Anteaters Advance to NCAA Field : Golf: UC Irvine, considered a longshot, ties for eighth to reach championships.

Before his UC Irvine golf team left for the NCAA West Regional at Tucson, Ariz., Coach Steve Ainslie said the Anteaters were a long shot to advance to the NCAA championships.

That shot rolled into the cup Saturday, as Irvine finished tied for eighth in the 18-team tournament to become one of the nine West Regional teams to advance to the NCAA championships June 3-6 at Albuquerque, N.M.

It will be Irvine's first trip to the NCAA Division I championships. The school won the Division II golf championship in 1975.

Lyle Archer of Irvine finished fifth in the tournament, boosted by a 65 Friday. He shot a 74 Saturday, and had a three-round total of seven-under-par 209 at Tucson National Golf Club.

Arizona's Harry Rudolph was first with three 67s for a 201 total, and two shots ahead of Arizona State's Phil Mickelson.

Arizona, the host team and the nation's second-ranked team, won by 11 strokes with a total of 838. Top-ranked Arizona State was second, and No. 3 Nevada Las Vegas was third. Fresno State, San Jose State, New Mexico and Stanford were the other qualifiers for the NCAA tournament, which will be played on the University of New Mexico's South Course.

Archer, a senior, put Irvine in contention, but the Anteaters slipped into the top nine largely on the strength of 72s Saturday from No. 4 Adam Horodyski and No. 5 Steve Holmes.

Irvine tied Brigham Young for eighth place with a three-day total of 871, one stroke ahead of San Diego State and USC, teams that tied for 10th and were eliminated. Two other teams were two strokes back.

Holmes, a freshman who was a surprise addition to the tournament lineup, finished tied for 85th. But he was a key to Irvine qualifying, shooting a two-under 33 on the back nine in the final round Saturday to make up for senior Joey Sugar's round of 77.

William Yanagisawa, a sophomore, was Irvine's second finisher, shooting a 74 Saturday and tying for 27th place. Horodyski, a junior, tied for 69th, and Sugar, a senior, tied for 79th.

Todd Fischer of San Francisco and Todd Andrews of Pepperdine qualified as individuals for the NCAA championships by being the top two finishers whose teams did not finish in the top nine.

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