Rice, Florida, Purdue players earn weekly honors
College Players of the Week: March 21-27
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Michael Whitehead, Rice
The senior from Sugar Land, Texas, claimed medalist honors at the Border Olympics, his first individual college title, in record-breaking style, shooting a final-round 62 at Laredo CC to set a school and course. Whitehead outpaced Arkansas' Sebastian Cappelen by two strokes overall, posting a 19-under 197.
"I have been hitting the ball really well for the past two years, but my putting has been much better this spring," said Whiteside, who has finished second three times this season and four in the last two years. "After so many runner-up finishes, I really wanted to win a tournament. And it is so much better winning this way, playing a solid round not having to hang on at the end. It feels really good."
Whitehead made 10 birdies during the final round, including a stretch of four holes in a row and another streak of three straight.
Andres Echavarria, Florida
With a final-round 67 at the Nationwide Tour's Chitimacha Louisiana Open, the redshirt senior finished in second place, one stroke back of eventual champion Brett Wetterich. Echavarria played the Le Triomphe CC course in 12-under 272. Had he been a professional, the Colombia native would have earned $54,000.
The runner-up finish was the second top-20 performance Echavarria has had on the Nationwide Tour in 2011. Earlier this month he finished T-19 at the rain-shortened Bogota Open, which earned him the exemption into the Louisiana event.
Echavarria has a 71.67 stroke average this season for the Gators, having won the Gator Invitational in a playoff earlier this semester while posting five other top-20 finishes.
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Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, Purdue
Playing in the Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, against a field that included six of the top 10 teams on the Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll, the sophomore from Belgium cruised to a six-stroke victory. A final-round 68 (the day's best score) gave her a seven-under 209 total to beat USC's Lizette Salas and UNLV's Therese Koelbaek.
Gonzalez-Escallon's 54-hole score outside San Diego was the season low for the Boilermakers, who also claimed their fourth team title of the season with a 15-over 879, seven strokes better than USC and eight lower than UCLA.