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The Syllabus: 61 special

By RYAN HERRINGTON

Mariah Stackhouse headshot.jpegIt's been five days and I still can't get over one simple fact about Stanford freshman Mariah Stackhouse's NCAA record setting final round at the Peg Barnard Invitational.

Forget the 10-under 61 at Stanford GC. How about the nine-under 26 on the front nine.

"It's not even the side of the course that I like," Stackhouse (right) said afterward, a line that literally caused me to laugh out loud.

Two eagles and five birdies left little doubt that the 18-year-old from Riverdale, Ga., was going to claim medalist honors in the 36-hole tournament. A three-putt bogey on the 13th and another bogey on the 14th kept a sub-60 score from coming true, but Stackhouse's 61 sufficed as it bested her previous personal best by four strokes.

It broke both the NCAA record for lowest score—previously held by former Duke All-American Liz Janangelo, who shot a 62 at the 2004 ACC/SEC Challenge—as well as lowest score in relation to par. Janangelo was one of four to have previously posted nine-under scores in the past, along with Pepperdine's Katherine Hull (2003 San Jose Spartan Invitational), Arkansas' Emily Tubert (2010 Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown) and Pepperdine's Grace Na (2011 Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown).

Stackhouse was already putting together an impressive rookie season with the Cardinal. She had previously posted two top-10 finishes in three tournaments and had a stroke average of 74.1 through nine rounds. That said, she hadn't yet broken 70 in a college round until Sunday.

Stackhouse's biggest challenge now is living up to expectations. Her next start is next week's Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational. Of course matching that score will be near impossible. Only Tubert (with a 68) was able to break 70 again in their next round.

Here is how other low-goers did in their next round:
Na, 73
Janangelo, 72
Hull, 71


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

Cal logo.gif1. California (Last week: 1)
There's still 18 holes to go at the John Burns, but a 14-stroke lead on BYU and 21 stroke edge on New Mexico suggests that the Golden Bears didn't have a pity party after their win streak came to an end last month. Should they close the deal at Turtle Bay Friday, it might be their most impressive win thus far in 2012-13.  
Next event: John Burns Intercollegiate, Turtle Bay Resort (Palmer Course), Kahuku, Hawaii, Feb. 20-22
 
Alabama logo.gif2. Alabama (2)
The Crimson Tide improved its score each day en route to a seven-stroke victory over Oklahoma in Puerto Rico, the team's third straight win in the event and fourth in the last six years. Best part about it for Jay Seawell? Sure Cory Whitsett's closing 66 was clutch, but redshirt freshman Tom Lovelady posting career-best two-under 214 might qualify.
Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, Southern Highlands CC, Las Vegas, March 8-10

Washington 2012-13.jpeg3. Washington (5)
Matt Thurmond asked on Twitter after sharing the title with Pac-12 rival USC at The Prestige how he should feel about a second straight tournament where his squad tied for first after 54 hole (presumably upset because they didn't win outright). Feel good, coach. T-1 is still a pretty good indicator that you've got a talented bunch.
Next event: Bandon Dunes Championship, Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon, Ore., March 8-10

UCLA logo 2008-09.gif4. UCLA (3)
Pedro Figueiredo's 67-67 close at the Prestige to claim medalist honors was some solace for the Bruins after shooting a final-round seven over 291 to finish T-3 overall at PGA West. Despite the disappointing finish, the team is still third in the nation in scoring.  
Next event: Snowman Getaway, Palm Valley GC, Goodyear, Ariz., Feb. 25-26

New Mexico logo.gif5. New Mexico (4)
The Lobos need to shake off a disappointing second round at the John Burns where their 12 over Day 2 score was the first time they failed to break 300 in a round as a team since September's Gopher Invitational. How they do will say a lot about the character of Glen Millican's group. 
Next event: John Burns Intercollegiate, Turtle Bay Resort (Palmer Course), Kahuku, Hawaii, Feb. 20-22


Women
Alabama logo.gif1. Alabama (1)
Seven Crimson Tide golfers have seen action in the 2012-13 season and all have had at least one top-25 finish with four (Stephanie Meadow, Jennifer Kirby, Emma Talley and Hannah Collier) posting a top-10. Name of the game these days is depth and U of A has it.
Next event: Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, English Turn G&CC, New Orleans, Feb. 24-26

Florida logo.gif2. Florida (2)
Meanwhile in Gainesville, Camilla Hedberg and Isabelle Lendl are trying to prove that the name of the game these days is actually quality versus quantity. These two have given the Gators their bite in 2012-13. If they can keep it up, they might be demonstrating some new math (2>5)       
Next event: Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, English Turn G&CC, New Orleans, Feb. 24-26

USC logo.gif3. USC (3)
The Trojans have had success when traveling to Louisiana, as they hold the Sugar Bowl tournament record for low team 18-hole (282) and 54-hole score (868). Granted the event is only two years old, but good vibes are good vibes.   
Next event: Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, English Turn G&CC, New Orleans, Feb. 24-26

North Carolina logo 2008-09.gif4. North Carolina (4)
Hard to criticize a team that's won its last three starts, including one on the course where the NCAA Championship will be contested later this spring, but here goes: When the Tar Heels play the Round 1 of the Darius Rucker at Long Cove next month, it will be only the second tournament they've played in 145 days. Am I the only one wondering if they have any real momentum from their victories?
Next event:
Darius Rucker Invitational, Long Cove Club, Hilton Head, S.C., March 8-10

Duke logo.gif5. Duke (5)
The Blue Devils try to defend their team title at the Sugar Bowl this week. If they're successful, it will be the first time Duke has won a stroke-play tournament in consecutive years since their won the ACC Championship for the 13th straight time back in 2008.
Next event: Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, English Turn G&CC, New Orleans, Feb. 24-26



STAT OF THE WEEK
91
Strokes under par that the Alabama men's team has shot en route to its three straight victories at the Puerto Rico Classic. (-28 in 2011; -30 in 2012; -33 in 2013).
 

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK
Tweet of the week (2-22-2013).jpgToW (2-22).jpg
RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
I never understood the whole Gangnam Style thing. How the heck am I suppose to figure out the Harlem Shake? 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
* Although eight of the top 25 teams in the Golf World/WGCA women's coaches poll will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate starting Sunday, one school can potentially make the biggest statement with a victory at New Orleans' English Turn G&CC. Alabama started its NCAA title defense slowly last fall, but with a convincing 13-stroke win last week at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic to start the spring, the Crimson Tide looks ready to rise from their No. 6 ranking.

Key will be whether Emma Talley and Daniela Lendl can build off their career-best finishes (T-5 and T-16 respectively) in Puerto Rico. Coach Mic Potter needed to rely heavily on returning starters Stephanie Meadow, Jennifer Kirby and Hannah Collier to pick up for the departure of graduating All-American Brooke Pancake. Getting a boost from the No. 4 and 5 slots, however, would east that burden—and signal to the rest of the country that Alabama is built to pull off an encore.