__THE FAB FIVE
My look at the top five teams in the country right now
__GOLF WORLD PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
__STAT OF THE WEEK
Difference in the number of strokes taken this season by Stanford’s Rob Grube, Zack Miller and Joseph Bramlett. Grube’s victory at the U.S. Intercollegiate left him at 2,147 strokes in 30 rounds (71.57 average). Miller’s 218 and Bramlett’s 211 left the two tied with 2,149 strokes in 30 rounds (71.63 average).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• The Oregon men had never finished in the top three in the 35-year history of the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, much less won the thing, making last weekend's three-shot victory over the host Sun Devils at the ASU Karsten Course in Tempe all the more impressive. The Ducks staked themselves to a five-stroke lead after the second round, then posted an even-par 288 on Sunday (and 20-under 844 total) to claim their second title of the season under first-year coach Casey Martin. Leading the way was junior Derek Sipe, who went 43 holes without a bogey during one stretch en route to a second-place finish, his fourth top-10 of the season. By tournament's end, Oregon had defeated Pac-10 foes Arizona State, USC and Arizona. Call it a lucky weekend if you like, but considering that the Ducks hosts the conference championship next week at Eugene CC, you have to wonder if there might be a darkhorse here—one that quacks—that might just give Stanford, UCLA and the other West Coast favorites a run for their money.
• As the conference championships come at us fast and furious the next few weeks, player-of-the-year honors are going to be awarded. I don't have a magic eight-ball, but trying to imagine what might take place in the league tournaments, here are my best guesses as to who will get such recognition in some of the bigger conferences:
MEN: Billy Horschel, Florida
I just think the sophomore will have a big weekend at Sea Island and narrowly beat out Georgia senior Chris Kirk.
WOMEN: Jacqui Concolino, Vanderbilt
Again, just a feeling, but I think she'll push past Florida's__Sandra Gal__, Georgia's__Taylor Leon__ and Arkansas' Stacy Lewis.
MEN: Webb Simpson, Wake Forest
Got his first college victory last week and I see him making it two-for-two with an ACC title at the Old North State Club.
MEN: Gary Woodland__, Kansas
With Oklahoma State's__Pablo Martin__ and Jonathan Moore missing more than a few tournaments during the season, Woodland's three wins, six top-fives and eight top-10s deserve recognition.
MEN: Matt Harmon, __Michigan State
Recent victory at the Kepler gives him four top-five finishes on the season.
WOMEN: Maria Hernandez, Purdue
Hard to argue against her recent stretch of play where she has two victories and a runner-up finish where she lost a playoff.
MEN: Jamie Lovemark__, USC
He's going to have to earn it at Eugene, as Stanford's__Rob Grube__ and Zack Miller, plus Arizona State's Niklas Lemke all can make claims as well.
WOMEN: Anna Nordqvist, Arizona State
But she's going to have to beat out teammate__Jennifer Osborn__ up in Seattle if she wants it. Oh, and Arizona's Alison Walshe too.
• The second signing period for next fall's incoming freshmen class is underway and there are no major bombshells. Among the potential diamonds in the rough might be a pick-up made by the Georgia women, who signed Scottish native Krystle Caithness. The 18-year-old was an alternate on the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team a year ago, played in last fall's Women's World Amateur Team Championship and has won the Scottish under-21 title once and the under-18 title twice.
TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH
The Fossum Invitational by Red Cedar Lodge__
(For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Forest Akers GC, East Lansing, Mich. (Par 72, 7,013 yards)__
Field:__ Ball State, Charlotte, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rice, Toledo, Wisconsin, Xavier__
Defending champion:__ Indiana (six-over 870); Charlie Soule, Denver (nine-under 207)__
Skinny:__ The tournament celebrates its 40th anniversary and its tournament namesake, legendary Spartan coach Bruce Fossum will be the lead speaker at the event's welcome dinner. Seven Big Ten schools are in the field, giving it the feeling of a conference championship preview as the programs will meet again Ohio State's Scarlet Course April 27-29.
Ping Golf Cougar Classic
Riverside CC, Provo, Utah
Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational__
(For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Ohio State’s Scarlet Course, Columbus, Ohio__
Field:__ Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Toledo, Western Michigan, Wisconsin__
Defending champion:__ Auburn (15-under 849); Maria Martinez, Auburn (nine-under 207)__
Skinny:__ Like with the men's event in East Lansing, this tournament will take on the feel of a Big Ten conference preview with nine of the 11 schools competing.
• Conference championships are under way … look for separate previews and reviews on Campus Insider in the coming days.