Chris Nallen practices at Tucson National golf course on April 23, 2003. Photo by Benjie Sanders / Arizona Daily Star

Twice a first-team All-American at Arizona, Nallen began a routine round of golf with UA coaches Rick LaRose and John Knauer on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 3, 2003. They started at the No. 6 hole. By the time they reached their finishing hole, No. 5 — a 520-yard downhill par 5 with water on the right — Nallen was 11-under par.

“I’d been playing really well; I’d just won the All-American tournament in El Paso the week before,” remembers Nallen, now the assistant UA men’s golf coach. “I was like, ‘Let’s go play.’”

Nallen’s second shot at the final hole stopped on the fringe, about 20 feet from the pin. A two-putt would give him a birdie and a 59. An eagle would give him 58.

“I was a little nervous, yeah, but I kinda knew what was at stake,” he says. “Knauer was all amped up, he said, ‘Go, dawg, you gotta make it.’” And he did. It was 13-under par; Kane’s 58 was 12-under par at Randolph.

“I didn’t go nuts or anything,” says Nallen. “But it was pretty cool.” 


Greg graduated from Utah State, worked at two Utah newspapers, the St. Petersburg Times, the Albany Democrat-Herald in Oregon and moved to Tucson to cover UA football and baseball. He became the Star's sports columnist in 1984.