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The Syllabus: Patrick Cantlay fever!

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

Men
Stanford logo 2008-09.gif1. Stanford (Last week: 2)
OK, I've been swayed by those who thought I was crazy not to have the Cardinal as Numero Uno last week. Sixteen-stroke win. At Olympia Fields. With three golfers finishing among the top four individually. Yep all suggest that this year's team has some talent. Now, lets see them show it again in the Southern California desert.
Next event: The Prestige at PGA West, PGA West, LaQuinta, Calif., Oct. 9-10

Texas logo.jpeg2. Texas (NR)
Is this the year the Longhorns truly step up and make themselves a national presence throughout the season? The squad gave you an indication it just might be the case with its 20-stroke victory at the Jerry Pate. And that was with Jordan Spieth struggling in final round of his debut (but still recording a T-6 finish). Love the balance in the lineup we saw at Old Overton. Now it's a matter of whether they can repeat it.
Next event: The Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio, Oct. 10-11

UCLA logo 2008-09.gif3. UCLA (4)
If Coach Derek Freeman were bemoaning the fact Patrick Cantlay won't be in the lineup for the season opener (and Freeman is not), I don't think he'd get a lot of sympathy from his coaching colleagues. The lineup the Bruins will bring to Ohio is going to be just fine and the experience of playing without Cantlay and having to rely on others to carry the team might be a blessing in the long run.
Fall opener: The Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio, Oct. 10-11

Arkansas.gif4. Arkansas (3)
Busy week coming up for the Razorbacks, with a challenging test in Ohio followed by a visit to the Chicago area to play in the Windon Memorial. It's a great chance to see if the wins at the Gopher Invitational and the Golfweek Conference Challenge have boosted the group's confidence as it faces one stout and one strong field in back-to-back starts.
Next event: The Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio, Oct. 10-11

Auburn logo.gif5. Auburn (1)
A little bit of a let down for the Tigers in finishing fourth at the Jerry Pate considering their first two starts of the year and the fact they were the defending champions. One bad round from four of the five starters did them in. Still, you have to like the direction this team is headed in.
Next event: U.S. Collegiate, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga., Oct. 23-25


Women

UCLA logo 2008-09.gif1. UCLA (1)
Curious to see how the rest of the fall plays out for the Bruins. Staying focused this time of year can be a challenge sometimes. The team obviously has the talent to win every event they play, but whether they have the mental make-up to do it will be the true key. Should be fun to watch. 
Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Stanford Calif., Oct. 14-16

Alabama logo.gif2. Alabama (4)
Only once before in the history of the Crimson Tide women's program has a team won the same tournament in back-to-back seasons (Lady Puerto Rico Classic in 2010 and 2011). They have a good shot of doing it again this weekend in North Carolina. And if Brooke Pancake can win medalist honors again, she'll be UA's first individually to successful defending a title.
Next event: Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley Course, Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 7-9

Oklahoma State logo.jpg3. Oklahoma State (NR)
Not sure anyone would have predicted the Cowgirls winning the first two events of the fall, given the massive turnover with their roster (including a new head coach in Alan Bratton). Still, OSU's victory at the Windy City Classic (with transfer Kelsey Vines sharing medalist honors) suggests that the come-from-behind win at the Dale McNamara might not have been a fluke.
Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Stanford Calif., Oct. 14-16

Arizona State spear logo.jpg4. Arizona State (3)
Senior Giulia Molinaro, with her 71.5 stroke average, has stepped up impressively as the veteran on a team that's still only really been together less than 10 months. Her opening-round 67 at the Dale McNamara, en route to the individual title, was a career best and one of just six times she has posted a sub-70 number in 89 rounds with the Sun Devils. 
Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Stanford Calif., Oct. 14-16

North Carolina logo 2008-09.gif5. North Carolina (4)
The Tar Heels having claimed a victory yet, but their scoring stats remain impressive nonetheless. First in the country in par-4 scoring (4.1), second in par-3 (3.08), seventh in par-5 (4.94). Also first in the country in score versus par (+1.10) and average score (73.10). Meanwhile, team is hitting 87.6 percent of fairways as a group.
Next event: Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley Course, Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 7-9



STAT OF THE WEEK
Jay Myers.jpg1979
The last season in which the San Jose State men won three tournaments. With victories in their first three tournaments of the 2011-12 campaign—Palouse Collegiate, BSU Dash Thomas Memorial and the Wolf Pack Classic—the Spartans are off to the best start in school history. 

The most recent victory at the Wolf Pack included overcoming a 10-stroke deficit in the final round at Edgewood Tahoe GC in Stateline, Nev., with SJSU posting a two-under 286 to pass Nevada. Leading the charge was senior Jay Myers (right), who claimed medalist honors for his first college win.

"I'm very proud of these guys, they showed a lot of heart to comeback today," said San Jose State head coach John Kennaday. "It may not be the lowest score so far, but this is the best round of golf we've played this season."



TWEET OF THE WEEK
Tweet of the week 10-6.jpg—Ashley Edwards, Senior, Oregon State


RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Hope deer have good digestive systems. Went to petting zoo with my 2-year-old daughter this past week and while trying to feed one, the animal took the paper cup out of my hand and finished it in five bites.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Patrick Cantlay action.jpg* Interesting how the biggest story this week in college golf is actually coming out of a pro tournament. UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay's appearance at the Frys.com Open took on a new level of excitement when it was announced that he would be in the same pairing as Tiger Woods and Louis Oosthuizen during the first two rounds (either the Fall Finish threesomes aren't randomly picked by computers or this was one of the more amazing "coincidences" of the 21st century).

Despite the now much more hectic environment in which Cantlay will be playing in, that doesn't change my outlook for how he'll perform this week. All along I've felt this was going to be the place where Cantlay posts at least a top-20 finish yet again in a PGA Tour event, given his familiarity with the course (he won a college event there last fall) and the fact that he's had a time to catch his breath the last few weeks after a pretty hectic summer. As I mentioned on Twitter on Tuesday, I think he'll handle the Tiger circus just fine and put up some good numbers, even be near the leader board on the weekend.

To me, the most surprising part of Cantlay's appearance this week is the criticism that he's taking for missing UCLA's first college event of the fall. Personally, I don't think it's a sign of disloyalty at all. He's going to give great exposure to UCLA as Golf Channel focuses in on this marquee trio and he'll also be gaining more experience that will serve him well when he returns to the Bruins' lineup later in the season. If this were a critical college event in the spring, and missing it might hurting any momentum being built toward the post-season, I might think differently. To miss a college event in October, however, isn't that big a deal.


* When UCLA returns to CordeValle to host the 2011 Gifford Collegiate Oct. 31-Nov. 2, the Bruins, the team is asking all other participating schools to wear pink shirts during the first round to help support breast cancer awareness. Teams are also donating items that will be auctioned off to raise money for the Silicon Valley American Cancer Society. 


* At the 2010 Tar Heel Invitational, participants at the UNC Finley GC posted some scary low numbers. Alabama broke the 54-hole scoring mark (with a 28-under 836) by 14 strokes. Four rounds of 10-under 278 or better were posted by schools, accounting for the four lowest scores shot in the 36-year-old event's history. (All told 10 of the top 21 best single-round team scores ever shot in the event came last year.)

According to UNC women's coach Jan Mann, the course was set up any differently from previous years, nor will it be any different this coming weekend when 12 of the top 25 schools in the most recent Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll come to town. "I just think the players are getting so much better, and it's reflected in the scoring," Mann said.

Mann expects the course to play in the 6,400-yard range, and that the greens will be receptive. She isn't ready to say we'll see a repeat of a year ago, but she doesn't necessarily believe the results were anything to be concerned about. "Low scores aren't a bad thing," Mann said.


* No one said the 2011-12 season was going to be easy for the Purdue women, particularly after losing three standouts (Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, Numa Gulyanamitta and Thea Hoffmeister) from a lineup that won the 2010 NCAA title and finished second in 2011. Still, the Boilermakers' first two starts this fall have been less than inspiring: a last-place showing in the 18-team field Mason Rudolph Fall Preview and a T-12 at this past week's Windy City Collegiate.

Perhaps we should have seen this coming when the school sent out a notice in late August looking for walk-ons to try out for the team. While All-American Laura Gonzalez-Escallon had a nice T-11 finish at the Windy City, the back end of the lineup is inexperienced and it's shown. It's the downside for coach Devon Brouse of having had a lineup that was essentially written in pen for the past two seasons. Brouse is too good a coach to have this become the new norm in West Lafayette, but this winter is going to be a little bit colder than most anyone likely anticipated.   



TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS
MEN
Brickyard Collegiate Championship
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
The Brickyard at Riverside, Macon, Ga.
Oct. 7-9
Host: Mercer
Defending champion: Georgia (-7/857) by one stroke over Augusta State; Georgia's Russell Henley (-10/206) by four strokes over Augusta State's Carter Newman
Field: Air Force, Augusta State, Chattanooga, Colorado State, College of Charleston, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, Mercer, Mississippi, North Florida, Oklahoma, UT-Arlington, Virginia Tech
Skinny: UGa has claimed the title three times in the tournament's four-year history.

The Prestige at PGA West
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Greg Norman Course at PGA West, La Quinta, Calif.
Oct. 9-11
Host: UC Davis/Stanford
Defending champion: California (E/864) by three strokes over Stanford and Washington; Stanford's Andrew Yun (-12/204) by six strokes over Arizona State's Thomas Buran
Field: Arizona State, Duke, Long Beach State, Northwestern, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Diego, San Diego State, San Francisco, Stanford, UC Davis, UCF, USC, Washington, Vanderbilt
Skinny: Stanford's Yun trying to become the first repeat champion in the tournament's 11-year history.

The Firestone Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Firestone CC (North Course), Akron, Ohio
Oct. 10-11
Host: Akron
Defending champion: Indiana (-15/849) by one stroke over Notre Dame; Indiana's David Erdy and Maryland's John Popeck (-9/207) co-medalists
Field: Akron, Ball State, Davidson, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Maryland, Miami (Ohio), Nebraska, SMU, St. Mary's (Calif.), Toledo, South Alabama, USC-Aiken, Wisconsin
Skinny: Hoping for better weather than two weeks earlier when college event at Ohio's other venerable course, The Inverness Club, had to be shortened to 18 holes.

Jack Nicklaus Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio
Oct. 10-11
Host: Ohio State
Defending champion: Oklahoma State (+24/864) by six strokes over Illinois; Illinois' Luke Guthrie (-5/205) by three strokes over Oklahoma State's Peter Uihlein
Field: Arkansas, Illinois, Kent State, LSU, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, UCLA
Skinny: Year 2 of the event moves from one of Jack's more sentimental venues (Scioto CC) to the true love of his adult life (Muirfield Village)


WOMEN
Tar Heel Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Finley GC, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Oct. 7-9
Host: North Carolina
Defending champion: Alabama (-28/836) by 12 strokes over LSU; Alabama's Brooke Pancake (-11/205) in a playoff over LSU's Megan McChrystal
Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Chattanooga, Coastal Carolina, Duke, Georgia, LSU, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Tennessee, Tulane, Virginia, Wake Forest
Skinny: Duke's dominance of the rival's event (the Blue Devils won it nine straight years from 1997-2005 and 10 out of 11) is over, making it a much more wide open affair. Surprisingly, the home team hasn't won it since 1992, something that could change this week.

LPGA Xavier International
LPGA International (Legends course), Daytona Beach, Fla.
Oct. 7-9
Host: Xavier
Defending champion: Daytona State (+30/894) by 13 strokes over Montana; Daytona State's Mitsuki Katahira (-6/210) by eight strokes over Stetson's Alex Buelow
Field: Bethune-Cookman, Campbell, Daytona Beach, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville, Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State, Mercer, North Dakota State, Samford, South Dakota State, Stetson, Xavier
Skinny: Unlike a year ago, when the local junior college program stormed off with the title thanks to the standout performance of Katahira, a Division I team will win this time around. Which one, however, is anybody's guess.

Lady Northern Intercollegiate
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
The Donald Ross GC at French Lick Resort, French Lick, Ind.
Oct. 10-11
Host: Indiana
Defending champion (played at Lake Shore CC): Purdue (-6/858) by 17 strokes over Northwestern; Northwestern's Lauren Weaver (-8/208) by four strokes over Laura Gonzalez-Escallon
Field: Augusta State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, UCF, Wisconsin
Skinny: The nine Big Ten participants will get an early glimpse at the French Lick course that will host the conference championship in 2012 and 2013.

Lady Pirate Intercollegiate
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Greenville CC, Greenville, N.C.
Oct. 10-11
Host: East Carolina
Defending champion: Maryland (+24/876) by five strokes over East Carolina; Maryland's Christine Shimel (-1/212) by four strokes over Augusta State's Natalie Wille
Field: Bucknell, College of Charleston, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Elon, Furman, Georgia State, Georgetown, High Point, James Madison, Longwood, Maryland, Memphis, Old Dominion, Penn, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Western Carolina, William & Mary, Yale
Skinny: Only once has a player on the East Carolina roster claimed medalist honors: Adrienne Millican, 2001.

Price's Given Em Five Intercollegiate
New Mexico State GC, Las Cruces, N.M.
Oct. 10-12
Host: New Mexico State
Defending champion: New Mexico State (+2/866) by five strokes over Baylor; Baylor's Lene Hafsten-Morch (-7/209) by five strokes over New Mexico State's Demi Mak, Baylor's Jaclyn Jansen and UTEP's Shang Huang
Field: Baylor, Boise State, Central Arkansas, Colorado State, Cincinnati, Idaho, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, North Texas, SMU, Seattle, UC-Irvine, Utah Valley State, UTEP Hawai'i
Skinny: The Aggies have won the event three times and finished second twice
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