March 4, 2007
The seventh-ranked UCLA men's golf team begins a busy week of competition with three tournaments scheduled over the next week prior to a break for final examinations.
The Gold Team will participate in the annual USC Collegiate Invitational, hosted at North Ranch CC, Mar. 5-6, before traveling to Nevada to compete in the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate, Mar 9-11.
The Blue Team, winners of its last two events, will participate in the UC Riverside Braveheart Classic, Mar. 5-6, at Oak Valley GC in Beaumont, CA.
"We've got a busy week ahead of us that we've been anticipating for some time," said Head Coach O. D. Vincent. "This will give us an opportunity to determine which players are ready for our championship schedule and which aren't."
Competition has been so fierce among players hoping to earn spots on the Gold Team, that two players have won individual titles while competing for the Blue Team. Both Blue Team medalists will compete for the Gold Team next week.
Heintz won his second collegiate title Feb. 20 by firing rounds of 67-75-74 -- 216 (E) to capture the Cougar Invitational title, hosted by Cal State San Marcos at San Luis Rey Downs.
On the same day, Chappell captured the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational title at Sawgrass CC in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. He posted rounds of 72-73-69 -- 214 (-2) to win his second collegiate championship. Both of Chappell's victories have come in Florida; he won the 2006 NCAA East Regional title at Lake Nona CC in Orlando last May.
Finally, Lee, who leads the team with a 71.5 scoring average, won the Cal State Bakersfield Spring Invitational on Feb. 27 at Seven Oaks CC with scores of 65-67-70 -- 202 (-14). His 54-hole score tied a UCLA record in relation to par. In two tournaments in 2007, Lee has recorded a victory and a tie for second place at the Cougar Invitational. The win at Seven Oaks was the third of Lee's career.
"All three of these players -- Lucas, Chris and Kevin -- are playing exceptional golf right now," said Vincent. "With the addition of Daniel Im and Erik Flores (on the Gold Team), I would expect us to contend for the title at both events next week."
Im, a junior, is a two-time winner, capturing the 2006 Pac-10 title and the 2005 Las Vegas Founders championship as a freshman. Flores earned 2nd Team GCAA All-America honors and 1st Team All-Pac-10 acclaim as a freshman last year.
Competing for the Blue Team, which posted a 25-under par score of 839 to win at Seven Oaks, will be senior Peter Campbell, juniors Craig Leslie and Brandon Christianson, sophomore James Lee and freshmen Charlie Harris and Jason Kang. In this group, Campbell is a two-time tournament winner and Leslie won last year's Pala Mesa Invitational.
In addition, James Lee tied for 32nd at the 2006 NCAA Championship. Harris, Christianson and Kang have each recorded at least one Top 25 finish in their first two tournaments this Spring.