teams ranked among the nation's Top 25. The Bruins will be paired with 11th-ranked UNLV and sixth-ranked Arizona, the Pac-10 Conference runnerup.
On Apr. 30, the Bruins won the 2003 Pac-10 title by 27 shots over Arizona at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale. UCLA junior John Merrick won conference medalist honors with a final round, nine-under par 63, a course record. Merrick, paired with Arizona All-American Ricky Barnes, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and this year's low amateur at the Masters, recorded a score of 12-under par 276 to beat Barnes, who tied for fourth at even par.
Vincent, in his first season at UCLA after serving six years as Washington's head coach, earned 2003 Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. He earned conference co-coach of the year honors in 1999 at Washington, the same year he was voted GCAA National Coach of the Year. In addition to the Pac-10 title, Vincent guided the Bruins to five other tournament titles in 2002-03, a national leader and a modern school record.
Merrick and teammate Steve Conway, a two-time individual winner this season, earned First-Team All-Pac-10 honors, while junior Roy Moon was voted onto the second team and Travis Johnson earned honorable mention acclaim.
These four players and sophomore John Poucher will travel to Washington next week.