News & ToursOctober 27, 2011

The Syllabus: Texas three-step at Isleworth

__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: 2)

Like two tennis players facing off, the Longhorns took serve this week in their long distance mano-an-mano with Oregon for the top spot in the Fab Five ... and quickly held it. Not to go all hyperbole on anyone, but the 26-stroke victory at Isleworth (Texas third straight at the event) might have been the most impressive performance in a stroke-play event in some time. As if Jordan Spieth winning the individual title by eight strokes for his first college title wasn't enough, Dylan Fritelli was the runner-up and Julio Vegas was T-6.

Next event: Fall season over

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2. Oregon (1)

OK, Ducks ... it's your serve. Of course it won't be that easy given the quality of the field at the Gifford. The thing Casey Martin's team has going for it, obviously, is momentum given that it hasn't yet lost an event, and depth, which will be key at CordeValle with the play-six, count-five format.

Next event: Gifford Collegiate, CordeValle Resort, San Martin, Calif., Oct. 31-Nov. 2

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__3. UCLA __(4)

Third different lineup in three starts looked like it was a keeper as the Bruins go cross country and claim the U.S. Collegiate title. All five starters had top-25 finishes, with a T-3 from Patrick Cantlay. Nothing super fancy from__Derek Freeman__'s team, but another nice start this week at the Gifford will make the winter break a much more pleasant experience.

Next event: Gifford Collegiate, CordeValle Resort, San Martin, Calif., Oct. 31-Nov. 2

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4. Washington (NR)

The runner-up finishes at the Prestige and this past week at the U.S. Collegiate might be more impressive than the Huskies victory at its rain-shortened home event. The 1-2 punch of Chris Williams and Cheng-Tsung Pan is as strong as any in the country and Cory McElyea,Charlie Hughes and Trevor Simsby show promise that they can hold up their end of the deal. UW should give Oregon and UCLA a run for their money this coming week in California.

Next event: Gifford Collegiate, CordeValle Resort, San Martin, Calif., Oct. 31-Nov. 2

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5. Arkansas (3)

Three wins so far this fall and the Razorbacks are defending champions this week in Mexico. Things look like they're setting up pretty well for a solid finish to a impressive start to the 2011-12 season.

Next event: Cabo Collegiate, Club Compestre GC, Cabo, Mexico, Oct. 27-29

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Women__

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__1. UCLA __(1)

So the idea of an undefeated season is over after the Bruins finished second to Alabama at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge. Still, UCLA remains the deepest team in college golf, what with the WAPL champion, Brianna Do, having been left back in Westwood this past week. What this proves is that the team can't just show up and expect to be given the first-place trophies. But they come with their best games, they're going to win them more often than not.

Next event: Rainbow Wahine Invitational, Kapolei GC, Kapolei, Hawaii, Nov. 1-2

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__2. Alabama __(4)

The Crimson Tide squad that most people figured to see starting this fall finally emerged at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge, taking the team title with an impressive performance by medalist Stephanie Meadow. My guess is that coach__Mic Potter__ wishes he had more fall start to help build the confidence even more in his group as they head to winter break, but his mature team will be fine without it.

*Next event: *Fall season over

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3. Oklahoma State (3)

For the first time in a while, it's not just the Cowgirls that enter a tournament thinking they've got a shot at winning, but the rest of the field as well. It's a different kind of pressure that this team will be facing and it will be interesting to see how the team responds.

Next event: Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, U. of Texas GC, Austin, Oct. 31-Nov. 2

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__4. Auburn __(5)

Make it three top-three finishes with a third-place showing at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge for a squad that's become one of the pleasant surprises this fall. Marta Sanz and Carlie Yadloczky are emerging as a go-to performers, each having carded individual wins and 72.11 or better averages. Have a chance this weekend in North Carolina to prove they're a top-five program.

Next event: Landfall Tradition, CC of Landfall, Wilmington, N.C., Oct. 28-30

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__5. LSU __(2)

A 15th-place finish at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge was obviously not the way the Tigers wanted to end the fall season. Two great wins and two finishes outside the top-10 in four starts suggest an inconsistency that will need to be fixed over the winter. Says here that that this group can, and will, do it.

*Next event: *Fall season over

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STAT OF THE WEEK

2

Number of 63s shot by female college golfers, out of three shot all-time, at Boulder Creek GC in Boulder City, Nevada after Pepperdine sophomore__Grace Na accomplished the feat Monday during the first round of the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown. Na joined Arkansas' Emily Tubert, who shot her 63 in the same tournament in 2010. (The other 63 was by Pepperdine's Katherine Hull in 2003 with Duke's Liz Janangelo holding the all-time record of a 62 set at teh ACC/SEC Challenge in 2004.)

Na didn't miss a fairway or green during her nine birdie/zero bogey performance. She had a chance to shoot a 62, but three-putted the par-5 ninth hole, her last of the day.

Indeed, low numbers appear to be the norm at Boulder Creek. In 2008 Lisa McCloskey, playing then for Pepperdine posted a 17-under 199 to become the first women's player to break 200 for 54 holes. That same year the Waves shot a NCAA team-record 41-under 823.

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

__[#image: /photos/55ad74acadd713143b425d8b]|||Tweet of the week 10-27.jpg|||

[

](http://blog.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/blogs/college-golf/assets_c/2011/10/Tweet%20of%20the%20week%2010-20-48702.html)Jenny King, women's coach, Akron

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RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

__Last swing of the day during a round I played Tuesday happened to become my first career hole-in-one. I am scheduled to play two more rounds of golf before year's end but I'm wondering if I should call 2011 a year after the ace. How can I improve on that?

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR

__* The number that should stand out for fans of the Texas men's golf team isn't the 3 but the 20.67. Sure three straight wins is impressive after the Longhorns victory at Isleworth this week—its the first time a UT team has won three straight events since spring 2002—but it's the 20.67 stroke average margin of victory that's the real eye-opener.

Texas isn't just winning; it's blowing fields out. Having wrapped up its fall schedule, though, the question that now surfaces is whether the momentum of a standout fall will be dampened during the winter break or can John Fields' group pick up where they left off when they open the spring in Hawaii?

With past Texas teams, I might have been inclined to think the former, but this squad feels different. Specifically the talent level is much improved at the top. Senior__Dylan Fritelli__ already has been a conference player of the year in the Big 12 and while last season was a bit of a disappointment, his reemergence this fall shouldn't be a surprise and shouldn't be fleeting. And freshman Jordan Spieth is very special player, so it's hard to think he won't continued his strong play too come next February.

The biggest variables would seem to be Toni Hakula,Cody Gribble and Julio Vegas. Hakula was a pleasant surprise a year ago and has put up solid numbers this year. Gribble had a fifth-place finish at the Jerry Pate but is actually probably underachieving and might be helped by the break. Vegas is the true surprise of the bunch, sporting a 72.17 average with no finish in four starts worse than T-11. Even if Vegas regresses a little in the spring, I suspect Hakula and Gribble will pick up the slack.

Bottom line, I think Texas is for real and will be a factor throughout the 2011-12 season. And I've 20.67 reasons to believe it.

  • So the UCLA women are in fact beatable, as Alabama proved this past week at the Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge. That should be welcome news to the rest of the women's college programs in the top 25 who might have started to wonder if the top-ranked Bruins were going to waltz off with their second-straight NCAA title without breaking much of a sweat.

Yet has the idea that UCLA is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the country really been cracked by a four-stroke defeat to the Crimson Tide? I ask this not sure I really know the answer. But I think the question remains relevant considering the quote from Alabama coach Mic Potter after his team's win.

"I don't think there is any doubt that UCLA is the standard this year," Potter said. "To beat them is always an accomplishment and an honor."

I know "coach speak" involves being respectful of your opponents, particularly when you've been victorious over them. Still, reading Potter's words got me thinking that there has indeed been a pedestal that UCLA has sat on so far in 2011-12 … and that that pedestal might not have been knocked off despite Alabama's victory.

Indeed, the timing of UCLA's runner-up finish might actually be such that it hardly will feel like a loss at all. The Bruins get right back at it in Hawaii this week to finish out the fall at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational. Two Pac-12 foes (Stanford and Washington) will be in attendance but otherwise the field is the weakest of the events UCLA has played thus far. A victory will help wash away the smudge of the SEC/Pac-12 runner-up and will have the Bruins thinking positive entering the winter.

So maybe UCLA is beatable. But the team is still just as imposing.

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TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

MEN

Cabo Collegiate

__Club Compestre GC, Cabo, Mexico

Host: Santa Clara

Field: Arkansas, Arkansas-Little Rock, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Lamar, Loyola Marymount, San Francisco, Santa Clara, S.E. Louisiana, St. Mary's (Calif.), Tennessee, UC Irvine

Defending champion: Arkansas (-10/854) by 22 strokes over Santa Clara; Arkansas' Jamie Marshall (-5/211) by one stroke over Arkansas' Austin Cook, UC Irvine's Jerry He and SMU's Kelly Kraft

Skinny: Cabo in late October ... lets just say that college golfers are a lucky bunch.__

[Bridgestone Golf Collegiate

](http://uncg.prestosports.com/sports/bridgestone/index)__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Forest Oaks CC, Greensboro, N.C.

Oct. 29-30

Host: UNC Greensboro

Field: Georgia State, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Pepperdine, Purdue, South Carolina, Toledo, UNC Greensboro, VCU, Virginia Tech

Defending champion: North Carolina (-31/833) by seven strokes over Auburn; Auburn's Blayne Barber and Northwestern's David Lipsky (-14/202) co-medalists

Skinny: If you want to claim the individual title this week, take note. Not once in the event's six year history has a individual winner shot any round over par.

__Wendy's Kiawah Island Intercollegiate

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

Turtle Point GC, Kiawah Island, S.C.

Oct. 30-Nov. 1

Host: Charleston Southern

Field: Bradley, Boise State, Butler, Campbell, Charleston Southern, Connecticut, George Washington, IUPUI, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota, Murray State, Presbyterian, St. John's, Stetson, Towson, USC Upstate, Western Kentucky, William & Mary, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Indiana (+13/877) by 14 strokes over Campbell; Longwood's Michael Young (E/216) by two strokes over Indiana's David Mills and Campbell's Matt Moot

Skinny: Seven teams are playing again from last year's inaugural tournament.

__The Hummingbird Intercollegiate

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

CC Sapphire Valley, Sapphire, N.C.

Oct. 30-Nov. 1

Host: Western Carolina

Field: Appalachian State, Colgate, Elon, Francis Marion, Furman, Gardner-Webb, Guilford, High Point, IPFW, Jacksonville, Radford, Samford, Tennessee Tech, UAB, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina, Wofford

Defending champion: Jacksonville (-5/563) by six strokes over Vanderbilt; Vanderbilt's Adam Hofmann (-7/135) by two strokes over Kennesaw State's Matt Nagy and Jacksonville's Stephen Healy

Skinny: Vanderbilt has finished second in the event two of the last three years but a Commodore has claimed medalist honors each time, Hudson Johnson winning in 2008.

__Kauai Collegiate Invitational

__Puakea GC, Lihue, Hawaii

Oct. 30-Nov. 1

Host: Hawaii

Field: Charleston, Hawaii, North Dakota State, San Diego, Seattle, Utah Valley State

Defending champion: San Diego (-22/842) by 21 strokes over British Columbia; San Diego's Gunner Wiebe (-8/208) by three strokes over San Diego's Manav Shah

Skinny: San Diego senior Alex Ching is a Lihue native who has to be considered the favorite to claim the individual title.

[__Royal Oaks Intercollegiate

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](http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/m-golf/11royaloaks.html)    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=2789

Royal Oaks CC, Dallas

Oct. 31-Nov. 1

Host: Baylor

Field: Army, Augusta State, Baylor, Duke, Houston, Iowa, Lamar, Missouri, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas A&M, Tulsa

Defending champion: Iowa (-17/551) by five strokes over Texas A&M; Iowa's Vince India (-10/132) by two strokes over Texas A&M's Conrad Shindler

Skinny: Solid field with upstarts in New Mexico and Oklahoma trying to keep Iowa from defending its title and Texas A&M from winning for the third time in four years.

__Gifford Collegiate

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

CordeValle Resort, San Martin, Calif.

Oct. 31-Nov. 2

Host: UCLA

__Field:__Arizona, Coastal Carolina, Long Beach State, Northwestern, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Washington, Washington State

Defending champion: UCLA (+9/1,074) by 13 strokes over Stanford; UCLA's Patrick Cantlay (-6/207) by four strokes over Oregon's Daniel Miernicki and Augusta State's Henrik Norlander

Skinny: All teams will be wearing pink shirts during the first round to help support breast cancer awareness. Each squad is also donating items to be auctioned for the local cancer society.

[__SCVB Pacific Invitational

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](http://www.pacificinvitational.com/)    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Brookside CC, Stockton, Calif.

Oct. 31-Nov. 2

Host: Pacific

Field: BYU, Cal Poly, Charlotte, Colorado State, Denver, Fresno State, Kansas State, Marquette, Nevada, Oregon State, Pacific, UC Davis

Defending champion: Pacific (-25/827) by 19 strokes over Oregon State; Pacific's T.J. Bordeaux (-15/198) by three strokes over Marquette's Kelly Kretz

Skinny: If history holds true, the winner will need to go low. The team champion has been under par four of five years. the average winning score has been 23.6 under par.

__WOMEN

Landfall Tradition

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

CC of Landfall, Wilmington, N.C.

Oct. 28-30

Host: UNC Wilmington

Field: Auburn, Chattanooga, Duke, Florida State, Iowa State, Michigan State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, South Carolina, Tulane, UNC Wilmington, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: UCLA (+16/880) by five strokes over North Carolina; Virginia's Brittany Altomare and UCLA's Tiffany Lua (-2/214) co-medalists

Skinny: Want to know why the field is so strong (seven teams from the most recent Golf World/NGCA women's coaches' poll)? The tournament gets some of the best local support among any college event in the country.

__Lady Paladin Invitational

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

Furman GC, Greenville, S.C.

Oct. 28-30

Host: Furman

Field: Appalachian State, Augusta State, East Tennessee State, Elon, Georgia State, High Point, James Madison, Longwood, Montana State, Nova Southeastern, Samford, South Florida, Winthrop, Wofford

Defending champion: Chattanooga (+51) by 14 strokes over Georgia State; Georgia State's Charotte Lorentzen and Nova Southeastern's Sandra Changkija (+7/223) co-medalists

Skinny: It's the 40th playing of the event, whose past champions include Betsy King (Furman, 1975 & 1977), Nancy Lopez (Tulsa, 1976), Dottie Pepper (Furman, 1986 & 1987) and Kelly Tilghman (Duke, 1990).____

__The Alamo Invitational

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

Briggs Ranch, San Antonio

Oct. 30-Nov. 1

Host: UT-San Antonio

Field: Baylor, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri State, Nebraska, New Mexico State, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas State, Texas Tech, UCF, UT-San Antonio

Defending champion: TCU (+13/877) by three strokes over Texas A&M; TCU's Brooke Beeler (-4/212) by one stroke over Colorado's Jessica Wallace

Skinny: Hard not to think a Texas school is going to walk off with this year's title.

__Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational

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

University of Texas GC, Austin, Texas

Oct. 31-Nov. 2

Host: Texas

Field: Arizona, Arkansas, Denver, Florida, Iowa, Kent State, Mississippi State, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Princeton, Texas, Tulsa, UNLV, Wisconsin

__Defending champion (spring 2010): __UCLA (+20/884) by six strokes over Arizona; Texas A&M's Sarah Zwartynski (-3/213) by six strokes over Vanderbilt's Marina Alex

Skinny: Notoriously the Betsy Rawls has run into weather issues in the spring, so Texas coach Martha Richards decided to move it to the fall for the first time in its 37-year history. … The nascent Longhorn Network will broadcast a two-hour highlights package of the event Nov. 6.

__Rainbow Wahine Invitational

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

Kapolei GC, Kapolei, Hawaii

Nov. 1-2

Host: Hawaii

Field: BYU, CSU-Fullerton, Florida International, Mercer, Rutgers, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah Valley, Washington

Defending champion: New event

Skinny: Hawaii had hosted the Turtle Bay Resort College Invitational the last two years but now goes back to Kapolei GC after previously holding the Kent Youel Invitational there from 1999-2008.

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