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The Syllabus: Major flavor

By Ryan Herrington

A year ago I pleaded how the powers that be in college golf needed to remedy one of the biggest blights in the sport: the overlap of the U.S. Collegiate Championship and the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational.

The good news? This year's two Super Bowls—10 of the top 25 teams in the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll are in the field at U.S. Collegiate while eight of the top 25 are competing in Isleworth—are not on the exact same days.

The could-be better news? The first day of the Isleworth event is the same day as the last round of the USCC, effectively causing them to again unnecessarily step on each other's toes.

Perhaps I need to get over it, and I will for the next few minutes to celebrate the two tournaments. Each affair is an extremely well-run event that treats its competitors like they are tour pros, complete with sky boxes, caddies, graft that puts Santa to shame.*

    * As an aside, I've found this year's Tweeting about the courtesy cars at the U.S. Collegiate particularly amusing/entertaining/amazing.

Additionally, both are played on a challenging courses that amplifies the accomplishment of winning the team and individual title. Those who emerge from this week's events will have earned any of the hardware they bring home.

Indeed, the two tournaments are all that's great about college golf and will be ones that I'm glued to via Golfstat this weekend. But wouldn't it be better for everybody if there was a little more separation between them?

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

Cal logo.gif1. California (Last week: 1)
Victory at the Alister Mackenzie last week made it four wins in a row to start the season. A fifth at Isleworth would be the most impressive of all, perhaps, but even if the streak ends in Florida it will be hard to consider the fall semester anything but golden in Berkeley.
Next event: Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla, Oct. 21-23

Texas logo.jpeg2. Texas (2)
With all the press that Cal has been getting of late, the Longhorns have been quietly waiting for this week where they could show that the national championship race isn't going to be merely a one-team affair. UT's good vibes from last year's romp at Isleworth will likely carry over as they face a stacked field.
Next event: Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla, Oct. 21-23

Washington 2012-13.jpeg3. Washington (3)
The Huskies are making their second trip to Georgia this fall and will get another chance to become familiar with the Atlanta area in hopes of being prepared for the NCAA Championship there next spring. Meanwhile, they'll be playing again the "three-headed monster" of Chris Williams, Cheng-Tsung Pan and Trevor Simsby, who collectively in eight starts this fall have posted two wins, four seconds and 1 third-place finish.
Next event: U.S. Collegiate Championship, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga., Oct. 19-21
 
Alabama logo.gif4. Alabama (5)
The Crimson Tide got a needed win, according to coach Jay Seawell, with their four-stroke come-from-behind triumph at the Jerry Pate. Meanwhile, Justin Thomas tied the school's all-time win record (5, with Steve Lowery) by claiming medalist honors. Only took the sophomore 15 starts to equal the mark that Lowrey set in 44. A good showing in Florida and the winter break will have a decidedly nicer feel than it seemed it would only two weeks ago. 
Next event: Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla, Oct. 21-23

Florida logo.gif5. Florida (4)
When you're upset with a second-place finish, you know you've got things moving in the right direction. The Jerry Pate title slipped away from the Gators in the final 18 holes but there is still lots of reason to believe good things in Gainesville these days.  
Next event: Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla, Oct. 21-23


Women
North Carolina logo 2008-09.gif1. North Carolina (4)
Jan Mann's crew backed up its impressive win at the Liz Murphey Fall Preview with a victory at the Tar Heel Invite, recording back-to-back Ws for the first time since 2004. Winning at Chapel Hill was expected, but the 13-stroke margin over runner-up Baylor and Ole Miss—and 15- and 23-shot advantages over Duke and Florida—suggest more than simply a home-course edge at work. 
Next event: Fall season complete

Arizona 2009-10.gif2. Arizona (1)
The Wildcats are sporting the same young lineup (three sophomores and two freshmen) in Palo Alto that they had when they claimed the team titles earlier this fall at the Mason Rudolph and Windy City. Laura Ianello's crew has shown the importance of "experience" might be a bit overblown ... curious to see if they prove it again this weekend.
Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 19-21

Alabama logo.gif3. Alabama (3)
Some might feel they haven't seen much out of the Crimson Tide this fall (literally and figuratively), but it was always going to be a quiet semester with just three tournaments on the schedule as players juggled busy summers and international team competitions. Maybe Mic Potter's team hasn't dominated its competition, but it also hasn't given anyone reason to believe Alabama can't defend its NCAA title next spring.
Next event: Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, U. of Texas GC, Austin, Oct. 28-30

Washington 2012-13.jpeg4. Washington (4)
No doubt we'll learn more about the upside down Pac-12 this weekend in Palo Alto as nine of the 12 conference schools are competing. But I think we'll see that the Huskies are more for real than many people want to give them credit. 
Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 19-21

Florida logo.gif5. Florida (2)
The Gators had their first true stumble of the season with their ninth-place finish at the Tar Heel. The good news is that senior Isabelle Lendl continued her roll, winning for a second time. The upcoming test in Austin will be a key to see if the early fall performances were just a hot start or whether this is a team that will be hanging around for the long haul.  
Next event: Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, U. of Texas GC, Austin, Oct. 28-30


STAT OF THE WEEK
59

Number of tournaments the Houston men have played since last winning a 54-hole event (the Kansas Invitational, Sept. 17-18, 2007) before claiming the team title earlier this week at the Lone Star Invitational. The Cougars were 12 back entering the final round at Hill Country Resort GC before rallying to defeat North Texas by four strokes. It was the program's first outright tournament victory since winning the rain-shortened, 36-hole HBU Husky Invitational on Oct. 27, 2009, in head coach Jonathan Dismuke's first season.


TWEET OF THE WEEK

Tweet of the week (10-18-2012).jpg—Oklahoma junior Chirapat Jao-Javanil after her team claimed the title at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic this week. Call me sappy, but I liked the shout out ...


RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
If you ever see me doing anything "Gangnam Style," you have my permission to club me with a 460cc driver.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Missouri team photo 2012-13.jpg* Four wins in four starts isn't just something the Cal men has pulled off thus far in 2012-13. With a victory at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate last weekend, Missouri has now gone four for four this fall with one more start left (next week at Royal Oaks) before the winter break. The Tigers' latest win might have been the most impressive given that senior Jace Long only finished T-8 (he had won medalist honors in the first three tournaments). It was assumed that Texas A&M's addition to the SEC this year was going to have the biggest impact in the race for the men's golf title, but Mark Leroux's squad is hinting that they'll be a factor too.

* Given the history of the Houston men's golf program—16 NCAA titles, even if the last came almost 30 years ago, remains impressive—it's surprising the school never started a women's team as the sport became a popular way to help address Title IX regulations in the 1980s and 1990s. Yet the announcement last week that the Cougars would have two female golfers playing in Division I competition starting in the 2013-14 season with a full team to begin competing in 2014-15 gives the school a chance to re-energize its golf profile as a whole. Men's coach Jonathan Dismuke gets a nice vote of confidence by being elevated to the now popular "director of golf" title and will be in charge of overseeing the search for a women's coach while his assistant, Chris Hill, also will be promoted to associate head coach of the men's team. Combined with new construction ongoing of the Dave Williams Golf Academy at Redstone GC and the Cougars' first 54-hole win in five years and you get the sense that once mighty Houston might be ready to rise again.      


TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS
MEN
Wolfpack Intercollegiate

   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Lonnie Poole GC, Raleigh, N.C.
Oct. 19-20
Host: N.C. State
Defending champion: Memphis (+9/861) by two strokes over UNC Greensboro; UNC Greensboro's Robert Hoadley (-4/209) by two strokes over Memphis' Jack Belote
Field: Boston College, Campbell, East Carolina, Louisiana-Lafayette, Maryland, Memphis, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rhode Island, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Wilmington, Western Carolina
Skinny: The host Wolfpack hope to win back the title they claimed in the inaugural playing of the event in 2010.

U.S. Collegiate Championship
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga.
Oct. 19-21
Host: Georgia Tech
Defending champion: UCLA (-12/852) by three strokes over Auburn and Washington; Texas A&M's Johannes Veerman and Auburn's Dominic Bozzelli (-6/210) co-medalists
Field: Auburn, Clemson, Duke, East Tennessee State, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Kent State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington
Skinny: Four of the top-10 teams in the Golf World/Nike Golf men's coaches' poll are competing, and 10 of the top 25.

Isleworth Collegiate Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla.
Oct. 21-23
Host: Texas Tech/UCF
Defending champion: Texas (-8/856) by 26 strokes over LSU; Texas' Jordan Spieth (-11/205) by eight strokes over Texas' Dylan Frittelli
Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Augusta State, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, LSU, New Mexico, North Florida, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, UCF, Vanderbilt
Skinny: Only eight top-25 programs are in the field here, but it includes the No. 1 (Cal), No. 2 (Texas), No. 3 (Alabama) squads.

Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate
New Mexico State GC, Las Cruces, N.M.
Oct. 22-23
Host: New Mexico State
Defending champion: UNLV (-34/818) by eight strokes over Wichita State; Wichita State's Hunter Sparks (-14/199) by two strokes over N.M. State's Justin Shin
Field: Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Oral Roberts, Texas State, UNLV, UTEP, Western New Mexico, Wichita State
Skinny: If Wichita State could repeat as champions, it would make it nine tournament titles in the last 17 starts for the Shockers.

WOMEN
Stanford Intercollegiate
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Stanford GC, Stanford, Calif.
Oct. 19-21
Host: Stanford
Defending champion: UCLA (-10/842) by three strokes over Vanderbilt; Washington's SooBin Kim (-13/200) by two strokes over UCLA's Stephanie Kono
Field: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Georgia, Harvard, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Jose State, Texas, UC Davis, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington
Skinny: SooBin Kim should like her chances of a repeat win this weekend. Since tournament's inception in 1995 there have been four different golfers who have won the individual title more than once (Tulsa's Stacy Prammanasudh, 1999, 2000, 2001; Arizona's Erica Blasberg, 2002, 2003; Duke's Liz Janangelo, 2003, 2005; Arkansas' Stacy Lewis, 2006, 2007)

FIU Pat Bradley Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Fla.
Oct. 21-23
Host: Florida International
Defending champion: Florida International (+18/882) by 13 strokes over Eastern Michigan; Florida International's Shelby Coyle (-2/214) by two strokes over Cincinnati's Andrea Malek
Field: Bethune-Cookman, Boston College, Bradley, Cincinnati, Daytona State, Delaware, Drake, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Jacksonville, South Dakota, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Western Illinois
Skinny: Tournament is celebrating its 35th edition but is being played at Lakewood Ranch for the first time.

Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Stallion Mountain GC, Las Vegas
Oct. 21-23
Host: UNLV
Defending champion: UC Davis (+5/869) by 15 strokes over Pepperdine and San Diego State; Pepperdine's Grace Na (-7/209) by two stroke over Idaho's Kayla Mortellaro
Field: Colorado State, Fresno State, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas State, Kennesaw State, Long Beach State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, New Mexico State, North Texas, Penn State, San Diego State, UCF, UNLV, Washington State, Wisconsin
Skinny: New course hosting the event after having it held previously at Boulder Creek GC.

Fighting Camel Fall Classic
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Keith Hills CC, Buies Creek, N.C.
Oct. 22-23
Host: Campbell
Defending champion: Campbell (+38/902) by 21 strokes over Illinois; North Dakota State's Amy Anderson (-1/215) by four strokes over Campbell's Teresa Urquizu
Field: Campbell, CSU Fullerton, Longwood, Gardner-Webb, Old Dominion, Radford, Richmond, Rollins, St. Francis (Pa.), Towson, Wichita State, Winthrop
Skinny:
There is, of course, no gambling at Bushwood, but if there were I'd take Campbell minus the points in this one. 
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