__THE FAB FIVE
My look at the top five teams in the country right now__
- Stanford__—Claimed win No. 4 at University of Hawaii-Hilo Invitational, beating Oklahoma on a tiebreaker. Four players post top-10s. Just how good is the Cardinal? Freshman standout Jordan Cox can’t play his way into the line-up. Next event: Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 25-27
__2. Oklahoma State __—The good news: Jonathan Moore returned to form with a victory at the U-H Hilo Invitational, posting a nifty little 62 in the second round and a 15-under 195 total. The better news: Trent Leon posted a top-five finish at Waikoloa Village, his best finish this season. Get re-match with Stanford in less than two weeks. Next event: Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 25-27
- Florida __—Manuel Villegas has a ways to catch brother, Camilo, in the Gator record book, but his first college victory at last week’s Gator Invitational sure was sweet. Next event: Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 25-27
__4. Alabama __—Task of staying atop the rankings wasn’t made any easier by the early spring success of Stanford, Oklahoma State and Florida. Time for the Crimson Tide to show just how hungry they are. Next event: John Hayt Collegiate, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra, Fla., Feb. 18-20
5.UCLA—Do you hear that Bruins? It’s the sound of Georgia nipping on your heels. Next event: John Hayt Collegiate, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra, Fla., Feb. 18-20
1.Georgia—Expected high temperature Thursday in Athens, Ga.: 47 degrees. Expected high in San Juan, P.R.: 85 degrees. So who’s ready to finally get the spring season rolling? Next event: Lady Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar Resort, Puerto Rico, Feb. 23-25
2. Duke—Entering her final college semester, senior Anna Grzebien needs to forget about the so-so spring performances from last year and recall how she closed out her sophomore season (2nd at ACC; 1st at East Regional; 1st at NCAAs) Next event: Arizona Wildcat Invitational, The Raven GC, Tucson, Feb. 26-27
3. Arizona State—Good start to the spring with a second-place finish at the Northrup Grumman. And it would have been four shots closer if not for two-shot penalties on Anna Nordqvist and Liisa Kelo after the two mistaken would up giving advice to each other during the second round. Next event: Arizona Wildcat Invitational, The Raven GC, Tucson, Feb. 26-27
4. Vanderbilt—The Lady Commodores have the best final-round scoring average—73.35—of any team in the country. Next event: Arizona Wildcat Invitational, The Raven GC, Tucson, Feb. 26-27
5. Auburn—Do you hear that Tigers? It’s the sound of Pepperdine crashing on your shore. Next event: Lady Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar Resort, Puerto Rico, Feb. 23-25
__STAT OF THE WEEK
Number of players, out of a field of 94, that broke par for 54 holes at the University of Hawaii-Hilo Invitational at Waikoloa Village GC
__STAT OF THE WEEK, PART II
Number of rounds of 65 or better posted during the tournament, shot by 12 different players.
63—Steele DeWald, Arizona State
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• What’s the harm in requiring teams have a .500 record against other Division I schools to be considered for at-large berths into the NCAA regionals? We’re about to find out as the NCAA Championships/Competition Cabinet approved last week the “.500 Rule” for use in the 2007-08 men’s season. In a poll taken at last month’s Golf Coaches Association of America convention, more than 70 percent of members agreed with the proposal, but those in the minority were coaches at primarily top 50 programs who suggested it would cause them to add tournaments to their schedule with “weaker” fields to secure a winning record. (Conversely, lower-ranked schools welcome the opportunity they say “finally play against the big boys.”) “This will have a trickle-down effect,” says a coach at a perennial top-10 school. “To hold an event, you need a sponsor. To get the sponsor, you need a quality field. Now I’m going to struggle to get the field because teams will be afraid to play in events with too many ranked teams. It’s going to drive away sponsors.” We’ll find out soon enough; many schools already have started scheduling for next season.
• With the Pepperdine women playing only three tournaments this past fall, it was hard to get a read on just how good the 10th-ranked Waves might be. Yet after their nine-shot victory over Arizona State last Wednesday at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge (their third time taking the team title at Palos Verdes ), it’s a safe bet to say that the folks in Malibu are for real. Fans of the program have been touting freshman Misun Cho, a South Korean who lived in Australia and dominated the amateur scene there the past few years, and she delivered with her first individual college title. Cho started the final round in 10th place, seven shots back of teammate Jayvie Agojo, only to shoot a two-under 69 to win by one.
TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH
John Burns Intercollegiate
Leilehua GC, Wahiawa, Hawaii (Par 72, 6,917 yards)
__Field:__Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, BYU, California, UC-Santa Barbara, Colorado State, Denver,Fresno State, Hawaii, Hawaii-Hilo, Long Beach State, Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego, San Diego State, San Jose State, SMU, UTEP, Texas A&M, Utah
Defending champion: SMU (41-over 823); Brandon DeStefano, SMU (14-under 202)
Skinny: DeStefano beat Auburn's Jay Moseley on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff last year to claim the title.
Central District Invitational__
(for live results, click here for Golfstat)
River Wilderness CC, Parrish, Fla. (Par 72, 6,099 yards)
Field: Arkansas, Baylor, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Tulsa
Defending champion: Baylor (32-over 896); Lacey Jones, SMU (one-under 215)
Skinny: With winter weather blanketing the midwest, several of the regions top squads migrate to the south for this seven-year-old spring event hosted by Michigan State. While northern schools have struggled of late to claim the team title (LSU, 2004; Missouri, 2005; Baylor, 2006), medalist honors have gone to players from Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State in four of six playings.