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The Syllabus: Are the Auburn men for real?

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

Men
Auburn logo.gif1. Auburn (Last week: 1)
Sticking with the Tigers in the top spot despite a lot of smart coaches suggesting to me otherwise. Yes they did finish second to my No. 2 school, but they had a nice win before that and I like their overall depth. I can see the fall getting even better for Nick Clinard's boys as they attempt to defend their title at the Jerry Pate this week.
Next event: Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, Old Overton Club, Vestavia Hills, Ala., Oct. 3-4

Stanford logo 2008-09.gif2. Stanford (2)
Great win for the Cardinal at Olympia Fields, but with classes underway at Stanford, the distractions begin. This group is too talented to let a little thing like school-work bog it down, but the Prestige will be nice test to see how they balance everything. Says here they'll do fine.
Next event: The Prestige at PGA West, PGA West, LaQuinta, Calif., Oct. 9-10

Arkansas.gif3. Arkansas (5)
The Razorbacks made it two-for-two with their seven-stroke victory over Chattanooga at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, the first time in school history that the team has opened with consecutive wins. Fifth-man Josh Eure has best tournament of his career with second-place finish.
Next event: The Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio, Oct. 10-11

UCLA logo 2008-09.gif4. UCLA (3)
A few more weeks to wait and see if the Bruins are as good as many think. Will see their depth put to the test early with Patrick Cantlay out of the lineup playing at the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open at CordeValle.
Fall opener: The Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio, Oct. 10-11

Oregon logo.gif5. Oregon (NR)
The Ducks would love to erase the memory of a disappointing 2010-11 season and began that process with a 13-stroke victory at the St. Mary's Invitational. If Eugene Wong returns to the form that won him the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year award in 2010 and Daniel Miernicki continues his steady development, there's reason to believe this group can return to national prominence.
Next event: The Prestige at PGA West, PGA West, LaQuinta, Calif., Oct. 9-10


Women

UCLA logo 2008-09.gif1. UCLA (1)
Bruins past first test with flying colors, winning the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview by six strokes without arguably their best player (Stephanie Kono) and the WAPL champ (Brianna Do). It was the 41st victory for UCLA under head coach Carrie Forsyth. Say over/under on her number at season's end is 46 ... which side are you taking? 
Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Stanford Calif., Oct. 14-16

Alabama logo.gif2. Alabama (4)
Hung tough with UCLA in finishing second at Mason Rudolph. Good rebound performance after suspect opener. Best news of all was that Jennifer Kirby was back in contention, finishing second after losing a playoff to Duke's Lindy Duncan, likely helping boost her confidence. Need the same from Stephanie Meadow, however, in order to be able to take down the Bruins.
Next event: Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley Course, Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 7-9

Arizona State spear logo.jpg3. Arizona State (NR)
Interesting start in Tempe so far in 2011-12. The Sun Devils were off the radar for many given the young group trying to over come the loss of their most consistent player, Carlota Ciganda. Yet a second-place showing at the Dale McNamara and a T-3 at the Mason Rudolph, with top-10s in both from Justine Lee, suggests that perhaps we need to be paying a little more attention to the folks in the desert.
Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Stanford Calif., Oct. 14-16

North Carolina logo 2008-09.gif4. North Carolina (5)
Followed up their second-place showing at the Cougar Classic with a T-5 at the Mason Rudolph. Strength of the two fields gives me ability to keep them in the top five. Being the home team at the Tar Heels' next start will be pretty interesting. How will they handle the situation where they should be the favorites? Going to give a little more insight into this team's makeup.
Next event: Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley Course, Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 7-9

LSU logo.gif5. LSU (3)
Not the performance Tigers fans were looking for at the Mason Rudolph, the team finishing 11th out of 18 teams after winning the Cougar Classic to open the season. Consistency remains LSU's biggest bugaboo as the squad tries to establish itself among the nation's elite.
Next event: Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley Course, Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 7-9


STAT OF THE WEEK

Chris Williams winning Kikkor Invite.jpeg4
Career wins for Washington's Chris Williams, tying the UW school record previously set by Brock Mackenzie and Nick Taylor, after the junior from Moscow, Idaho, won the title at the weather-shortened Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational.

Williams' three-under 69 at Gold Mountain GC in Bremerton, Wash., was two strokes better than three other golfers, giving him the victory in the event that was cut to just 18 holes (and the field shrunk to only six teams from its original 16) after an inch and a half of rain fell Sept. 26 when schools were supposed to play 36 holes. Williams shot the 69 despite making a triple bogey on one hole, Husky coach Matt Thurmond (with Williams in photo right) joking that he spotted the field three strokes. Washington won the team title by six strokes over Fresno State and Washington State 



TWEET OF THE WEEK
Tweet of week 2 9-29.jpg
—USC assistant coach Josh Brewer


RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I've gotten gold status with Delta and Marriott and there's still three months left in 2011?


WHAT TO WATCH FOR
* Can the Illinois men continue their habit in recent years of getting off to quick starts in the fall? Coach Mike Small's crew has won at least one tournament during the first semester every year since 2007, but is running out of chances of making it five straight years after finishing T-6 at the Northern Intercollegiate and T-8 at Olympia Fields. Arguably the Fighting Illini's best chance to keep the streak going is when they play at this week's D.A. Weibring Invitational, a tournament where they are the top ranked team in the field and have won the title three times since 2007. If they don't get it done this week, they have one more shot at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational in October. 

* If tournament organizers at this weekend's Rod Myers Invitational had a sense of humor, they would have paired the North Carolina and Michigan teams during the opening round at Duke University GC. It would an interesting clash of worlds for Andrew Sapp, who left the Wolverine program this summer after a successful nine year run to take the job at his alma mater. Sapp's departure was understandable given his Tar Heel ties, so there's no bad blood between the schools, but it would be kind of fun to see the byplay between Sapp's old and new charges.

Fanny_Cnopps.JPG* UNC Greensboro's Fanny Cnops was certainly not one of the most talked about freshman in the country but her first two events with the Spartans have been memorable. In her college debut at the Cougar Classic the Belgium native (right) tied UNCG's 54-hole school record with a even-par 216, good for T-20. Then at last week's Great Smokies Intercollegiate she tied the school record for low 36-hole score (140), before eventually finishing in a tie for fourth in the event. With UNCG hosting the Starmount Classic, the 2011 German Ladies Amateur champion has a great chance at claiming her first title.


TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS
MEN
William H. Tucker Invitational

    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
U. of New Mexico Championship Course, Albuquerque
Sept. 30-Oct. 1
Host: New Mexico
Field: Air Force, Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Colorado, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico, New Mexico State, North Texas, Northern Colorado, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah, UTEP, UT-San Antonio, Wyoming
Defending champion: San Diego State (+10/874) by one stroke over North Texas; Pepperdine's Andrew Putnam, North Texas' Carlos Ortiz and New Mexico State's Joon Heui Lee (-4/212) tri-medalists
Skinny: It's the 57th playing of the event, one of the historic tournaments in college golf.

Rod Myers Invitational
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Duke University GC, Durham, N.C.
Oct. 1-2
Host: Duke
Field: Baylor, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Duke, East Tennessee State, Georgia Southern, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Tulsa
Defending champion: Iowa (-13/851) by five strokes over N.C. State; N.C. State's Albin Choi (-5/211) by one stroke over three others
Skinny: Second year that Duke's home tournament has been named in honor of its long-time coach, Rod Myers.

D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Weibring GC at Illinois State, Normal, Ill.
Oct. 1-2
Host: Illinois State
Field: Akron, Arkansas State, Bradley, Detroit Mercy, Illinois, Illinois State, Missouri State, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, West Florida, Western Illinois, Wisconsin
Defending champion: Illinois (+23/875) by 28 over Iowa State; Illinois' Chris DeForest (+3/216) by two strokes over Illinois' Scott Langley and Thomas Pieters
Skinny: Rest of the field must beware of Illinois. The Fighting Illini have posted four of their top 10 18-hole rounds in school history at this event.

Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Old Overton GC, Vestavia Hills, Ala.
Oct. 3-4
Host: Alabama
Field: UAB, Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Clemson, Louisville, Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee State, Texas, Samford, SMU, UNLV
Defending champion: Auburn (-11/829) by seven  strokes over Florida; Auburn's Niclas Carlsson (-8/202) by two strokes over Alabama's Bobby Wyatt
Skinny: Great list of past winners, which includes David Toms (LSU, 1988), Tiger Woods (Stanford, 1994), Hunter Mahan (co-champ, Oklahoma State, 2001), Bill Haas, (Wake Forest, 2003), Kelly Kraft (SMU, 2008)

Wolfpack Intercollegiate
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Lonnie Poole GC, Raleigh, N.C.
Oct. 3-4
Host: N.C. State
Field: Boston College, Campbell, Davidson, East Carolina, Elon, James Madison, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Minnesota, N.C. State, Penn State, Richmond, Seton Hall, Texas State, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina
Defending champion: N.C. State (-8/844) by four strokes over Duke; N.C. State's Albin Choi (-6/207) by one stroke over Wake Forest's Lee Bedford
Skinny: Tourney has settled into fall time slot with permanent home at N.C. State's new on-campus course

Rees Jones Intercollegiate
Haig Point, Daufuskie Island, S.C.
Oct. 3-4
Host: South Carolina
Field: Charleston Southern, Chattanooga, Georgia State, Iowa State, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Michigan State, South Carolina, South Florida, UNC Wilmington, Wake Forest, Winthrop
Defending champion: Kennesaw State and Liberty (+38/902), Kennesaw State wins playoff; Kennesaw State's Matt Nagy (E/216) by four strokes over Wofford's Chandler Brazeal and Liberty's Robert Karlsson
Skinny: Fourth year that the tournament is being held with South Carolina having claimed the title the first two times

Jim Colbert Intercolleigate
Colbert Hills GC, Manhattan, Kan.
Oct. 3-4
Host: Kansas State
Field: Boise State, Creighton, Drake, Idaho, Kansas State, North Dakota, Northern Colorado, South Dakota
Defending champion: Central Arkansas (+25/889) by nine strokes over Kansas State; Central Arkansas' Gideon Pienaar (-5/211) by three strokes over Kansas State's Jack Watson
Skinny: Tournament is held on one of the top campus courses in the country.

Louisiana Tech Squire Creek Invitational
Squire Creek, Choudrant, La.
Oct. 3-4
Host: Louisiana Tech
Field: Central Arkansas, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Rice, Sam Houston State, Southern Mississippi, Stephen F. Austin, Troy, UMKC
Defending champion: Louisiana Tech (+10/874) by one stroke over S.E. Louisiana; S.E. Louisiana's Horacio Leon (-8/208) by seven strokes over LSU's Ken Looper and Rice's Michael Whitehead
Skinny: Bad news for the host Bulldogs? No school has ever repeated as the team champions in the previous seven years the event has been held.



WOMEN
Nittany Lion Women's Invitational

    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Penn State Blue Course, State College, Pa.
Sept. 30-Oct. 2
Host: Penn State
Field: Bucknell, Cincinnati, College of Charleston, Columbia, Eastern Michigan, Georgetown, Harvard, Lehigh, Longwood, Memphis, Monmouth, Penn State, South Florida, Western Michigan, William & Mary, Yale
Defending champion: Penn State (+37/901) by nine strokes over Western Michigan; Rollins' Fabia Rothenfluh (+2/218) by one stroke over Penn State's Emily Ransone
Skinny: If you're going to pick a favorite for the individual title, you need to go with PSU's Emily Ransone. Not only was she the runner-up last year but she won medalist honors in 2009 as a freshman.

Bettie Lou Evans Fall Invitational
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
University Club of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.
Sept. 30-Oct. 2
Host: Kentucky
Field: Akron, Augusta State, Chattanooga, Florida Southern, Illinois, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Murray State, Toledo
Skinny: Tournament resumes after one-year hiatus.

UNCG Starmount Fall Classic
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Starmount Forest GC, Greensboro, N.C.
Oct. 2-4
Host: UNC Greensboro
Field: Campbell, Charleston Southern, Elon, Furman, Gardner-Webb, Georgia State, High Point, James Madison, Maryland, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina, Winthrop, Wofford
Defending champion: East Carolina and N.C. State (+19/595), East Carolina wins tiebreaker for team title; Stetson's Alex Buelow and N.C. State's Brittany Marchand (-3/141) co-medalists
Skinny: Host Spartans are coming off setting school record (+1/289) in the final round of the Great Smokies Intercollegiate to grab third-place tie.

Johnie Imes Invitational
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
The Club at Old Hawthorne, Columbia, Mo.
Oct. 3-4
Host: Missouri
Field: Arkansas-Little Rock, Bradley, Colorado State, Illinois State, Florida International, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, UMKC, Missouri State, Morehead State, Princeton, SMU, Texas State, Wichita State
Defending champion: Oklahoma State (-1/863) by 15 strokes over Colorado and Oklahoma; Oklahoma State's Courtney McKim and Victoria Park (-4/212) co-medalists
Skinny: Missouri is raising money for breast cancer research and awareness in conjunction with sponsors donating money for each birdie made by the team and individual Tiger players

Windy City Collegiate Championship
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Glen View Club, Golf, Ill.
Oct. 3-4
Host: Northwestern
Field: Arizona, Iowa State, Kent State, New Mexico, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UC Davis, UNC Wilmington, Wake Forest
Defending champion: Purdue (+24/876) by seven strokes over Iowa State; Purdue's Numa Gulyanamitta (+2/215) by two strokes over TCU's Brooke Beeler and Iowa State's Prima Thammaraks
Skinny: Nice mix of schools from around the country.

Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational
    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Sahalee CC, Sammamish, Wash.
Oct. 3-5
Host: Washington
Field: BYU, California, Colorado, Gonzaga, Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, San Jose State, UNLV, Washington, Washington State
Defending champion: California (-17) by two strokes over USC; California's Emily Childs (-10/206) by three strokes over USC's Lizette Salas
Skinny: California could become the third team to three-peat in the tournament's 30-year history, joining USC (1984-86) and Arizona (1987-89)


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