EUGENE – Coming off another of its greatest seasons ever, the University of Oregon men’s golf team was rewarded with a No. 23 ranking in the Golfweek Preseason Poll.

UO helped the Pac-12 Conference again flex its might as five members stood top 12 overall - No. 2 California, 5 UCLA, No. 6 Washington, No. 10 Stanford and No. 12 USC.

Other teams in the top five included No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Georgia Tech, and a full listing of the top 25 is available at the www.GolfWeek.com website at the http://golfweek.com/news/college-golf/men/ URL address.

Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Casey Martin, the Ducks return another talented lineup in 2012-13 that welcomes five newcomers – freshmen Max Carter (Lake Oswego, Ore.), Zach Foushee (West Linn, Ore.), Brandon McIver (Billings, Mont.), Sulman Raza (Eugene, Ore.) and Ryann Ree (Redondo Beach, Calif.).

The Duck roster also sports eight returnees – the trio of seniors Tyler Parker, Jack Pennington and Robbie Ziegler, junior Ben Itterman, the sophomore trio of Rak Cho, Tye Gabriel and Jonathan Woo and redshirt freshman Noah Sheikh.

A three-time Pac-12 and two-time NCAA Championships veteran, Robbie Ziegler shot nine rounds of par or better last year and led the team in one tournament and three rounds. He enjoyed four top-10 finishes in the U.S. Intercollegiate (fifth), Aggie Invitational (fifth), Oregon Duck Invitational (eighth) and Bandon Dunes Championship (ninth) to raise his career tally to 10. At season’s end, he staked his third, top-25 Pac-12 Championships finish (21st) after he shot a three-over tourney total (291), and capped the year ranked 236th nationally.

Junior Ben Itterman played four events in 2011-12, and ended with three, top-35 finishes in the Aggie Invitational (20th), Bandon Dunes Championship (30th) and Oregon Duck Invitational (32nd). The Carlsbad, Calif., led the team in one round, thanks to his two-under, collegiate-best, two-under 69 in the Bandon Dunes finale.

Sophomore Rak Cho turned in one of the hottest fall slates among frosh nationally en route to three, top-three finishes overall among his nine stroke play events in 2011-12. The Brea, Calif., native shot 10 par or better scores altogether, had four tourney scores at par or better, and led the team in two tourneys and four rounds. His season-best 12-under tourney score in the Alister MacKenzie Invitational ranked fourth-best all-time for UO, and he had two more under-par tourney scores in the St. Mary’s Invitational (a seven-under 209, second place overall) and Bandon Dunes Championship (a two-under 211, third overall).

Ranked top 222nd in the year-end 2012 national rankings, sophomore Jonathan Woo is the Ducks’ second returnee who played in all three championship stops. In those events’ 10 rounds, he shot four rounds of par or better, and matched his season-best placing in the NCAA Regional (seventh overall) thanks to a career-best five-under tourney score. Overall as a frosh, he carded six rounds of par or better, and his seven events all came the final three months of the season.

Three other returnees all played a pair of events last year (and their season best rounds are included) - seniors Jack Pennington (a two-under 70 in the Oregon Duck Invitational) and Tyler Parker (a one-over 72 in the Bandon Dunes Championship) and sophomore Tye Gabriel (a one-under 71 in the Oregon Duck Invitational).

The Ducks said farewell last spring to four of its top players – All-Americans Daniel Miernicki and Eugene Wong, former All-Pac-12 Second-Team pick Andrew Vijarro, and Jack Paton.

Team-wise in 2011-12, UO added another lengthy chapter to the school record books after it won a record six team tournament titles, followed by an equally memorable postseason run.

In the collegiate finale in L.A., Oregon matched its best-ever finish among its 25 NCAA trips with a third-place tie. Two weeks before in the Ann Arbor NCAA Regional, the Ducks equaled their best-ever finish (second) after they ended one stroke behind USC. In the Pac-12 Championships two weeks prior, UO was tied at the end of regulation to tie its best-ever league finish, and ultimately placed second in a two-hole playoff to California.

Looking ahead to this fall, UO opens its fall campaign in the Husky Invitational in Bremerton, Wash., September 17-18.

Oregon has three more fall events afterwards – the St. Mary’s Invitational (Sept. 24-25, Monterey, Calif.), the Pac-12 Preview (Oct. 8-9, Portland, Ore.) and Alister MacKenzie Invitational (Fairfax, Calif., Oct. 15-16).



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