News & ToursNovember 3, 2011

The Syllabus: 2011-12 season nears intermission

__THE FAB FIVE

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

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Men

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1.____Texas (Last week: 1)

For some reason I feel like I have been blindsided by the Longhorns, even though I should have realized just how good this team potentially could have been in August when they qualified five players for the U.S. Amateur. Shame on me. Particularly when you consider that half of the rounds Texas played this fall, the team broke par.

Next event: Fall season over

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2. Oregon (2)

The undefeated season ended yesterday when the Ducks finished third at the Gifford Collegiate. It should take much of the luster off the fall, though, with victories in three events and the re-emergence of Eugene Wong, who had another top-three finish at CordeValle to put him in the hunt for player-of-the-year honors, fall division.

Next event: Fall season over

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3. Arkansas (5)

The Razorbacks victory this past week in Cabo was predictable, given the fact they've won the event the previous year and they had three wins this fall prior to the tournament. But that says so much about the progress that Arkansas has made this fall. That they would have a "predictable" win puts the program into a different category of consideration than most had them in last August.

Next event: Fall season over

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__4. UCLA __(3)

Traveling back across country and having to play less than a week after their victory at the U.S. Collegiate might explain a little bit of the slow start at the Gifford. Still, the Bruins gave it a nice finish to nearly catch cross-town rival USC. A victory and two runner-up finishes in the fall was plenty good enough to think UCLA will be a factor come next spring. that and the fact that Patrick Cantlay is on the roster.

Next event: Fall season over

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5. Washington (4)

After finishing fifth at the Gifford yesterday, Husky coach Matt Thurmond wrote on Twitter about the event being a disappointing tournament for his squad. "We were a bit flat and sloppy. Good reminder of all the things we need to work on in the off season." I think entering the winter break with a chip on your shoulder is a good thing for many teams, this one in particular.

Next event: Fall season over

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Women__

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__1. UCLA __(1)

A little sun and a lot of fun for the Bruins as they closed out the fall yesterday with a 20-stroke victory at the Rainbow Wahine Invite. Six players finished in the top 11, with Lee Lopez claiming medalist honors. As I wrote last week, while the field in Hawaii wasn't the same as at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge, getting a victory in quickly after the runner-up showing the previous week will help UCLA maintain its air of superiority entering the winter break.

Next event: Fall season over

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__2. Alabama __(2)

Mic Potter is a Hall of Fame coach who hardly needs any advice from this ink-stained typist, but if I were him I would remind my team at every off-season workout that they beat UCLA the last time the two teams faced off and that they are just as experienced as the Bruins. Much of the challenge in playing against UCLA next spring is going to be believing you can beat the Bruins. Alabama has done it, so it's not that hard to believe it can happen.

*Next event: *Fall season over

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__3. Auburn __(4)

Think the Tigers have reason to be smiling after this fall season? Auburn claimed its fourth top-three finish with a runner-up showing last weekend at the Landfall Tradition. That's three more than Auburn had during the entire 2010-11 season. Meanwhile, the fact that the team didn't actually win an event, however, will no doubt keep them hungry for the spring.

Next event: Fall season over

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4. Oklahoma State (3)

The Cowgirls posted another top-five finish—their fourth in a row—with their fifth-place showing at the Betsy Rawls. Transfer Kelsey Vines from BYU might prove to be the most valuable "recruit" any school picked up this past summer. Have to like the direction OSU is headed.

Next event: Fall season over

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__5. LSU __(5)

Despite some inconsistency this fall, the Tigers showed too much talent to not take them seriously. Impressive to me is that they were second in the country in final-round scoring average (72.27 per player) earlier this week, suggesting they can close well when they're in contention and they won't give up if they're back of the lead group. Additionally, they're now T-6 in the country in birdies (169). Shows they can go low.

*Next event: *Fall season over

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STAT OF THE WEEK

__[#image: /photos/55ad743eb01eefe207f6aa10]|||Jay Myers action.jpg|||

__5, 65

Number of eagles and birdies, respectively, made by San Jose State's Jay Myers during the fall season, which gives the senior from San Jose a share of the lead in Division I in the former category (along with St. Peter's Andrew Gain, Sacramento State's__Jake Johnson, Maryland's__Sean Bosdosh__ and Colorado's David Oraee) and the outright lead in the later (two more birdies than Idaho's Jarred Bossio).

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

__[#image: /photos/55ad743eadd713143b425844]|||Tweet of the Week 11-3 (375).jpg|||

*—Texas A&M Men's Golf team,

for which Jade Scott is a redshirt sophomore*

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RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

__Am I the only person who hasn't missed the NBA in the least?

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR

__[#image: /photos/55ad743eb01eefe207f6aa14]|||Amy Anderson winning Campbell event.jpg|||

  • As she has seemed to do for the first two years at North Dakota State, Amy Anderson has spent this past fall quietly, and seemingly effortlessly, winning tournaments. The 19-year-old junior claimed medalist honors at this past week's Campbell Fighting Camel Classic (right), making it 13 career wins in 27 starts.

While no formal records are kept by the NCAA regarding all-time career win records, my own research suggests that Anderson has moved into rare territory for college golfers. She just passed Duke's Amanda Blumenherst, who had 12 wins in four years with the Blue Devils, and Arizona's__Lorena Ochoa__, who won 12 times in her two seasons with the Wildcats. Doing a cursory search among top D-I programs, I've struggled to find others with more individual victories. Tulsa's__Nancy Lopez__ won 11 during her time in college. Arizona State's Wendy Ward won 10, the most of any ASU player since 1982. Texas' Michiko Hattori had 10 wins. Florida's Karen Davies had nine as did Oklahoma State's Eva Dahllof.

At the Division II level, Nova Southeastern's__Sandra Changkija__ had 16 career wins from 2007-11. At the junior college level, Daytona State's Mitsuki Katahira claimed 15 wins.

It's a shame that Anderson's feat, if indeed she has broken the D-I record for all-time wins, didn't arrive with more fanfare this past week. Given Anderson's quiet disposition, maybe that's the way she'd like it. But what she's doing at North Dakota State is nothing short of remarkable and I look forward to seeing more of it come the spring. Yes, the level of competition that North Dakota State faces isn't the same as what players at nationally ranked programs see on a regular basis, but 13 victories in 27 starts is a remarkable feat that should be celebrated. And if it turns out she is still behind somebody at the D-I level, then when she picks up a few more victories in the spring, as Anderson is bound to do, hopefully the college golf world will give her the recognition she deserves.

  • Looking at some numbers on Golfstat this week and it reiterated something I—along with many others—suspected even before the start of the 2011-12 season:  the Pac-12 men's player-of-the-year race might be the most competitive we've seen in any conference for quite a while.

I started by counting the number of players that had either won an individual tournament this fall and/or had posted stroke averages of 71.0 or lower (while having played in more than one tournament). Take a guess at how many the total came to?

Six? ... Ha, not even close

Eight? ... Try again.

Ten? ... Getting warmer

Eleven? ... Not quite

Nope, the correct answer is 12. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Patrick Cantlay, UCLA, 70.0 avg.

Rak Cho, Oregon, 70.75 avg.

Spencer Fletcher, Arizona State, co-medalist at Bill Cullum

Max Homa, California, 70.83 avg.

Michael Kim, California, 71.0 avg.

Steve Lim, USC, medalist at Gifford Collegiate

Daniel Miernicki, Oregon, 70.08 avg.

Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington, medalist at The Prestige, 70.6 avg.

Patrick Rodgers, Stanford, medalist at Olympia Fields, 70.5 avg.

Beau Schoolcraft, Colorado, co-medalist at CU Mark Simpson Invite

Chris Williams, Washington, 70.4 avg.

Eugene Wong, Oregon, medalist at Alister MacKenzie, 68.5 avg.

And that doesn't even take into account first-team All-American__Andrew Yun__ of Stanford, whose average dipped from 71.0 to 71.75 after the Gifford Collegiate, fellow Cardinal Cameron Wilson (71.75 avg., and 2010 AJGA player of the year Anthony Paolucci of USC (71.89 avg.).

Of course we're a few months away from action to really pick up, but the possibilities will provide warm thoughts about what's to come for those trying to get through the cold winter.

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__TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

MEN

Amelia Island Intercollegiate

__Amelia National GC, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Nov. 7-8

Host: North Florida/Georgia Southern

Field: Arkansas State, Elon, Francis Marion, Furman, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville, North Florida, Penn State, Troy State, USC Upstate, VCU, Wofford, Winthrop, Xavier, Texas A&M

__Defending champion:New event

Skinny: The Aggies added the event after dates on their scheduled opened up with the rain-out at the Husky Invitational. Could add a second title to this week's Royal Oaks win.

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__Stetson/CFSC Invitational

__Victoria Hills GC, Deland, Fla.

Nov. 7-8

Host: Stetson

Field: Appalachian State, Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, High Point, Lipscomb, Stetson

__Defending champion:__Florida Gulf Coast (-7/857) by 10 strokes over Jacksonville State; Florida Gulf Coast's Daniel Mazziotta (-6/210) by one stroke over USC Upstate's Brad Sill

__Skinny:__Event is played concurrently with the women's tournament.

__WOMEN

Holiday Inn Express/Hatter

__Victoria Hills GC, Deland, Fla.

Nov. 7-8

Host: Stetson

Field: Daytona State, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Lipscomb, Seminole State, Stetson, USC Upstate

__Defending champion:Stetson (+29/893) in three-hole playoff with Daytona State; Daytona State's Mituski Katahira (-9/207) by nine strokes over Jacksonville State's Lucia Fernandez

Skinny: __The host Hatters have won the title here for four straight years. Fifth win is easily in their grasp.

__Challenge at Onion Creek

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Onion Creek, Austin

Nov. 7-8

Host: Texas State

Field: Arkansas-Little Rock, Augusta State, Charleston, Columbia, East Carolina, Indiana, McNeese State, Michigan, Montana, Texas State, Texas Tech, UT-San Antonio, Washington State, Xavier

__Defending champion:Iowa State (+44/884) by five strokes over UALR; Denver's Tonje Daffinrud (+4/214) by one stroke over Kennesaw State's Kat Preamchuen

Skinny: __East Carolina started the fall on a strong note with a win and runner-up finish in its opening two events. Somehow I feel like they might close things out on a high note here, too.

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