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Wildcats place 2nd in National Invitation tourney

Citizen Staff Writer



“Great shot!” was the refrain around Tucson National on Monday after Jonathan Khan struck the edge of the green from the rough 200 yards out.

It was a great opportunity for Khan and the Arizona Wildcats to dent New Mexico’s lead in the annual National Invitation Tournament. Khan’s 30-yard lag putt fell 5 feet short of the pin, before his par save twirled around the hole and stopped just short of going in.

He wasn’t the only Wildcat to three-putt on Monday, as the Wildcats placed second, seven strokes behind winner New Mexico. Khan finished fourth in medalist play at 4-under 212 in the three-day tourney – five strokes behind winner Nick Geyer of New Mexico.

“They didn’t manage the game the way they had to today,” said UA coach Rick LaRose, “and that comes from inexperience.”

Still, the bogeys and pars that had to be saved didn’t daunt the enthusiasm either LaRose or Khan was feeling about the typically blue collar, no-superstar Cats, who should receive an NCAA bid in the coming weeks with their grinding game.

“I put in the right spots but the putting . . .” Khan said, “but we are competing.”

And that’s good for LaRose’s sanity. Nobody’s perfect in golf, but people can be perfectly game.

“That’s four tournaments now in a row that we finished in the last group and that’s good,” he said. “That means we could have won all of them and now, we are killing 10 of the teams that are rated ahead of us.”

And the coach has a nice bonus coming his way, it seems, with freshman Philip Bagdade, who outscored all other Wildcat golfers with a 6-under 210 playing for the Arizona “B” team. That included opening rounds of 68 and 69.

Bagdade fell to 73 Monday, despite four birdies. He had five of those so-close bogeys.

“He (Bagdade) is an upside today,” LaRose said.

Wildcats place 2nd in National Invitation tourney


Tucson National, par-72, 7,094 yards


1 New Mexico 280 280 290-850 -14

2 Arizona 289 279 289-857 -7

3 TCU 285 283 293-861 -3

4 UNLV 286 277 300-863 -1

5 California 283 293 292-868 +4


1 Nick Geyer, N.M. 66 71 70-207 -9

2 James Sacheck, TCU 71 68 70-209 -7

3 Philip Bagdade, UA* 69 68 73-210 -6

4 Jonathan Khan, UA 69 71 72-212 -4

T5 Eric Mina, Cal 72 70 71-213 -3

* Plays for UA “B” squad

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