Golf World's Players of the Mid-season
And now, the one you've all been waiting for.
To help you get more familiar with this year's top male and female performers, we've got short podcasts with each of our winners that explore why the fall went so well and what it will take to do the same in the spring.
__PLAYERS of the Mid-Season
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Eugene Wong, Oregon
The senior from British Columbia could rightfully be not just the player of the mid-season but the comeback player of the mid-season as well. After being a first-team All-American as a sophomore in 2009-10, Wong had just one finish better than 19th as a junior in 2010-11, ending the season with a disappointing 73.32 average.
Come this past fall, however, Wong was back to his old form: T-7 at St. Mary's, second at the Prestige, win at the Alister MacKenzie and third at the Gifford. His 68.5 average leads the country and has helped the Ducks rise to the top five in the country as a team.
So what gives? Here my interview with Wong about the turn around this fall.
*__Photo: Geoff Thurner
*Jordan Spieth__, Texas
The freshman from Dallas is going to have a race on his hands just to be the best player on his own team, the top-ranked Longhorns roster being that deep. Still, the 18-year-old didn't disappoint in his first semester of college, winning the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational by eight strokes after finishing T-6 and T-2 in his first two starts. His 69.56 average puts him a half-shot ahead of UT senior__Dylan Frittelli__ come the winter break. Needless to say, it could be an interesting spring in Austin.
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Lindy Duncan, Duke
The unassuming junior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hardly seems like a fiery competitor when she's on the course, but don't let her calm demeanor fool you. Duncan wants to win as badly as any player in women's college golf. This fall she claimed top honors at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview, winning a playoff over Alabama's Jennifer Kirby on the course that will host the NCAA Championship next May. Additionally, the psychology major finished T-6 at the Cougar Classic and seventh at the Tar Heel Invitational.
Duncan's absence from the Duke lineup at the Landfall Tradition was a surprise, a foot injury sidelining her from playing in a fourth fall event. She says that she's on the mend and should be ready to roll when the spring semester begins.
For more with Duncan, her life as a Dukie and her interest in laundry (not a type), listen up to this podcast.
Photo courtesy of the Duke Sports Information Department
Stephanie Kono__, UCLA
They don't come much more steady than the senior from Honolulu, who had two second-place finishes and a T-7 in three fall starts. The soon-to-be 22-year-old (her birthday is Nov. 27) has finished outside the top 15 just once since last February and just three times since September 2009. Three wins this this spring will also tie her with Kay Cockerill for the Bruins' all-time career victory lead at six.