News & ToursMarch 1, 2007

Campus review, March 1

__THE FAB FIVE

My look at the top five teams in the country right now

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__WOMEN

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__GOLF WORLD COLLEGE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

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Frank Wrenn__, SMU

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Ashley Knoll __, Texas A&M

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__STAT OF THE WEEK

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Number of players who shared medalist honors at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. Coming in at one-over 217 were Georgia sophomore Alina Lee, TCU freshman Valentine Derry, Auburn sophomore Mariana Macias, Oklahoma State sophomore Pernilla Lindberg and Alabama senior Jenny Suh. No playoff was held due to players having to catch flights back to the mainland. Suh was given the trophy on site, thanks to the fact she shot the low final round of the group, posting a one-under 71

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR__

• The words were so shocking, perhaps because they were so honest. “This is maybe the most disappointing day I've ever had as a coach,” said Georgia women’s coach Todd McCorkle, an 14-year veteran of the profession. “It’s my job to get the team prepared during the off-season. For whatever reason, that hasn't happened. I've got to find a way to make the team understand the importance of proper preparation.

The admission came after the Bulldogs shot a 14-over 302 in the opening 18 of the Lady Puerto Rico Classic last Friday, their worst round of the 2006-07 season by six shots. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t the way McCorkle or his players on the top-ranked team in Golf World's latest college coaches' poll had hoped to kick off the spring schedule, sticking them in ninth place.

The feeling here is that the first round was an aberration. Consider that two days later, Georgia posted a two-under 286, 11 shots better than any other team that day, to scratch its way into a share of second, five shots behind eventual champion Auburn.

To McCorkle’s ultimate benefit (and to the detriment of the rest of the top squads in the country) the first round will also provide the coach with a painful memory to call upon whenever his players appear to be losing focus this spring. Georgia is too good to let an opportunity like the one they have this season to get away. There not so good, however, that they can show-up at an event and expect tournament organizers to hand them the first-place trophy. It’s not the Bulldogs that will wind up paying for their misfortune in Puerto Rico. It’s probably the rest of women’s college golf.

• A nice extra perk will be given to the men’s collegians named to the Ping first-team All-American squad this year. In announcing that Ohio State’s Scarlet Course would be hosting a new event on the Nationwide Tour in July, tour officials also revealed that several college players will be given exemptions into the event. Among them will the NCAA champion, the Jack Nicklaus college player of the year award winner and all players named first-team All-Americans. Golfers will not have to be amateurs to keep the exemption, meaning that any who turn pro at the end of the college season in June are still eligible. The hitch: the new Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational is the same week as the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and the Players Amateur.

__TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH

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USC Collegiate Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

March 5-6

North Ranch CC, Westlake Village, Calif. (Par 71, 6,742 yards)

Field: BYU, California, Coastal Carolina, Loyola Marymount, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Washington State

Defending champion: Pepperdine (nine-over 861); Anthony Kim, Oklahoma (nine-under 204)

Skinny: The event celebrates its 30th anniversary this season, with the host Trojans trying to win the team title for just the fourth time. Past individual winners have included Corey Pavin, who won the inaugural event in 1978 while at UCLA and took the title again in 1981;Billy Mayfair (Arizona State, 1987); Tiger Woods (Stanford, 1996); Jason Gore (Pepperdine, 1997); and Paul Casey (Arizona State, 1998).

__WOMEN

UCF Invitational__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

March 5-6

Grand Cypress Resort, North & South course, Orlando (Par 72, 6,223 yards)

Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Central Florida, Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, New Mexico, Ohio State, Pepperdine, Purdue, SMU, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: New event

Skinny: Give credit to UCF women’s coach Emilee Klein for getting such a strong field for a first-year tournament. Nine of the 13 teams rank in the latest Golf World top-25, including three of the top five. Tournament organizers (the event is being run by Octagon’s Golf Division) have also added a pretty nice perk for the individual winner: a sponsor’s exemption into the LPGA Tour’s Sybase Classic, played the week between the NCAA Regionals and NCAA Championship.

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