News & ToursOctober 19, 2006

Campus review, Oct. 19

__GOLF WORLD Players of the Week

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__Week of Oct. 9-15

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Colt Knost, SMU

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__WOMEN

Angela Oh__, Tennessee

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__THE FAB FIVE

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

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__1. Alabama __—The win streak ends at three after the fourth-place showing at the Bank of Tennessee but the Crimson Tide’s confidence continues to grow.

2. Oklahoma State—The Cowboys face a stand-out field this weekend at the Isleworth/UCF Invitational, the perfect setting to show the defending NCAA champs aren’t going anywhere.

__3. UCLA __—Could sophomore Lucas Lee (two second-place finishes in two starts this fall) be the go-to guy Coach O.D.Vincent has been looking for?

4. Florida—Isleworth will show whether the young Gator squad has been reading all the press generated from their win at the Ping Preview or been continuing to work on their games in Gainesville.

__5. Stanford __—Win at the Gopher Invitational was nice start, but this week’s victory over UCLA at The Prestige suggests the Cardinal is for real (see below).

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1. Georgia—The Bulldogs couldn’t pull it out in the playoff with Tennessee at the Mercedes-Benz Women’s Collegiate Championship, but another solid showing leaps them over Duke.

2. Duke—The Blue Devils will have to play without Amanda Blumenherst and Jennie Lee, both in South Africa representing the U.S. at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, this week at the Stanford Invitational. The flip side is freshmen Rebecca Kim and Yu Young Lee will get the chance to make their college debuts.

3. Arizona State—The Sun Devils will sit out the Stanford event with Anna Nordqvist and Azahara Munoz also in South Africa at the WATC. Meanwhile, sophomore Jennifer Osborn (three top-10s this fall) continues to prove she’s among the toughest players in the college game.

4. UCLA—The top of the line-up is solid for the Bruins with Tiffany Joh, Sydnee Michaels and Hannah Jun. Difference in being able to have a good or great season will be in the production from the No. 4 and 5 spot.

__5. Auburn __—The Tigers had the lead entering the final round of the Mercedes-Benz last Sunday only to fall two shots shy of the Tennessee-Georgia playoff. Haven’t finished worse than third in their first three starts.

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__STAT OF THE WEEK

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • It wasn’t an easy decision Stanford men’s coach Conrad Ray made two summers ago to hang up his clubs and end his professional playing career to take the job at his alma mater. However, it might have been one of the best decisions the Cardinal athletic department has made in some time. After nearly a decade of down times following the Tiger Woods/Notah Begay/Casey Martin years (when Ray was also a member of the golf team), Stanford has crept back to national prominence with two wins and a runner-up finish this fall, thanks in no small part to the leadership of the 31-year-old Ray. Interestingly, the Cardinal’s recent success has come despite their mainstay the past two season, Pac-10 co-player of the year Rob Grube, having a so-so start. Picking up the slack has been senior Zack Miller, who claimed his second individual victory on Tuesday with a three-shot win at The Prestige. Meanwhile, Ray’s recruiting of freshmen Jordan Cox and Joseph Bramlett has proved that he can keep highly talented Californians back home. Don’t be surprised to see one or both win a tournament this season, and the Cardinal be in the hunt for at least a Pac-10 title next spring.

  • The bad news: a broken hand will keep Wake Forest junior Webb Simpson from playing for the U.S. at the men’s World Amateur Team Championship next week in South Africa (he's being replaced by Georgia senior Chris Kirk). The good news: the Demon Deacons close out the fall season at Isleworth next week, meaning that Simpson won’t miss any additionally college events because of the injury and have all winter for rehab. The injury, suffered back in North Carolina, was to a bone that Simpson had previously broken in high school and isn't considered too serious.

"It's a shame for Webb to have to miss out on this," Kirk told Campus Insider Thursday morning regarding the WATC. "He's a good friend of mine and I talked to him yesterday. It was a big shock to me [to hear about the injury], but I'm excited. I feel like my game is in good shape to help [the U.S.] team." Kirk, meanwhile, will miss the Isleworth tournament for the Bulldogs and the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship the following week in Fort Worth.

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__TOURAMENT TO WATCH

Isleworth-UCF Collegiate Invitational __

Oct. 22-24

Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla. (For live results, click here)

Field: Arizona, Central Florida, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Wake Forest.

Defending champion: Georgia (eight-over 872); Pablo Martin, Oklahoma State (four-under 212)

Skinny: In just three years, this tournament has become one of the most prestigious on the fall docket. Martin, trying to win the title for a third straight year, can remember fondly his close in the final round at Isleworth a year ago when hit arguably the best shot of the 2005-06 college season. On the par-5 17th, he reached the green in two with a 4-iron from 224 yards, the ball rolling within an inch of the hole. The tap-in eagle allowed Martin to hold holding off his ’04 co-medalist, Chris Kirk of Georgia, by two shots.

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