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USC women end regular season where they began: No. 1 in Golf World/WGCA coaches' poll

For just the third time since Golf World resumed its women's college coaches' poll in 2001-02, the same school has been ranked No. 1 in every poll through an individual college season. USC joins the Duke in 2003-04 and UCLA in 2011-12 as the only programs to go wire-to-wire in a given year.

Before congratulating the Trojans on their accomplishment, however, it's worthwhile to note an interesting oddity: neither the Blue Devils or the Bruins actually went on to win the NCAA title that season. Duke was upset, coincidentally, by UCLA in 2004 at Grand National in Opelika, Ala., while UCLA was a distance eighth to Alabama at Vanderbilt Legends Club in 2012.

Nevertheless, USC looks to defend its national championship from a year ago and claim itsr fourth in school history when the team begins play as the top seed at the NCAA West Regional on Thursday.

poll-women-d1-0512-518.jpgA few tidbits of note from the Division I poll:

* Arkansas, South Carolina and Stanford, the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 squads in the latest poll, each set their school records for their best ever finish in a Golf World coaches' poll.

* Alabama fell from No. 8 to No. 12 in this latest poll, falling out of the top 10 for the first time since April 2008.

poll-women-d2-0512-275.jpgLynn is the unanimous choice for the No. 1 spot in the latest Division II poll. The Fighting Knights earned all 19 available first-place votes prior to finishing first at their NCAA Women's Super Regional on Tuesday and getting one step closer to repeating as national champions. The squad has claimed 10 team titles in 2013-14 and finished second in its two other appearances. The NCAA Women's D-II Championship is May 14-17 at Rock Barn Golf an Spa in Conover, N.C.

poll-women-d3-0512-275.jpgWashington U. of St. Louis retained its No. 1 ranking in the latest Division III coaches' poll. The Bears claimed five team titles during the 2013-14 season and earned 14 of the available 19 first-place votes as they attempt to win their first national title in school history. The NCAA Women's D-III Championship is May 13-16 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

Methodist claimed the No. 2 spot in the latest poll, earning the remaining five first-place votes. The Monarchs are trying to start a new streak after having their string of 15 straight NCAA titles snapped last spring.

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News & Tours

Vagaries of match play can't keep USC women from their No. 1 ranking

By Ryan Herrington

Could match play unfairly level the playing field among college golf's top women's teams? That's the fear some have when the NCAA Women's Division I Championship committee agreed to add match play to help determine the team winner at nationals starting in 2015. If a certain team is the dominant force in stroke play thanks to its depth, but finds the vagaries of match play working against them, is that really how you want to determine the best team in college golf?

Yet the USC women did they best to prove that the vagaries of match play don't always work against the best teams. Playing at the Liz Murphey Collegiate last month in Athens, Ga., (sight of their 2013 NCAA title), the Trojans finished fourth in the 18-hole stroke-play qualifier, yet marched through the match play bracket to win their eighth title of the 2013-14 season. When you're good, you're good, no matter what format you play an event (and kudos to Georgia and coach Josh Brewer for deciding to try match play, providing a nice chance for top teams to give the format an early look before it goes into place next season).

After knocking off Arkansas in the championship match, USC remained the unanimous choice of the 20 voting coaches in the latest Golf World/WGCA women's Division I college coaches' poll. 

poll-women-d1-top-0421-518.jpgpoll-women-d1-bottom-0421-518.jpgA few tidbits from the latest D-I poll:

* The Trojans have been ranked No. 1 for 15 straight polls dating back to October 2012. It's the longest such streak since Golf World resumed the poll in 2001-02.

* Jumping from No. 10 to No. 6, South Carolina once again broke its own school record for its highest ranking.

* N.C. State fell out of the top 25 for the first time since October 2011.

Lynn University remained the unanimous No. 1 team in the latest Division II coaches’ poll. The Fighting Knights claimed their eighth team title of the 2013-14 season at the Bash at the Beach en route to receiving all 19 first-place votes. After the voting closed, the squad claimed its ninth victory, winning the Sunshine State Conference title by four strokes. The team takes this momentum into the NCAA postseason where it will try to defending its 2013 national title.

poll-women-d3-0421-250.jpgWashington U. of St. Louis held strong to the top spot in the latest Division III coaches’ poll. The Bears earned 16 of the 20 available first-place votes after winning four of their eight tournament starts. After the voting closed the squad claimed its fifth victory of the 2013-14 campaign with at the Illinois Wesleyan Spring Fling.

Methodist remained No. 2 in the poll, earning three first-place votes, with UT-Tyler hang in on to the No. 3 spot in the poll. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps moved up to No. 4 spot, earning the other first-place vote, with Williams rounding out the top five.

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Women's Coaches' Polls

USC women feeling comfortable atop Golf World/WGCA poll

By Ryan Herrington

At the risk of sounding like a talking head who can't remember yesterday, there is more depth in women's college golf than arguably at any time in the history of the sport.

Yet at the same time, it's getting harder and harder to picture anybody but USC winning the NCAA title later this spring.

The Trojans claimed their seventh tournament title of 2013-14 last week, this one in come-from-behind fashion at the SDSU Farms Invitational. They've already tied their school record for most wins in a single season (set a year ago when USC claimed its third NCAA title), with two more tournaments to play in before the Pac-12 Championship. It also marked the team's 10th win in its last 11 starts, 13th in its last 15th.

Four Trojans -- sophomores Annie Park (70.78) and Kyung Kim (71.38), freshman Karen Chung (71.67) and senior Sophia Popov (72.14) -- have stroke averages that rank them inside the top 25 for all Division I players.

Not surprisingly, USC retained the No. 1 spot in the latest Golf World/WGCA Division I coaches' poll from the April 7 issue of the magazine, pulling down 16 of the 17 available first-place votes.

A few tidbits from the latest D-I poll:

* With its victory at the LSU Golf Classic last week, Arkansas moved up to No. 5 in the latest poll. It's the first time the Lady Razorbacks have cracked the top five since Golf World poll resumed in 2001-02.

* South Carolina is continuing to make history this season. The Lady Gamecocks moved to the No. 10 spot after winning twice this spring. It marks the highest the program has ever been ranked in the poll.

poll-women-d2-0407-300.jpgLynn University remained the unanimous No. 1 pick in the latest Division II poll. The Fighting Knights, who earned all 20 available first-place votes, have won seven of their nine starts in 2013-14 as they look to repeat at NCAA champions this spring. (Oh, and in their remaining two events, they finished second.)

poll-women-d3-0407-300.jpgWashington University of St. Louis, with four victories thus far in the 2013-14 season, jumped into the No. 1 spot in the latest Division III poll. The Bears earned 11 of the 17 available first-place votes to move up from their previous No. 2 ranking. (The voting closed before the school competed in the Saluki Invitational, where it finished seventh against primarily D-I programs.)

Former No. 1 Methodist dropped one spot to the No. 2 position. The Monarchs claimed five first-place votes after winning last week’s Randolph Macon Invitational, their fourth tournament title of the season.

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News & Tours

USC women stay atop Golf World D-I coaches' poll

By Ryan Herrington

USC continues to make history as it remains ranked No. 1 in the Golf World/WGCA women's Division I coaches' poll. This marks the 13th straight poll that the Trojans have claimed the top spot, the longest such streak since the poll was resumed in 2001-02.

The last time coach Andrea Gaston's squad, which earned all 23 available first-place votes, did not hold the top spot was October 2012. The team's 13-straight No. 1 rankings exceeds the previous mark of 11 set by Duke from March 2003 to September 2004.

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News & Tours

USC women's win streak ends at 8, but squad is still No. 1 in college poll

By Ryan Herrington

The USC women can no longer boast of being undefeated in 2013-14 after losing to UCLA by six strokes Tuesday at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate. But that doesn't make the Trojans any less formidable than they were three days earlier. The defending NCAA champions still have the deepest lineup in women's college golf, and while their win streak ends at eight straight events dating back to last spring, they'll remain the favorite in every tournament they play between now and nationals in May.

While the most recent tournament finished after voting closed for the first spring edition of the Golf World/WGCA Division I college coaches' poll, USC would not doubt have still held the top spot in the ranking. Arguably the only difference might have been a few more first-place votes for UCLA, winners now of three team titles in five starts.

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News & Tours

Final fall women's college coaches' polls

If you're a school not ranked No. 1 in the final Golf World/WGCA women's Division I, II or III coaches' poll, optimism might be a fleeting concept as the first half of the 2013-14 season has wrapped up. Given how entrenched USC, Lynn and Methodist appear to be in their respective polls heading into winter break, why bother with the spring campaign and lets simply hand out the NCAA trophies right now?

Of course I say this in jest. Talking to some coaches of teams chasing the No. 1s in each of the divisions, they appreciate the level dominance their opponents have shown in the fall. Yet at the same time the chasers believe they have played well enough that on any given week they could be victorious over all comers.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for USC and what they've accomplished," said UCLA women's coach Carrie Forysth. "But I think we are confident that our team is capable of winning every tournament we enter. That hasn't changed this fall."

With that, here are the final fall polls. Read into them what you will as schools gets some rest before the spring season calls.

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News & Tours

Familiar feel to latest college women's poll: USC No. 1

By Ryan Herrington

I promise there is some surprise in the latest Golf World/WGCA women's Division I coaches' poll. It's just not with team that's ranked No. 1.

USC returns to the top spot, winners of its first two fall events and in the middle of a school-record five-tournament win streak dating back to last spring. However, the Trojans weren't the only school to receive first-place votes.

Indeed, where the interesting news comes from this time is that five other programs in addition to the Women of Troy had at least one coach pick them as the best team in the land.

See for yourself ...

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News & Tours

USC women keep top spot in coaches' poll

By Ryan Herrington

The name of the school atop the latest Golf World/WGCA women's Division I coaches' poll should come as no surprise, USC claiming all 21 first-place votes after starting the 2013-14 season with an impressive comeback victory at the Dale McNamara Fall Preview.

However, take a look at the rest of the top 25 and you'll see a few new names and a few names occupying a few spots for the first time in school history.

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News & Tours

USC women start 2013-14 at No. 1

By Ryan Herrington

Defending NCAA champion USC starts its title defense as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golf World/WGCA 2013-14 preseason women's Division I coaches' poll. The Trojans claimed the school's third women's golf championship when they won by a dominating 21-strokes at the University of Georgia GC last May.

All five starters return to Los Angeles, including last year's national player of the year Annie Park. Additionally, USC brings in the U.S. Girls' Junior champion Gabriella Then and five-time AJGA All-American Karen Chung as to challenge for starting spots as freshmen. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the Trojans claimed 26 of the 29 available first-place votes.

No. 2 in the poll is Alabama, the 2012 NCAA champs who bring back senior Stephanie Meadow, Golf World's No. 1 player to watch for the season, and sophomore Emma Talley, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion.

Duke claimed the No. 3 spot, having finished runner-up to USC at nationals last May. Rounding out the top five are UCLA and Arizona State, both of whom picked up first-place votes (the Bruins getting 1, the Sun Devils getting 2).

Women's D-I preseson 1-10.jpg11-20 Women's D-I preseason.jpg21-25 Women's D-I preseason.jpg
Women's Also receiving votes.jpg
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News & Tours

USC women close regular season at No. 1

Newly crowned Pac-12 champion USC closed out the 2012-13 regular season in a familiar spot: atop the Golf World/WGCA women's Division I coaches' poll. The Trojans earned 17 of the available 19 first-place votes and now prepare to compete in this week's NCAA West Regional as the No. 1 seed at Stanford (Calif.) GC.

Defending NCAA champion Alabama held on to the No. 2 spot in the poll, earning the remaining two first-place votes. The Crimson Tide are the No. 1 seed in the East Regional and have won five titles this season as well, including the SEC crown.

Duke, the ACC champion and No. 1 seed in the NCAA Central Regional, remained ranked third with Oklahoma and UCLA rounding out the top five.

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