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April 24, 1997

Men's Golf Aims for Second Conference Championship

Date: Monday-Tuesday, April 28-29
Site: Prairie Dunes Country Club, Hutchinson, Kansas
Host: University of Missouri
Par: 72
Yardage: 6,593 yards
Rating: 72.2
Slope: 138
Format: 54 holes -- 36 holes Monday, 18 holes Tuesday
Field: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - The Texas Tech University men's golf team looks for a second-straight conference title when the Red Raiders and the league's 11 other teams vie for the 1997 Big 12 Conference Men's Golf Championship Monday and Tuesday, April 28-29.

The championship event begins on Monday with 36 holes and concludes with Tuesday's 18-hole final round at the par 70, 6,593-yard Prairie Dunes Country Club layout. The course was ranked among the nation's top 30 according to Golf Digest, while Golf Magazine listed the course among the top 20 in the world.

Texas Tech's Big 12 tourney lineup will include junior Tom Baldwin, senior Patrick Barley, sophomore Sean Mulherin, junior Laird Sparks and sophomore Philip Tate. That lineup posted Texas Tech's best performance of the year with a fifth-place finish April 12-13 at the All-America Intercollegiate in Houston.

"We have been struggling all season," said Texas Tech head coach Tommy Wilson. "Our finish at the All-America is about where we should have been all year, and we would have probably already had an NCAA playoff berth wrapped up. If we are peaking, now is certainly the time."

Barley, Sparks and Tate helped Texas Tech win the final Southwest Conference Men's Golf Championship last spring. Barley tied for ninth last year at 222, Sparks tied for 32nd with 232 and Tate finished 38th with 240. All-America Bryan Novoa tied for medalist honors in the final SWC golf event.

Monday's 36-hole action gets under way with shotgun starts at 8:00 a.m. and approximately 1:00 p.m. Tuesday's 18-hole final-round tee times begin at 8:00 a.m.

TEXAS TECH LINEUP: Texas Tech's five-player lineup includes junior Tom Baldwin, senior Patrick Barley, sophomore Sean Mulherin, junior Laird Sparks and sophomore Philip Tate. Barley, Sparks and Tate were members of the five-man squad which helped Texas Tech win the final Southwest Conference Championship last spring.

THE COURSE: The first Big 12 Conference Men's Golf Championships will be played on the par 70, 6,593-yard Prairie Dunes Country Club layout in Hutchinson, Kan. Golf Digest ranked the course among its top 30 in the United States, while Golf Magazine listed the layout among the top 20 in the world.

ABOUT TEXAS TECH: If Texas Tech is peaking, the Red Raiders are doing so at the right time just as the Big 12 Conference Men's Golf Championship gets under way. Tech posted its best finish -- fifth -- of the year at the University of Houston's 42nd All-America Intercollegiate. Philip Tate finished fifth and Patrick Barley 14th to lead the Red Raiders.

HEAD COACH TOMMY WILSON: Head coach Tommy Wilson is in his 12th season coaching the Texas Tech men's golf team. The 1984 Tech graduate took over the program in 1985. He guided the Red Raiders to the final Southwest Conference Championship last spring. The Red Raiders have advanced to the NCAA Central Regional Championships three times in the last five years.

QUOTING HEAD COACH TOMMY WILSON: "We have been struggling all season. Our finish at the All-America is about where we should have finished all season and would have probably already had an NCAA playoff berth wrapped up. If we are 'peaking,certainly now is the time."

TATE FINISHES HIGH AT HOUSTON: Sophomore Philip Tate posted his career-best finish at the All-America Intercollegiate April 12-13. He shot a three-over-par 147 to finish fifth.

THE FINAL TIME: Texas Tech won the final Southwest Conference Championship last spring, beating second-place SMU by three shots. The Red Raiders fired rounds of 297, 290, 293 for a 16-over 880. Senior Bryan Novoa tied for medalist honors, while fellow senior Chris Mathis tied for ninth. Junior Patrick Barley also tied for ninth at 222 with rounds of 76-72-74. Novoa shot a three-under par 213 and tie SMU's Hank Kuehne. Mathis fired rounds of 78-73-71 for a six-over 222.

 1   Texas Tech     297-290-293=880
t1   Bryan Novoa     71-70-72=213
t9   Chris Mathis    78-73-71=222
t9   Patrick Barley  76-72-74=222    
t32  Laird Sparks    72-75-85=232
 38  Philip Tate     82-82-76=240

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