News & ToursApril 10, 2009

This week's syllabus: April 10-16

__FAB FIVE

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

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__[#image: /photos/55ad70abadd713143b421ee9]|||Thumbnail image for Georgia logo 2008-09.gif|||1. Georgia (Last week's syllabus: 1)

The Bulldogs never really seemed on their games at the U.S. Collegiate, yet they still finished in fourth place. You get the feeling they're waiting for the postseason to finally arrive.

Next event: SEC Championship, Frederica GC, Sea Island, Ga., April 17-19

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Conversely, the Cowboys never seemed on their games either at GC of Georgia but finished in 10th place. I can't quite figure out this up-and-down squad, but you've got to respect how good they are when they're up.

Next event: The Aggie Invitational, Tradition GC, Bryan, Texas, April 18-19

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It's amazing that the Tigers hadn't won any tournaments since the spring of 2006 until this week's two-stroke victory at the U.S. Collegiate. As coach Larry Penley said after the final round, this was a much needed win for the team's psyche.

Next event: ACC Championship, Old North State Club, Uwharrie Point, N.C., April 17-19

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The Cardinal can be upset with letting the U.S. Collegiate title slip away, but considering how trying the conditions were, I think a runner-up finish can't hurt their momentum as they come down the stretch.

Next event: U.S. Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., April 18-19

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Solid start but so-so finish at the U.S. Collegiate leads to a T-7 showing. Any disappointment the Huskies might have is only going to push them even more.

Next event: U.S. Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., April 18-19

__WOMEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad70acadd713143b421ef7]|||Thumbnail image for UCLA logo 2008-09.gif|||__1. UCLA __(1)

Not that you want to have your first finish outside the top five come in the event preceding your conference championship, but I don't think there's a lot to worry about for Bruins' fans after their sixth-place finish at the Ping/ASU Invitational.

Next event: Pac-10 Championship, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., April 21-23

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Losing Jaclyn Sweeney due to illness in the final round of their home event helps explain the Sun Devils' late stumble at the Ping/ASU Invitational. Assuming Sweeney isn't sidelined any further, ASU should be fine as it gets ready for the conference championship.

Next event: Pac-10 Championship, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., April 21-23

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The Boilermakers missed out on a second-straight win by just a single stroke at the Ping/ASU event. Meanwhile, Maria Hernandez' fourth individual win of the year has be among the favorites for player of the year.

Next event: Ladies Midwest Shootout, Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Ind., April 11

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Without Lizette Salas and__Jennifer Song carrying the load__, the Trojans would be in pretty rough shape. It's not a good sign when All-American Belen Mozo didn't make the trip to Tempe for the Ping/ASU Invite.

Next event: Pac-10 Championship, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., April 21-23

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The Cowgirls gave Annie Young her first coaching victory at the Ping/ASU event. They might only have five players on their roster, but all five can post low numbers.

Next event: Big 12 Championship, Rawls Course, Lubbock, Texas, April 24-26

__STAT OF THE WEEK

351

__Days it took for Duke senior Amanda Blumenherst to win her 12th college title, tying the school's all-time victory mark. My guess is she didn't think it would take that long to accomplish or come by shooting a 12-over 222 at the Lady Gator Invitational. Still, the trying conditions allowed her to claim medalist honors by two strokes.

How much should we make of Blumenherst's win as it relates to the postseason? I think a lot ... the victory will restore confidence in Blumenherst that has been missing this spring. In turn that can only help the Blue Devils as a group as they try to win yet another ACC title. After tying Auburn in regulation at the Lady Gator (only to lose in a playoff), it would be best not to write off Duke next weekend at Sedgefield CC in Greensboro, N.C.

__WHAT TO WATCH FOR

__* FORMER U.S. Women's Amateur champion Maria Jose Uribe announced Wednesday that she will be leaving UCLA after this year's NCAA Championship. The Bruin sophomore wants to get  back to her native Colombia to be with family as she begins pursuing a pro career.

"Maria left home at the age of 14," said UCLA coach Carrie Forsyth. "She feels the need to reestablish her familial relationships before entering the next phase of her life. It is a decision we all respect."

Uribe has a 73.52 average this season but aside from a T-6 finish at the Topy Cup in Japan hasn't finished in the top 10 individually this season. Still, I think it actually will be beneficial for Uribe and the Bruins that she made this announcement at this time rather than dragging anything out into the postseason. Now Forsyth and the rest of the team knows the situation, so there aren't any rumors spreading or any lingering questions being asked. With the decision behind them all, they can focus on winning a Pac-10 and NCAA title.

  • SPEAKING of good things for the Bruins, Erik Flores sharing the individual title at the U.S. Collegiate also falls into that category. The senior from Grass Valley, Calif., seems to be experiencing his usual spring surge, having played better in the second half of the season each of the years at UCLA. Flores took in stride the unfortunate break he got on the final hole at GC of Georgia--his third shot on the par-5 home hole came to rest in a sand-filled divot hole and his resulting fourth shot found the water, leading to a double bogey. The natural right-to-left hitter says that work on his swing to avoid the big hook has paid off this spring and that he feels like his ball striking has come around. It's exactly what coach Derek Freeman needs to have happen given how precarious the Bruins' position is for the NCAA postseason (their current record is 57-54-2, just barely above the .500 mark needed to be able to receive an at-large bid to regionals).

  • YOU can point to any bad break during the course of any golf tournament as having an equal impact on the outcome, but Flores' divot-induced double bogey could really come back to haunt the Bruins should they struggle at the U.S. Intercollegiate in two weeks or the Pac-10 Championship. If Flores makes a par, UCLA improves two strokes (going from 23-over 887 to 21-over 885) and jumps from T-7 to solo fifth. In the process, they would have passed Washington, Alabama and Texas A&M on the leader board, giving them three more valuable wins (their record would have been 60-52-1)

  • IT wasn't excitement so much as a bit of relief that Clemson coach Larry Penley exuded Tuesday after his Tiger squad charged from 13 strokes back to claim the U.S. Collegiate title. You could sense the frustration Penley has been feeling with a squad that has plenty of talent yet hasn't been able to put everything together. When Penley said that his team was a "pissed off" after a disappointing second round, you got the sense that that was the emotion he was hoping to see from his group.

Meanwhile, the best part about the Tigers' win if you're a Clemson fan is that their final-round performance came with David May actually not counting. The senior has been playing well for Clemson during the spring, but finished with a six-over 78 at GC of Georgia, while Phillip Mollica (69), Kyle Stanley (71) and Luke Hopkins (71) filled the void. "It's about time his teammates picked him up," Penley said. "He's been doing it for them all spring."

__TOURNAMENTS ON TAP

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River Landing Intercollegiate

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

River Landing CC, Wallace, N.C. (Par 72, 6,942 yards)

April 10-11

Host: N.C. State

Field: Duke, East Carolina, Hartford, Houston, Kansas, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rice, Tulsa, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Duke (13-under 851) by nine strokes over N.C. State; Duke's Michael Schachner (seven-under 209) in playoff over Wake Forest's Webb Simpson

Skinny: The 17-year-old event will move to the new Lonnie Poole GC on N.C. State's campus in 2010.

__ASU Thunderbird Invitational

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

Karsten GC, Tempe, Ariz. (Par 71, 7,057 yards)

April 10-11

Host: Arizona State

Field: Arizona, Arizona State, Ball State, BYU, California, Colorado State, CSU Northridge, Denver, Fresno State, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, San Diego State, TCU, UC Irvine, UNLV.

Defending champion: Arizona State (nine-under 843) by 16 strokes over Colorado State and Texas A&M; Denver's Espen Kofstad (three-under 210) by one stroke over Arizona State's Knut Borsheim__

Skinny:__ The Sun Devils have won their home event six of the past 10 years and 13 out of the last 20.

__UK Bluegrass Invitational

__UK Big Blue GC, Lexington, Ky.

April 11-12

Host: Kentucky

Field: Akron, Austin Peay State, Bowling Green, UCF, Cincinnati, Dayton, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville, Kentucky, Lipscomb, Miami, Morehead State, Murray State, Ohio, Toledo, Western Carolina, Western Kentucky

Defending champion: UCF (47-over 899) by 16 strokes over Missouri and Murray State; Western Kentucky's Brent Long and Kentucky's Brian Belden (six-over 219) by three over Murray State's Cameron Carrico

Skinny: Event celebrates Year 2.

__Adidas Hoosier Invitational

__Indiana University GC, Bloomington, Ind. (Par 71, 6,813 yards)

April 11-12

Host: Indiana

Field: Butler, Cleveland State, Colgate, De Paul, Detroit, Eastern Kentucky, Evansville, George Washington, Indiana, IUPUI, Northern Illinois, Oakland, Purdue, Western Illinois, Youngstown State

Defending champion: Eastern Kentucky (14-over 582) by two strokes over Miami (Ohio); Eastern Kentucky's Jesse Massie (three-under 139) by three strokes over Indiana's Santiago Quirarte

Skinny: Perfect place for the host Hoosiers to bounce back after disappointing 14th place finish at U.S. Collegiate

__Robert Kepler Intercollegiate

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

Ohio State's Scarlet Course, Columbus, Ohio (Par 71, 7,455 yards)

April 11-12

Host: Ohio State

Field: East Tennessee State, Eastern Michigan, Iowa, Kent State, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Temple, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Colorado (48-over 900) by three strokes over Michigan State; Michigan State's Ryan Brehm (five-over 218) by four strokes over three others

Skinny: With a win and a third-place finish in its last two events, Kent State might be the hottest team in the field. Plus the Golden Flashes are one of three schools to have won the Kepler, which celebrates its 40th playing this year.

__Palisades Collegiate Classic

__Palisades CC, Charlotte, N.C. (Par 72, 6,797 yards)

April 13-14

Host: Charlotte

Field: Belmont Abbey, Charlotte, Davidson, Elon, Francis Marion, Kennesaw State, Longwood, Louisville, Marquette, Nebraska, Old Dominion, Richmond, VCU, West Florida, Winthrop

Defending champion: Charlotte (eight-under 856) by six strokes over VCU; VCU's Vincent Nadeau (10-under 206) by five strokes over Campbell's Fredric Sundberg

Skinny: With a 26-79-1 record, the host 49ers are going to have to win their conference title if they're going to return to the postseason.

__West Coast Conference Championship

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

Hiddenbrooke GC, Vallejo, Calif.

April 13-14

Field: Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland, St. Mary's, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara

Defending champion: San Diego (24-over 888) by four strokes over Pepperdine and St. Mary's; San Diego's Jake Yount (two-over 218) on second playoff hole over St. Mary's Chadd Cocco

Skinny: Looks like it should be a two-team race between Pepperdine and San Diego. An omen for Toreros? The Waves have been the school to repeat champion since 1983-84

__WOMEN

Ladies Midwest Shootout

__Purdue's Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Ind. (Par 72, 6,333 yards)

April 11

Host: Purdue

Field: Ball State, Cincinnati, Butler, DePauw, Franklin, Indianapolis, IUPUI, Kent State,  Purdue, Vanderbilt, Western Michigan

Defending champion: New event

Skinny: One-day 36-hole affair gives Boilermakers, et al, one more tune-up before the postseason.

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Conference USA Championship

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

Tulsa CC, Tulsa, Okla.

April 12-14

Field: UAB, UCF, East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, SMU, UTEP, Tulane, Tulsa

Defending champion: Tulsa (40-over 904) by 18 strokes over East Carolina; Tulsa's Woori Shin (four-over 220) by six strokes over Memphis's Alexa Porter and Tulsa's Leisl Hasbrouck

Skinny: Tulane is coming off its first victory in its first year back as a D-I program since Hurricane Katrina; could make for an interesting storyline in Oklahoma

__West Coast Conference

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

Hiddenbrooke GC, Vallejo, Calif.

April 12-14

Field: Gonzaga, Pepperdine, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Clara

Defending champion: Pepperdine (41-over 905) by 37 strokes over San Francisco; Pepperdine's Leanne Bowditch and Taylore Karle (four-over 220)

Skinny: San Francisco has won twice this season and hasn't finished outside the top five all year. However, Pepperdine has won the team title here the past seven years.

__Atlantic Sun Championship

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

Victoria Hills GC, Deland, Fla.

April 13-15

Field: Belmont, Campbell, East Tennessee State, Florida Gulf, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Mercer, Stetson, USC Upstate

Defending champion: East Tennessee State (39-over 903) by 25 strokes over Campbell; East Tennessee State's Laura Jansone (10-over 226) by one stroke over Campbell's Belen Diaz Cisneros and Belmont's Lorie Warren

Skinny: East Tennessee State is the highest ranked school in the conference (No. 47)

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Big South Championship__

The Patriot GC, Ninety-Six, S.C.

April 13-15__

Field:__ Bucknell, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, High Point, Holy Cross, Presbyterian, Radford, WInthrop__

Defending champion:__ Charleston Southern (67-over 931) by four strokes over Coastal Carolina; High Point's Ann Marie Dalton and Charleston Southern's Olivia Higgins (13-over 229) by one stroke over Winthrop's Sara Hester

Skinny: Coastal Carolina hasn't won the Big South title since 2005 but enters as the No. 1 seed.

__Mountain West Conference Championship

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

Bayonet-Black Horse GC, Seaside, Calif.

April 16-18

Field: BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Wyoming

Defending champion: New Mexico (12-over 888) by 19 strokes over BYU; New Mexico's Jodi Ewart (even-par 219) by two strokes over New Mexico's Morgan Grantham and BYU's Natalia Jimenez

Skinny: Ewart is going for her third straight MWC individual title.

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