Oct. 10, 2003
The UCLA men's golf team has secured the nation's No.1 ranking for the first time since the 1981-82 season when the Bruins set a school record by winning 13 tournaments. The GolfWorld Magazine coaches poll has ranked the Bruins No.1 today.
UCLA received 12 first place votes on the strength of season-opening victories at the Inverness Invitational and the Fall Preview. In their last 11 events, dating to February of 2003, the Bruins have won eight tournaments. UCLA has also produced five individual champions during that span, including two in its first three events this fall.
"No team in the country has enjoyed our recent record of success," said Head Coach O.D. Vincent. "Our No.1 ranking represents a lot of hard work by our players and we are extremely proud of our program's success."
The Bruins opened the fall season with a 10-shot victory at the Inverness Invitational, and senior All-American John Merrick won medallist honors. At the Fall Preview, UCLA rallied from a seven-shot deficit to win by one stroke on the final day. Junior John Poucher won individual honors at the Preview and later was named National Amateur of the Month by the Southern Golf Assn.
"It's a long season, and we have plenty of room for improvement. We want to be a better team in May for the NCAA Championships, " Vincent continued. "The 1981-82 team was a great team and its success will never be matched. The nice thing about our success now is that it has brought into focus the great UCLA players, coaches and teams of the past, and we hope to add to that winning tradition this year. We are especially grateful to Mr. Eddie Merrins (UCLA golf coach from 1975-89) for his guidance and support."
After a third place finish at the Husky Invitational two weeks ago, the Bruins will prepare for the MacKenzie Invitational, hosted by 19th-ranked California at the Meadow Club in Fairfield. The field also includes Pac-10 rivals Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford. Representing UCLA will be seniors Steve Conway, Travis Johnson, Roy Moon and Merrick, and Poucher.
To view the GolfWorld rankings, click here.