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Conference call, April 30

It was a big weekend for the golfers in green as Michigan State claimed the women's Big Ten title by 13 strokes over Purdue at MSU's Forest Akers GC while the Spartan men's team shared the conference title with Minnesota at Ohio State's Scarlet Course. Fifth-year Spartan senior Rachel Meikle took medalist honors at the women's event in record-setting fashion, shooting a four-under 284 in what was her first college victory. On the men's side, Purdue senior Pariya Junhasavasdikul went wire-to-wire, posting a one-over 285 for an eight-stroke victory over MSU's Matt Harmon and Minnesota's Bronson La'Cassie to become the first Boilermaker since 1967 to win the individual Big Ten title.

Other conference winners this past weekend included the BYU men (by one stroke over UNLV) and TCU's Robby Ormand at the Mountain West Conference Championship and the Kent State women (by 49 strokes over Eastern Michigan) and Golden Flash Kira Meixner at the Mid-American Conference Championship. It was BYU's first league title since 2001 and came after a see-saw final round at the Omni Tucson National Resort. The Cougars started the day with an eight-stroke lead, made the turn six strokes back of the Rebels, endured a half-hour weather delay and watched Daniel Summerhays birdie the last hole while UNLV's Seung-su Han bogeyed for the final result. The scene wasn't as dramatic at Longaberger GC in Nashport, Ohio for Kent State, but the result was still impressive as the school claimed its ninth straight conference crown.

Up next this week are the following men's championships. And don't forget, the NCAA Women's Division I regional selections will be announced this afternoon.

Conference_chart_430

MEN
CONFERENCE USA

Field:
Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, Tulsa

2006 champions:
SMU, by six strokes over Central Florida; Will Dodson, SMU

Skinny:
SMU and Tulsa seem the likely two to be vying for the team title, although the Mustangs chances have been hindered by the absence of their conference player-of-the-year candidate Colt Knost, who Monday qualified for the PGA Tour's EDS Byron Nelson Championship in Dallas and then made the cut after shooting a second-round 64. Knost missed yesterday's first round at Texarkana CC but is expected to play for SMU today and tomorrow. Without Knost, SMU finished in 10th place after the first round, 16 strokes back of Tulsa. Knost would have been a favorite for the individual title too, but now the medalist race seems to be in the hands of whatever Tulsa player is ready to shine. Brett Myers, Sam Korbe, Mitch Cohlmia, Nicolas Geyger and Ryan Henry have all won or shared medalist honors in events this year. Picking before Sunday's first round, I'd give the edge to Korbe.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Horizon
Field:
Butler, Cleveland State, Detroit Mercy, Loyola (Ill.), Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wright State, Youngstown State
 
2006 champions:
Cleveland State, by five strokes over Youngstown State; Brandon Knutson, Wright State (playoff)*
* competing in 2007

Skinny:
Detroit Mercy, third a year ago in the Horizon Championship, has the best ranking of any team in the league and has the most momentum, finishing in the top five in five of its last six starts, including a victory at IPFW event last fall. Knutson has a shot at defending his title, but will have to hold off Detroit Mercy's Mark Sommerfeld, who has a league-best 73.0 stroke average, was the conference player of the year in 2006 and finished one stroke out of last year's individual playoff. Look for the Titans and Sommerfeld to roll to conference titles.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


WAC

Field:
Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Utah State

2006 champions:
New Mexico State, by five strokes over Fresno State; Matt Edwards, New Mexico State (playoff)*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: The team race is fairly wide open, with Fresno State ranked best among the nine conference squads. Could the Bulldogs take inspiration from former All-American Nick Watney's first PGA Tour win in New Orleans? Our guess is yes, although host Nevada will make it very competitive.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat

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News & Tours

Golfers excel off the course, too

Late last week, the NCAA honored more than 800 Division I sports teams for their latest Academic Progress Rate scores. A total of 839 teams posted scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports (the number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on how many achieved perfect 1,000 APR scores).

Long story short: golf programs around the country did very well. The men's sport with the highest number of teams recognized was golf with 51, followed by cross country (49) and tennis (40). In women's sports, golf ranked third with 52 teams named, exceeded only by tennis (64) and volleyball (54).

Below are a list of the golf teams honored by the NCAA. (Schools in bold are also ranked in the top 25 in the latest men's Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll or women's Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll.) The NCAA will release all school scores this coming Wednesday.

MEN
American, Arizona State, Auburn, Bradley, Brown, Bucknell, Butler, Colgate, Connecticut, Cornell, Creighton, Dartmouth, Davidson, Dayton, DePaul, Duke, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Evansville, Florida State, Furman, George Mason, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Holy Cross, James Madison, Kansas, Kent State, Lafayette, Long Beach State, Marquette, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, New Mexico State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio, Oklahoma State, Penn, Princeton, Rice, Saint Louis, South Florida, St. Bonaventure, South Florida, Villanova, Virginia, William and Mary, Yale

WOMEN
Alcorn State, Arkansas, Boston, Bowling Green State, Bucknell, Butler, Columbia, Dartmouth, Dayton, Detroit Mercy, Elon, Fairfield, Florida, Fresno State, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Illinois, Indiana, Jacksonville State, James Madison, Kent State, Lehigh, LIU-Brooklyn Campus, Michigan, Missouri, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary's, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Oregon, Penn, Penn State, Pepperdine, Princeton, Saint Louis, Samford, San Jose State, Siena, South Alabama, South Carolina State, South Florida, Southern California, Southern Illinois, SMU, St. John's (N.Y.), Stanford, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Virginia, Washington, William and Mary, Yale

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News & Tours

Conference call, April 27

Finally ... a couple of conference championships hold to form, with the winners being expected. The Arizona State women, ranked No. 1 in the latest Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll, cruised to an 18-stroke victory over UCLA at the Pac-10 Championship Wednesday. (It still blows me away that it has been 11 years since the Sun Devils last won their conference crown.) If not for some impressive play on the 18th hole at Seattle's Broadmoor GC from UCLA sophomore Tiffany Joh, who made a 21-foot birdie on the final hole to force a playoff with ASU's Anna Nordqvist for the individual title, then made a 15-footer for birdie to claim the crown, the ladies from Tempe would have walked away with all the big hardware (Melissa Luellen was named conference coach of the year; Nordqvist was named player and freshman of the year).

Defending NCAA men's champion Oklahoma State showed it isn't going to be the after thought the Cowboys seemed close to becoming earlier this spring. It wasn't just the seven-stroke margin of victory OSU had at the Big 12 Championship over Texas A&M. It was the fact that Pablo Martin jumped back into the college winner's circle with a three-shot individual triumph and that the enigmatic Ryan Posey, talented enough to qualify for the U.S. Open last year yet never really having the All-American career everyone figured he would going into college, finished second and looks like he's on his game as the senior's college years wind down.

At the men's Pac-10 Championship, Southern California earned its conference-best 18th league title with a dominating performance at Eugene (Ore.) CC, shooting a 51-under 1,389 and beating cross-town rival UCLA by 36 strokes. Yes, the Bruins and Stanford, who finished fourth, had gotten more ink this year, but the Trojans are hardly a surprise winner. It was their third tournament victory of the season and their 10th top-five finish in 11 starts. Jamie Lovemark, meanwhile, had to have locked up freshman of the year honors (baring a rookie takes the NCAA title) with a notable 19-under 269 showing, six strokes lower than runner-up Niklas Lemke of Arizona State. Lovemark, who didn't make a bogey until the 59th hole of the tournament, became the first USC player to win medalist honors since Sam Randolph in 1983.

With that, here is a look at what's in store this weekend. (Remember that NCAA women's Division I regional selections will be made Monday):


Conference_chart_427

WOMEN
MID-AMERICAN
Field:
Ball State, Bowling Green State, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Kent State, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan   

2006 champions: Kent State, by 60 strokes over Toledo; Tara Delaney, Kent State*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: Hard to pick against the Golden Flashes, who are going for their ninth straight Mid-American conference title. Kent also historically captures medalist honors, and Delaney (one win, three top-10s in 2006-07) looks primed to repeat individually.

MAAC
Field: Fairfield, Siena

2006 champions: Siena, by 84 strokes over Fairfield; Bridget Erwin, Siena (playoff)*
*competing in 2007

Skinny: Only two choices here, and really there's just one; Siena should once again have no trouble walking away with the title.


BIG TEN

Field: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

2006 champions: Purdue, by 11 strokes over Ohio State; Alice Kim, Northwestern*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: The way the Boilermakers have been playing of late—three wins in their last four starts—it's going to be tough to keep them from claiming a second straight title, particular with the championship being a 72-hole event. The only real challenger might be Michigan State, who will need to take advantage of local knowledge playing at their home course to claim an upset win. As for medalist, Purdue sophomore Maria Hernandez is similarly on a torrid streak, winning three of her last four starts and coming in second in the other event after losing in a playoff.


NORTHEAST
Field: Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU-Brooklyn, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (Pa.), Wagner

2006 champions: St. Francis (Pa.), by two strokes over LIU-Brooklyn; Samantha Milosh, St. Francis (Pa.)*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: There's no clear-cut front-runner as more than a half-dozen schools are bunched within 25 spots on the Golfstat ranking. Giving an edge to experience, we see the RedFlash of St. Francis bringing home the hardware again.


MEN
MOUNTAIN WEST

Field: Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming

2006 champions: New Mexico, by five strokes over UNLV; Jay Choi, New Mexico

Skinny: Looks like New Mexico's run of four straight conference titles ends this year as the team championship moves to a new venue (been played at the Crosswater Club the past four years) and will come down to a duel between UNLV and BYU. We'll give the edge to the Rebels. Don't fret, Lobo fans. Senior Charlie Beljan will claim medalist honors ... provided his back doesn't start to act up on him.
 

BIG TEN
Field: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

2006 champions: Northwestern, by nine strokes over Minnesota; Chris Wilson, Northwestern*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: Ohio State's Scarlet Course isn't going to be yielding many birdies, at least if the stats from last week's Lady Buckeye Invitational are an indication. No Big Ten squad stands about the crowd here, but I'm going to go with Minnesota as my choice. The Golden Gophers haven't won this year and are inconsistent, but with Bronson La'Cassie leading the way, they have talent. Plus, this is the venue when the school had its greatest golfing victory—the 2002 NCAA Championship. I like LaCassie taking the individual title, with Michigan State's Matt Harmon more than likely to give him a run for his money and Wilson having a decent shot at repeating, thanks to his Columbus roots.


MAAC

Field: Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Loyola (Md.), Manhattan, Niagara, Rider, St. Peter's, Siena

2006 champions: Siena, by 15 strokes over Loyola (Md.); Kyle Underwood, Iona*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: After getting beaten out a year ago when trying for their fourth straight MAAC title, Loyola will be back on top this year. The Greyhounds are the clear No. 1 seed, having won three tournaments this season, and claimed the conference crown the last two times the event was played at the Magnolia Course. Don't be surprised if a Loyola upperclassmen (the school starts a senior, Will Shriver, and three juniors, Matt Bassler, Nick Brassill and Chris Derby) wins medalist honors; the individual winner earns the MacLeod Award, named after former Iona golfer Charles "Scott" McLeod who passed away in 1985 after a life-long fight with kidney-related ailments.

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News & Tours

Campus review, April 26

THE FAB FIVE
My look at the top five teams in the country right now

MEN
Georgia_small_logo 1. Georgia
—Don’t think anybody saw what happened last weekend—a sixth-place finish at the SEC Championship—coming from the hottest team in the country. The Bulldogs posted their worst opening-round of the year, putting them in a hole too big to dig out of. Still, chalk it up to a wake-up call and the post-season continues. Next event: Linger Longer Invitational, Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Ga., May 13-14

Stanford_small_logo 2. Stanford—The Cardinal’s fourth-place showing at the Pac-10 is disappointing (considering their six-win season to date), but not the end of the world. Proves though that no teams have really separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the race for the national title. Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 17-19

Oklahomastatelogolatest 3. Oklahoma State—The defending NCAA champions made a statement this week at Prairie Dunes and the Big 12 Championship with the school’s 50th conference title. First piece of good news for Cowboys’ fans: Pablo Martin ended his college slide by taking medalist honors. Second piece: All five starters had rounds count during OSU’s title run. Next event: The Maxwell, Dornick Hills CC, Ardmore, Okla., May 12-13

Southern_cal_logo 4. Southern California—Too bad the NCAAs are being played at Eugene CC; there would be a definite favorite after the Trojans won their second tournament of the spring there, taking the Pac-10 title yesterday by 36 shots over UCLA. Only knock against USC is consistency. When they’re on, they’re very good. And when they’re not … Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 17-19

Alabama_small_logo 5. Alabama—Tried hard to charge back and catch Tennessee during the final round in Sea Island. Second place in the nation’s toughest conference isn’t something to sneeze at, plus three Crimson Tide players finished in the top 10 individually. Next event: Linger Longer Invitational, Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Ga., May 13-14

Ucla_logo 5b. UCLA—The Bruins haven't finished worse than second in an event since the end of March, although they haven't finished better than second either. The positive to come out of their runner-up showing at the Pac-10s is that four players finished inside the top 15 individually. Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 17-19


WOMEN
Arizona_state_small_logo 1. Arizona State
—Sun Devils take their first conference title since 1996, with Anna Nordqvist making it four straight tournaments finishing either first or second. Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 10-12

Duke_small_logo 2. Duke —So who else is crossing their fingers and hoping to see an Amanda Blumenherst-Nordqvist face off at LPGA International in a couple weeks? Next event: NCAA Regionals, Site TBD, May 10-12

Georgia_small_logo_2 3. Georgia —Bulldogs awaken at the right time, claiming their first SEC title since 2001. Similarly, Taylor Leon steps up in crunch time with an individual victory. Here's looking forward to a Blumenherst-Nordqvist-Leon showdown. Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 10-12

Auburn_small_logo 4. Auburn—It wasn’t the same Tigers we’d seen all spring playing at Old Waverly CC last weekend, when Auburn finished a surprising eighth at the SEC Championship. The thing of it is, Kim Evans is one of the best coaches in the business, and she’ll have the Tigers back and ready. Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 10-12

Pepperdine_small_logo 5. Pepperdine—All five Waves finished in the top 12 at the West Coast Conference Championship, including three in the top five (Misun Cho, win; Eileen Vargas, second; Leanne Bowditch, T-4). Meanwhile, Vargas must have some kind of internal clock that tells her the post-season is near; she always seems to play big this time of year. Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 10-12


GOLF WORLD PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
MEN
Dawie Van der Walt
, Lamar
Dawie_van_der_walt The junior began the Southland Conference Championship four over after 12 holes, then went 17 under on his  final 42 at The Club at Comanche Trace in Kerrville, Texas, to win by three. His 13-under 203 (72-65-66) was 13.38 shots better than the 54-hole average.

WOMEN
Taylor Leon
, Georgia
Taylor_leon A bogey-free 67 at Old Waverly GC in West Point, Miss., Sunday gave the sophomore a four-shot win (eight-under 208) at the SEC Championship. She also helped the Bulldogs grab the team title. Leon is the seventh Georgia player to win SEC medalist honors.


STAT OF THE WEEK
81.65

The average score of the 87-player field at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, held last week at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course. Only one golfer, Purdue’s Maria Hernandez, was under par for the 54-hole event (one-under 215) and only three posted scores lower than 10-over 226 (Hernandez, teammate Christel Boeljon and Kent State’s Tara Delaney) despite temperatures in the 70s and no rain. A year ago, at the women’s NCAA Championship, the scoring average was 76.57. The course hosts this weekend's men's Big Ten Championship.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• The hearts of Arkansas women’s golf fans had to sink Saturday morning when All-American Stacy Lewis pulled out of the women’s SEC Championship after finishing just one hole of the second round because of a back injury. The good news, however, is the prognosis is promising that Lewis will be in the line-up for NCAA Regionals in two weeks. “She’s been getting two-a-day treatments from our medical staff,” said Arkansas women’s coach Kelley Hester, “and they’re confident she’s going to be ready to go. She isn’t playing or practicing at all this week, which is torture for this kid. She just lives for [golf].”

Stacy_lewis_at_nabisco The 22-year-old redshirted her freshman year in 2003-04 after having surgery to try and correct scoliosis. Since then, she has had minor but chronic back issues, but hadn’t experienced a combination of muscle and nerve trouble like what she had occur this past weekend. Hester said Lewis initially tweaked the back bending over while warming up for the Saturday round. “I can’t imagine what kind of pain she really must have been in to say that she couldn’t play any more,” noted Hester.

Indeed, Lewis is as feisty and scrappy a player as any in college golf, and had been on a roll of late. She was the low amateur at the LPGA’s Kraft Nabisco Championship, finishing in a tie for fifth place, and had just come off a win at the Susie Maxwell Berning Invitational earlier this month. Without her in the line-up, the Lady Razorbacks would face a real challenge to advance out of regionals to the NCAA Championship.

• For as impressive a start to the 2006-07 season as the Florida men had—recall they were ranked No. 1 in the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches’ poll in late February—the past two months have been anything but memorable for the Gators. It continued last weekend at the SEC Championship, when Florida finished in fifth place despite starting the day only four shots off the lead. “Not quite the finish we wanted, but there are a lot of positives that we can take from this golf tournament,” said Florida coach Buddy Alexander, whose team has finished ninth, 10th, fifth, 10th and fifth since winning February’s Gator Invitational. “We played a pretty solid front nine today and put ourselves in a good position with nine holes to play, which is what you want when you play golf at this level. I would have liked to have seen us handle that opportunity a little better on the back nine, but we had a decent day and hopefully this will help us down the road.”

Alexander’s top performer turned out to be junior Tyler Brown, who tied for fourth place. Interesting, junior Manuel Villegas who had three top-10s including a win at the Gator, didn’t make the line-up for Alexander.

All this said, I’m not ready to give up on Florida just yet. Alexander is too talented a coach, and his players are young but very capable of playing well. There is still time to regroup before regionals and nationals, and something tells me coach will have his guys ready to play in the next few weeks.

• Conference championships are coming to a close … look for more previews and reviews on Campus Insider in the coming days.


TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH
MEN
Cavalier Classic

April 28-29
Birdwood GC, Charlottesville, Va. (Par 72, 7,000 yards)
Field: Belmont, Boston College, Central Arkansas, James Madison, Maryland, UNC Greensboro, Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth, William & Mary.
Defending champion: Maryland (seven-over 871); Brad Tilley, Virginia (even-par 216, won in playoff)
Skinny: The tournament celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Host Virginia hasn’t won the team title, however, since 1997. In the last three years, the individual race has finished in a tie. A year ago, the playoff wasn’t decided until the seventh hole, Tilley and Maryland’s Blaine Peffley making pars on the first six holes. Tilley holed a 20-foot par putt on the seventh extra hole, then watched Peffley miss an eight-footer to give the UVa senior the title. 

First Energy Intercollegiate
    (For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)
April 28-29
Firestone CC (North), Akron, Ohio
Field: Akron, Ball State, Binghamton, Bowling Green, Charlotte, Cleveland State, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, George Washington, Georgetown, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph, Western Kentucky, Youngstown State
Host: Akron

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News & Tours

Sutherland: 'Travel has worn me out'

Another winning women's coach has announced plans for retirement at season's end citing the increased hours the job is requiring to succeed at the national level. Less than a week after her Aggie squad won its second-straight Big 12 Conference title, Texas A&M coach Jeanne Sutherland said that this would be her final season in College Station as she is taking the head professional job at Vail (Colo.) GC.

Sutherlandjeannewg07 “The travel has worn me out,” Sutherland said in an impressively honest statement released Wednesday. “My mindset changed when I sat down and counted the number of nights I had spent in hotel rooms in the last year. In today’s world of recruiting, golf is 365 days and encompasses every country in the world. You can’t afford a moment’s hesitation to climb on a plane and check a player out. When that hesitation occurs, your program will slide and I didn’t want that to happen at A&M."

Sutherland, who came from Vail as an assistant professional in 1992, has taken A&M to the NCAA Championship four times, including the past three seasons. Her teams had advance at least to regionals in 13 of 15 seasons.

In February, Virginia women's coach Jan Mann announced she too would be leaving her top-25 program after the 2006-07 season, noting among other things her desire to be closer to her family.

To elevate the sport of college golf to the next level—one where no one can question its relevance as a place to develop young players for success at the professional level (are you listening Hank Haney!!!)—the job of a head coach is going to be more than just spending eight months of the year driving a van and making sure the players have a new sleeve of balls when they get to the first tee. At the same time, it doesn't have to be something where a coach is home two weeks in the summer and three weeks during the winter break and needs a name tag when he or she sees his or her family.

I applaud any coach who is willing to work hard to try to recruit players and develop his or her program to contend for conference and national titles. But the sport needs to be careful it's not creating an environment where the sacrifices individuals are required to make are so great that they no longer want to be in the game. It's why I'm happy to see the NCAA Division I management council eliminate the use of text messaging in recruiting prospective student athletes. And the more and more I think about it, the more and more I think some sort of recruiting calendar needs to be put in place, where there is a period of time in the summer that coaches can't recruit players. It would keep prospective players from feeling slighted if coaches recruiting them aren't following every single hole of their summer competition (or keep the players from expecting coaches to always be there). It would also allow coaches some time to recharge.

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News & Tours

Conference call, April 23

So you think college golf is predictable? Well of course you knew, then, that the hottest team in the country, the top-ranked Georgia men, was going to have its worst opening round of the 2006-07 last Friday at the SEC Championship. The Bulldogs finished the day in 10th place, too far behind to move any higher than sixth place by Sunday at Sea Island GC. Instead of taking the team title, as predicted, Georgia watched Tennessee walk off with the its third SEC championship and first since 1990 with a two-shot triumph over Alabama. (Click here for full results.)

And you knew, too, that the Virginia Tech men, who after a disappointing 11th-place finish at the Courtyard by Marriott Intercollegiate the previous Saturday weren't sure they were going to get a bid to regionals, then had the horror of living through the tragic shootings on their Blacksburg, Va., campus April 16, would come out in the final round of the ACC Championship, shoot a nine-under 279 and claim a share of the title with Georgia Tech. You may never find a more impressive performance than Hokie senior captain Ryan Sypniewski's 67 Sunday at Old North State Club, which included four birdies over the final seven holes.

"I've never been prouder of his leadership," said Virginia Tech men's coach Jay Hardwick when I reached him on his cell phone Sunday night as he was 20 minutes outside Blacksburg on the team van. "The other guys saw him putting up all those birdies and they knew that we had a chance."

Truth is, the only thing this weekend that anyone remotely forecast was the Georgia women taking their conference-best 11th SEC title by 16 strokes over Florida (click here for full results). Give credit to Bulldog sophomore Taylor Leon, whose final-round 67 at Old Waverly CC gave her medalist honors by four shots over teammate Garrett Phillips and Tennessee's Marci Turner.

"Taylor played awesome golf today,” Georgia women's coach Todd McCorkle said. “She seemed hit every one of her iron shots close to the hole. Watching her today, it was like it was effortless.”

Despite all the warning signs mentioned above, your intrepid reporter tries to give you his vision for how a few other conference championships will play out over the next few days:

Conference_chart_423

WOMEN
Big East
Field:
Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers, South Florida, St. John's

2006 champions: Louisville, by 21 strokes over Georgetown; Adrienne White, Louisville*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: The Cardinals play host and are the No. 1 seed as they get set to defend their title. Don't be surprised to see White, a senior, repeat as medalist.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat

Big West
Field: Cal Poly, CSU-Northridge, Long Beach State, UC-Davis*, UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside
* non-scoring participant (join conference in 2007-08)

2006 champions: UC-Irvine, by 43 strokes over Long Beach State; Selanee Henderson, UC-Irvine*
*competing in 2007

Skinny: While the team competition should be exciting (giving the edge here to UC-Irvine to three-peat, with Long Beach State not far behind), the real treat will be to watch the individual battle between the last two Big West players of the year, Long Beach State's Kay Hoey and UC-Irvine's Henderson. Hoey's victory this month at the Peg Barnard California Collegiate suggests momentum is on her side, although Henderson recently won the Anteater Invitational, her fifth college title. Honestly, it's a coin flip on who will come out on top.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Pac-10

Field: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Washington State

2006 champions: UCLA, by one stroke over Arizona State; Paige Mackenzie, Washington

Skinny: Hard to believe given the school's storied tradition, but it has been nine years since Arizona State won its last Pac-10 title. Coach Melissa Luellen's Sun Devils are too strong, however, to be denied again. ASU's talented trio of Anna Nordqvist, Jennifer Osborn and Azahara Munoz make it likely that they'll take medalist honors as well. Having seen Nordqvist get her first win of the year at home earlier this month, Osborn is our pick to equal her teammate's feat.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Conference USA

Field: Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida, East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, SMU, Southern Mississippi, Tulsa, UTEP

2006 champions: East Carolina, by 10 strokes over SMU; Lene Krog, East Carolina*
*competing in 2007

Skinny: SMU coach Todd Selders deserves more than just coach-of-the-year honors for the way he has kept together a team hurt badly by injuries (most notably Laura Cross). The good news was he got senior Jennifer Ackerson back for the first time all spring at the Susie Maxwell Berning tournament earlier this month. Selders patience will be rewarded when the Mustangs pull out the team title, and look for Lacey Jones to finish claim to pull out individual honors.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


WAC

Field: Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State

2006 champions: San Jose State, by nine strokes over New Mexico State; Jenelle Gomez, San Jose State

Skinny: A win and seven top-five finishes in eight starts gives San Jose State the resume to defend their conference title; a 5-0 record versus Fresno State this year doesn't hurt either. The Bulldogs' Jennifer Shipley and Laura Luethke, however, will give Gomez a run for her money in defending the medalist crown.
For live scoring, link here to Golfstat

MEN
Ohio Valley
Field:
Austin Peay State, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Murray State, Samford, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Tenn.-Martin

2006 champions: Eastern Kentucky, in a playoff over Tennessee Tech; Shawn Tipton, Morehead State*
*competing in 2007

Skinny: The championship comes to the CC of Paducah for the fifth time and should be a close contest if history has anything to say about it; seven of the last 10 championships have been decided by four strokes or less, including two playoffs (2002, 2006). Austin Peay State, which has all five of its starters in the top 12 in the OVC in scoring average, might have the inside track but defending champion Eastern Kentucky has three of the top-10. Individually, Tennessee Tech's Scott Stallings (71.1 average) is the favorite.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Southern

Field:
Appalachian State, College of Charleston, Davidson, Elon, Furman, Georgia Southern, UNC-Greensboro, Tenn.-Chattanooga, Western Carolina, Wofford

2006 champions: Georgia Southern, by 12 strokes over College of Charleston; Matt Cook, Western Carolina*
*competing in 2007

Skinny: You can't ever count out defending champion Georgia Southern, although this year might just be when Chattanooga makes its stand after claiming three team titles this spring and as a team is hitting 70 percent of its fairways. Cook cooled off after winning three times in the fall, but is still a favorite individually.
For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Big East

Field: Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Florida, St. John's, Villanova

2006 champions: Notre Dame, in a playoff over Louisville; Derek Fathauer, Louisville*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: With five wins in 2006-07, Louisville has had its best season in school history. The Cardinal also have incentive after a painful playoff loss in last year's Big East Championship. Expect Louisville's Fathauer twins (Daryl and Derek) to step up, but also watch for Marquette sophomore Mike Van Sickle (three wins) to make a run at the individual title.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Mid-Continent

Field: Centenary, IUPUI, Missouri-Kansas City, Oakland, Oral Roberts, Southern Utah, Western Illinois

2006 champions: Western Illinois, by 13 strokes over Southern Utah; Stephen Clark, Missouri-Kansas City*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: Defending champion Western Illinois has won three times this season, including its last two tournaments, and looks poised to repeat in 2007. WIU senior Tim Streng has had four top-five finishes in six spring starts and seems to be heading for the individual title, with Oral Roberts' Mauricio Tamez and Southern Utah's Eric Nilsson being likely his toughest competition.


Missouri Valley

Field: Bradley, Creighton, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Wichita State

2006 champions: Wichita State, by two strokes over Drake; Ryan Spears, Wichita State

Skinny: The Shockers were the unanimous pick of the conference's nine coaches to win the MVC title again in 2007. We'll make it 10 for 10.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Big 12

Field: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

2006 champions: Oklahoma, by four strokes over Texas; Matthew Rosenfeld, Texas

Skinny: It's asking a lot to just expect a team just to turn it on in the post-season, but Oklahoma State has the talent to do so. The defending NCAA champions will be playing with their full line-up for just the second time since February. Texas A&M is likely to make some noise, but in the end the Cowboys will ride away with their 50th conference title.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat

Big West
Field: Cal Poly, CSU-Northridge, Long Beach State, Pacific, UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside, UC-Santa Barbara

2006 champions: Cal Poly, by 15 strokes over UC-Irvine; Ryan Panichpakdee, Long Beach State

Skinny: Three different teams have won the past three Big West titles (2004: Long Beach State; 2005: UC-Riverside; 2006: Cal Poly), and our bet is UC-Irvine makes it four in four years despite the fact the defending champs have won their last two tournaments. The Anteaters have top-five finishes in eight of their nine starts this season.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat

Pac-10
Field: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Washington State

2006 champions: UCLA, by 12 strokes over Washington; Daniel Im, UCLA*
*competing in 2007

Skinny: Can Conrad Ray's squad continue its magic season and hold off UCLA and USC? Our gut sides with the Bruins actually (sorry Stanford fans), although the Cardinal will surely put up a good fight in this unique format (72 holes over three days, 36-18-18; play six, count five scores). Individually, ASU's Niklas Lemke and USC's Jamie Lovemark are among just some of the headliners. For a real wildcard, keep an eye on Oregon's Derek Sipe, who is playing well and has the advantage of the tournament being played at Eugene CC.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat

... Read
News & Tours

Conference call, April 20

 Conference_chart_420_2 The tricky part about predictions is that they can make you look foolish quickly. Case in point: there was no doubt in my mind that the Jackson State men were going to win the SWAC title earlier this week. After all, they had claimed top honors in the conference the past 19 years. So it is, then, that we have to give loads of credit to Texas Southern, which overcame a nine-stroke deficit in the final round Tuesday, shot a tournament best 293 and knocked off Jackson State by 12 shots. Kudos to coach Hank Stewart and the two top performers, Jacob Sriven and Devon Robinson, who each claimed a share of medalist honors.

That said, here is a look at this weekend's conference tilts, with an educated guess at what we might see happen:

WOMEN
Mountain West
Field:
BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Wyoming

2006 champions: UNLV, by five strokes over New Mexico; Da Sol Chung, UNLV (playoff victory)*

Skinny: The Rebels are looking for a fourth straight title but seem vulnerable, having failed to win in 2006-07 and posting just three top-five finishes in nine starts. Adding to their woes is that Chung, hampered by an injured right shoulder, is not in the lineup for a third straight event. New Mexico is the favorite to end the streak, with BYU not far behind and TCU being a dark horse.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Colonial Athletic

Field:
Dayton, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Richmond, Towson, UNC-Wilmington, William & Mary, Xavier

2006 champions: Georgia State, by 22 strokes over UNC-Wilmington; Lisbeth Meincke, Georgia State

Skinny: This appears to be the year UNC-Wilmington claims its first CAA crown after finishing runner-up in the two seasons since moving from the Big South Conference. 


Ivy

Field:
Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale

2006 champions: Yale, by five strokes over Harvard; Emily Balmert, Harvard*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: Bad weather forced last year's tournament to be shortened to 27 holes. Balmert's victory was the first by a player from a school other than Princeton or Yale since the tournament's inception in 1997. Princeton started the season with two straight wins, is coming off a victory at the Hoya Invitational earlier this month and is the choice to go on to its fifth Ivy title. Watch for Bulldog senior Cindy Shin on the individual side; she was medalist in 2005 and runner-up a year ago. 

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


SEC

Field:
Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

2006 champions: Auburn, by one stroke over Tennessee; Maria Martinez, Auburn

Skinny: This could be the most entertaining conference championship of the entire post-season, with four teams ranked in the top 10 in the most recent Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll competing (Georgia, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Florida) and seven in the top 25 (Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama). The Tigers are going for a third straight victory and have had a solid spring, although the Gators are the squad coming in with perhaps the most momentum. Individually, five of the top 25 on the Golfstat ranking are in the field (Florida's Sandra Gal, Vanderbilt's Jacqui Concolino, Georgia's Taylor Leon, Arkansas' Stacy Lewis and Alabama's Jenny Suh). Any of the five could win on any given week. Our picks? Auburn and Concolino.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


MEN

ACC
Field:
Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

2006 champions: Georgia Tech, North Carolina (tie); Cameron Tringale, Georgia Tech*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: The tournament returns to the Old North State Club for the 11th time in 12 years and is pretty wide open, with Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest the more realistic bets to take the title. The final round, meanwhile, will be broadcast on the Internet (click here to get to the link.) Sadly the event also will have a somber tone to it as Virginia Tech arrives in the wake of the tragic shooting on campus this Monday and Duke comes to the tournament less than a month after the death of its coach, Rod Myers.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


Colonial

Field:
Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Towson, UNC-Wilmington, VCU, William & Mary

2006 champions: Georgia State, by 22 strokes over VCU; Mark Haastrup, Georgia State*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: Georgia State remains the head of the class in the CAA, ranking in the top 25 of the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll all season. The Panthers are going for their third straight conference title and second CAA since joining a year ago. Expect a Panther to claim medalist honors too, either Haastrup or Joel Sjoholm being the likely candidates


Ivy

Field:
Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale

2006 champions: Princeton, by one stroke over Columbia; Larry Haertel, Brown*
* competing in 2007

Skinny: Princeton is eyeing its fourth straight league title and 20th since the tournament began in 1975. Haertel has a good shot at becoming the first player to repeat individually since Princeton's Steve Dana in 1993-94; he just came off winning the New England Championship, becoming the first golfer from Brown to claim that title since the event was first played in 1934.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat


SEC

Field:
Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

2006 champions: Georgia, by one stroke over Florida; Brett Stegmaier, Florida

Skinny: Like the women's side, the SEC is arguably the deepest conference in the country, with three different schools holding the top spot in the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll during the 2006-07 season (Alabama, Florida and current No. 1 Georgia). The Bulldogs, however, have too much momentum (three wins in their last four starts) on their side to be stopped at Sea Island. Florida sophomore Billy Horschel is my guess as the spoiler that keeps Georgia from claiming the team and individual titles.

For live scoring, link here to Golfstat

... Read
News & Tours

Campus review, April 19

THE FAB FIVE
My look at the top five teams in the country right now

MEN
Georgia_small_logo 1. Georgia
—Competing against a tough field this weekend at Sea Island will keep the Bulldogs on their toes. Keep an eye on freshman Hudson Swafford, who has two top-fives this spring and has a bead on the SEC freshman-of-the-year award. Next event: SEC Championship, Sea Island GC, Sea Island, Ga., April 20-22

Stanford_small_logo 2. Stanford —A win is a win, even if it’s from a tiebreaker, so credit the Cardinal for their sixth victory of the 2006-07 this past weekend at the U.S. Intercollegiate. Coach Conrad Ray can’t be disappointed to see Daniel Lim card his first top-five finish of the season last weekend in Palo Alto. Next event: Pac-10 Championship, Eugene CC, Eugene, Ore., April 23-25

Ucla_logo 3. UCLA—Unique format of the conference tournament (play six, count five; 72 holes) benefits the Bruins, who have plenty of depth. Junior Kevin Chappell, meanwhile, is on a nice roll, with his worst finish in his last four starts being a T-9. Next event: Pac-10 Championship, Eugene CC, Eugene, Ore., April 23-25

Alabama_small_logo 4. Alabama —The Crimson Tide have experience on their side heading to Sea Island this weekend as four of the five starters have played in previous conference championships there, Matthew Swan finishing T-3 at the 2006 SEC. As if they need any extra incentive, a win will give Alabama five team victories on the year, breaking the school’s single season record set by a Jerry Pate-led squad in 1972. Next event: SEC Championship, Sea Island GC, Sea Island, Ga., April 20-22

Lamar_logogif 5. Lamar—The Cardinals benefit from USC’s dismal showing at the U.S. Intercollegiate (12th place), plus Oklahoma State’s inconsistency, plus Florida’s spring slide. More importantly, they’re also a very talented squad who made their win yesterday at the Southland Conference Championship their sixth of the season and fourth in the last five starts. All five starters are back from last year’s squad that finished T-9 at nationals. Don’t sleep on Lamar. Next event: NCAA Regional, Site TBD, May 17-19

WOMEN
Arizona_state_small_logo_3 1. Arizona State —Don’t read much into Sun Devils’ third-place finish in a tri-match this past weekend with UCLA and Southern California, where teams played under a modified Stableford scoring format. Sun Devils will be ready to claim a fourth straight tournament title next week. Next event: Pac-10 Championship, Broadmoor GC, Seattle, April 23-25

Duke_small_logo 2. Duke —The Blue Devils got the job done under tough weather conditions in Charlotte last weekend, winning their 12th straight ACC title by 35 strokes. Three-peat at nationals remains a very realistic outcome. Next event: NCAA Regionals, Site TBD, May 10-12

Auburn_small_logo 3. Auburn —The Tigers are eyeing their seventh SEC title in school history, and if it gets tight down the stretch in Mississippi, Auburn is your pick. The school owns all four of the SEC Championship’s closest victories. Next event: SEC Championship, Old Waverly GC, West Point, Miss., April 20-22

Georgia_small_logo_2 4. Georgia—For as solid a team as the Bulldogs have been of late, the Bulldogs haven’t won a conference title since 2001. Georgia has the talent to change that this weekend. The question is whether they have the hunger. Next event: SEC Championship, Old Waverly GC, West Point, Miss., April 20-22

Vanderbilt_small_logo 5. Vanderbilt—For a team that didn’t make it to nationals a year ago, the Commodores have themselves in great position as the post-season beckons, having posted seven top-fives in nine starts. Next event: SEC Championship, Old Waverly GC, West Point, Miss., April 20-22


GOLF WORLD PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
MEN
Charlie Beljan
, New Mexico
Charlie_beljan The 22-year-old senior tied a career-low with an opening-round 66 at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, then followed it with a 67-68 for a 15-under 201 and a three-shot victory over Oregon’s Derek Sipe. It was Beljan’s third win of the season. “When he is playing his game, hitting greens and getting the putter going, he is tough to beat,” said Lobo coach Glen Milligan. “He didn’t make a lot of mistakes this weekend and that’s why you saw him post three scores under par.”

WOMEN
Alejandra Shaw
, Campbell
Alejandra_shaw It wasn’t just that the 22-year-old senior from Chile repeated as medalist at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship last week, or helped the Camels win the team title for the eighth time in 12 years. Shaw’s 14-shot win tied the conference record for largest margin of victory (Moira Dunn, Florida International, 1993), and her four-under 212 performance broke the previous tournament record by two strokes.



STAT OF THE WEEK
2

Difference in the number of strokes taken this season by Stanford’s Rob Grube, Zack Miller and Joseph Bramlett. Grube’s victory at the U.S. Intercollegiate left him at 2,147 strokes in 30 rounds (71.57 average). Miller’s 218 and Bramlett’s 211 left the two tied with 2,149 strokes in 30 rounds (71.63 average).


WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• The Oregon men had never finished in the top three in the 35-year history of the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, much less won the thing, making last weekend's three-shot victory over the host Sun Devils at the ASU Karsten Course in Tempe all the more impressive. The Ducks staked themselves to a five-stroke lead after the second round, then posted an even-par 288 on Sunday (and 20-under 844 total) to claim their second title of the season under first-year coach Casey Martin. Leading the way was junior Derek Sipe, who went 43 holes without a bogey during one stretch en route to a second-place finish, his fourth top-10 of the season. By tournament's end, Oregon had defeated Pac-10 foes Arizona State, USC and Arizona. Call it a lucky weekend if you like, but considering that the Ducks hosts the conference championship next week at Eugene CC, you have to wonder if there might be a darkhorse here—one that quacks—that might just give Stanford, UCLA and the other West Coast favorites a run for their money.

• As the conference championships come at us fast and furious the next few weeks, player-of-the-year honors are going to be awarded. I don't have a magic eight-ball, but trying to imagine what might take place in the league tournaments, here are my best guesses as to who will get such recognition in some of the bigger conferences:

SEC
MEN: Billy Horschel, Florida
    I just think the sophomore will have a big weekend at Sea Island and narrowly beat out Georgia senior Chris Kirk.
WOMEN: Jacqui Concolino, Vanderbilt
    Again, just a feeling, but I think she'll push past Florida's Sandra Gal, Georgia's Taylor Leon  and Arkansas' Stacy Lewis.

ACC
MEN: Webb Simpson, Wake Forest
    Got his first college victory last week and I see him making it two-for-two with an ACC title at the Old North State Club.

Big 12
MEN: Gary Woodland
, Kansas
    With Oklahoma State's Pablo Martin and Jonathan Moore missing more than a few tournaments during the season, Woodland's three wins, six top-fives and eight top-10s deserve recognition.

Big Ten
MEN: Matt Harmon,
Michigan State   
   Recent victory at the Kepler gives him four top-five finishes on the season.
WOMEN: Maria Hernandez, Purdue
    Hard to argue against her recent stretch of play where she has two victories and a runner-up finish where she lost a playoff.

Pac-10
MEN: Jamie Lovemark
, USC
   He's going to have to earn it at Eugene, as Stanford's Rob Grube and Zack Miller, plus Arizona State's Niklas Lemke all can make claims as well.
WOMEN: Anna Nordqvist, Arizona State
   But she's going to have to beat out teammate Jennifer Osborn up in Seattle if she wants it. Oh, and Arizona's Alison Walshe too.

• The second signing period for next fall's incoming freshmen class is underway and there are no major bombshells. Among the potential diamonds in the rough might be a pick-up made by the Georgia women, who signed Scottish native Krystle Caithness. The 18-year-old was an alternate on the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team a year ago, played in last fall's Women's World Amateur Team Championship and has won the Scottish under-21 title once and the under-18 title twice.

 

TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH
MEN
The Fossum Invitational by Red Cedar Lodge

    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
April 21-22
Forest Akers GC, East Lansing, Mich. (Par 72, 7,013 yards)
Field:
Ball State, Charlotte, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rice, Toledo, Wisconsin, Xavier
Defending champion:
Indiana (six-over 870); Charlie Soule, Denver (nine-under 207)
Skinny:
The tournament celebrates its 40th anniversary and its tournament namesake, legendary Spartan coach Bruce Fossum will be the lead speaker at the event's welcome dinner. Seven Big Ten schools are in the field, giving it the feeling of a conference championship preview as the programs will meet again Ohio State's Scarlet Course April 27-29.

Ping Golf Cougar Classic
April 20-21
Riverside CC, Provo, Utah
Host: BYU


WOMEN
Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational

   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
April 21-22
Ohio State’s Scarlet Course, Columbus, Ohio
Field:
Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Toledo, Western Michigan, Wisconsin
Defending champion:
Auburn (15-under 849); Maria Martinez, Auburn (nine-under 207)
Skinny:
Like with the men's event in East Lansing, this tournament will take on the feel of a Big Ten conference preview with nine of the 11 schools competing.

• Conference championships are under way … look for separate previews and reviews on Campus Insider in the coming days.

... Read
News & Tours

Management council approves new schedule measure

It already has been a busy week in college golf, and the marquee-conference championships haven’t even been played. The action I’ve been following has been taking place in Indianapolis as the NCAA Management Councils for all three Divisions met and, among other things, reviewed legislative proposals that had been forwarded for comment at the NCAA annual meeting in January.

Ncaa_logo Long story short, a couple of things have happened that will impact college golf. First, the Division I proposal to alter legislation on the number of dates of competition, allowing teams to play nine three-day tournaments as an alternative to the current 24 dates of competition was approved on Monday. The tally was relatively lopsided, 34½ votes in favor of the measure, 12½ votes against it, with two council members absent. This result came despite the number of official comments the council received about the proposal between January and March running 30 to 7 against the measure.

Thus—pending final approval by the NCAA Board of Directors later this month—bylaw 17.12.5.1 will  stipulate that in men’s and women’s golf, a member institution shall limit its total playing schedule with outside competition to “nine three-day tournaments (with a maximum of 54 holes per tournament) or 24 dates of competition.”

The “or” is important here, and has been the source of much debate. As we heard at the Golf Coaches' Association of America convention in January, programs that favor the measure (primary schools in warmer climates) believe it provides flexibility because schools can choose which way they’d like to set up their playing season. Programs against the measure (primarily northern schools) say the flexibility will ultimately become a de facto restriction, as many tournaments will move away from the two-day tournament (36 holes on day 1, 18 on day 2). Trying to schedule events against better schools from the SEC or ACC (the two sponsors of the proposal) then becomes difficult as most will be only playing three-day events but weather will require northern schools schedule some two-day events.

Ultimately, I’m in favor of the legislation as I see it easing the burden on many players that the current competition schedule creates. Players will have less travel (they'll be attending fewer tournaments) and shorter days while on the road.

The second item of interest is that the D-I management council voted to eliminate the use of text messaging in recruiting prospective student-athletes. There were stories coming out of various sports that coaches were bombarding high schoolers with text messages daily, including as a means to prod prospects to initiate telephone calls that would have been impermissible if initiated by the coach.

As with the dates of competition measure, the text messaging proposal must receive final approval from the NCAA Board of Directors.

I'll follow with updates when the Board of Directors votes.

... Read
News & Tours

Va. Tech golfers OK after shooting

Just exchanged e-mails with Virginia Tech men's coach Jay Hartwick, who said all his players are accounted for in the wake of today's tragic shootings on the school's campus in Blacksburg, Va. He noted that while the incident occurred near the school's golf course, he and assistant coach Brian Sharp were holding academic meetings with the players from 8 to 9:45 a.m., "so they all had been with us."

Over the weekend, the Hokies finished 11th at the Courtyard by Marriott Intercollegiate in Holly Springs, N.C., posting a 21-over 885, 33 strokes back of the winner, Charlotte. The team's next start is this weekend's ACC Championship.

... Read
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