April 3, 2008
The third-ranked UCLA men's golf team returns to the state of Georgia this week to compete in the Administaff Augusta State Invitational at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans, Ga.
The 18-team field will include six of the nation's Top 10 teams and 32 of the country's top 100 ranked players.
In one previous appearance at this event in 2004, the Bruins finished second to Minnesota. This year's appearance represents their first in four years.
Francis returns to the top five after tying for seventh place at the Cal Poly Intercollegiate, a career best result. He played the final 36 holes in three-under par and finished four shots behind the winner.
Chappell, ranked fifth this week, has won Pac-10 Player of the Month twice after capturing medalist honors at the PING/Arizona event and breaking UCLA's 23-year old 54-hole scoring record. He leads the team with a 71.5 scoring average.
Flores has been the Bruins' hottest golfer of the Winter and Spring. Since February, he has finished no lower than 13th and won the Cal State Bakersfield Invitational with a 10-under par score of 206.
Lee struggled in the Fall, but has rallied in the Spring. He placed fifth at the Bakersfield tournament, three shots behind Flores, and has dropped his scoring average nearly a full stroke since the start of the season.
Although he has struggled in his last two starts, Leslie has enjoyed the best season of his career, recording two Top 10 results and six rounds under par. He finished one stroke behind Flores at Bakersfield and tied for third in the season's first event.
"The team knows it can play much better, and that's a good sign," said first-year Head Coach Derek Freeman. "We're constantly striving to improve and we're never satisfied. Sooner or later hard our work will pay off."
UCLA also will send five individuals to play in the annual Wyoming Cowboy Classic at Talking Stick CC in Scottsdale, Ariz., Apr. 7-8. Senior Brandon Christianson, junior James Lee, sophomores Ben Choe and Jason Kang and freshman Connor Driscoll hope to crack the Gold Team lineup with solid results.
In previous appearances, James Lee tied for 11th in 2006 and Christianson tied for 16th in 2005. The Blue Team won the tournament in 2004.
Talking Stick plays to a par of 70 over 7,153 yards.