News & Tours
April 21, 2011

This Week's Syllabus: April 21-27

__FAB FIVE

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

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1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

The team winning streak ended at three with the Cowboys runner-up finish at the Aggie Invitational, but Peter Uihlein's return to the college game went swimmingly with his individual victory. Meanwhile, it's hard to pick against OSU at Prairie Dunes as Uihlein, Morgan Hoffmann and Kevin Tway have all had two top-10 performances there, each finishing either second or first once.

Next event: Big 12 Championship, Prairie Dunes GC, Hutchinson, Kan., April 25-27 [#image: /photos/55ad73eaadd713143b425412]|||Florida logo.gif|||

2. Florida (NR)

A year's worth of built up confidence became evident quickly at Sea Island, as the Gators jumped to an early lead and never lost control en route to their 15th SEC title, and first since 2003. Meanwhile, the emergence of Andres Echavarria in the last few months gives U of F a 1-2 punch (with Bank Vongvanij) that might rival any in the country.

*Next event: *NCAA Regionals, May 19-21__

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3. UCLA (3)

The Bruins victory at the Western Intercollegiate last week showcased what a balanced squad they've got in Westwood. Four golfers placed in the top 15, with their fifth coming in T-23. Going to be particularly important considering Pac-10s are a play-six, count-five tournament

Next event: Pac-10 Championship, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., April 29-May 1

4. Alabama (2)

The Crimson Tide didn't fall to Florida at SECs without a fight, posting their best team score during the final round only to still fall short of the Gators. A bad first round, however, cost them, something coach Jay Seawell I'm sure will be reminding the boys the next few weeks to make sure its not something they repeat at regionals.

*Next event: *NCAA Regionals, May 19-21__


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__5. Texas A&M (NR)

Sure, playing at home might have helped as the Aggies knocked off No. 1 Oklahoma State last week in winning the Aggie Invite. That said, they did win by 18 strokes and it was the team's 10th top-five finish in 11 starts this year. Can you say sleeper?

__Next event: Big 12 Championship, Prairie Dunes GC, Hutchinson, Kan., April 25-27

WOMEN

1. USC (Last week: 3)

Big time win for the Trojans at Pac-10s, particularly having to play without Lisa McCloskey in the final round after she WD'd with a rib injury. Her status will obviously be a question mark for the NCAA postseason. USC is talented enough to get through without her at regionals but winning an NCAA title will be much tougher.

Next event: NCAA Regionals, May 5-7

2. UCLA (2)

Hard to find fault with a squad who had all five players finish inside top 22 at the Pac-10s. Still the Bruins' third-place team finish at Karsten GC had to be a disappointment given the way Carrie Forsyth's group was playing. Shows just how solid you've got to be playing to be victorious in the postseason.

Next event: NCAA Regionals, May 5-7

3. Alabama (1)

The Crimson Tide might have gotten a taste of their own medicine when they fell to Auburn on the Tigers' home course last week in finishing second at SECs. A year ago, Bama won the title on one of its home courses. The good news was the impressive play of their No. 5 player, Hannah Collier, who carded a T-6 finish. That said, they need__Jennifer Kirby__ and Camila Lennarth to turn things around here soon to have their best shot at an NCAA title.

Next event: NCAA Regionals, May 5-7

4. Purdue (4)

Hard to think the Boilermakers aren't without a lot of confidence as they try to claim their fourth straight Big Ten title after posted wins at Augusta State and San Diego and a runner-up showing at the Liz Murphey. The defending NCAA champions look like their peaking at the right time.

Next event: Big Ten Championship, Lake Shore CC, Glencoe, Ill., April 22-24

5. Arizona (NR)

The Wildcats have quietly posted two wins and nine top-five finishes in 10 starts this season, and were the ones making USC nervous in the final round at Pac-10s. Will the experience gained from last year's win at NCAA Regionals carry over to 2011?

Next event: NCAA Regionals, May 5-7

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STAT OF THE WEEK

__ 40

The approximate average margin of victory by the Oral Roberts women in winning the Summit League each of the last 14 years. The Golden Eagles claimed this year's crown by "only" 26 strokes on Western Illinois. Oral Roberts has never lost the conference title.

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RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

__ Just when the cynic in me questions people's character, I have a week like this where at least five strangers have told me the taillight in my car is out. All trying to be helpful too!

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR__

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TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

MEN

____ACC Championship

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

Old North State Club, New London, N.C.

April 22-24

Field: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Georgia Tech (-23/841) by 13 strokes over Virginia; Georgia Tech's Chesson Hadley (-10/206)

Skinny: Georgia Tech has won four times in the last five years at Old North State and has four players back from a year ago. That said, Virginia and Clemson have been playing well as the spring has progressed.

__Colonial Athletic Association Championship

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

Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst, N.C.

April 22-24

Field: Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Towson, UNC Wilmington, VCU, William & Mary

Defending champion: Towson (+45/885) by 11 strokes over William & Mary; Delaware's Justin Martinson (+3/213) by four strokes over Old Dominion's Eric Onesi

__Skinny:__Does last year's Cinderella, Towson, have an encore?

__Horizon League Championship

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

Mission Inn Resort, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

April 22-24

__ Field:__ Butler, Cleveland State, Detroit-Mercy, Loyola (Ill.), Valparaiso, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wright State, Youngstown State

Defending champion: Detroit-Mercy (+11/875) by six strokes over Wisconsin-Green Bay; Youngstown State's Ryan Stocke (-1/215) by one stroke over Wisconsin-Green Bay's Chad Edert

__Skinny:__Neither of the conference's usual top teams, Detroit Mercy and Cleveland State, have a great record this season but UDM did win its home tournament last weekend to help build some momentum.

__Ivy League Championship

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

Galloway National GC, Galloway, N.J.

April 22-24

Field: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Yale

Defending champion: Columbia (+50/890) by three strokes over Yale; Penn's Scotty Williams (+4/214) in playoff over Columbia's Clark Granum

__Skinny:__It really does seem to be anybody's title to win. Yale, Princeton, Penn and Columbia are all ranked between 160 and 189 by Golfstat.

__Boilermaker Invitational

__Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Ind.

April 23-24

Host: Purdue

Field: Bowling Green State, Chicago State, Hartford, Idaho, IUFW, IUPUI, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Purdue, Western Illinois

Defending champion: Illinois (-10/854) by 13 strokes over Ohio State; Illinois' Chris DeForest (-10/206) by six strokes over Ohio State's Brad Smith

Skinny: Curious to see how Notre Dame does coming off the post-Big East Championship high?

__Robert Kepler Intercollegiate

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

The Scarlet Course at Ohio State, Columbus, Ohio

April 23-24

Host: Ohio State

Field: Ball State, Dayton, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Xavier

Defending champion: Eastern Michigan (+9/861) by two strokes over Penn State; Penn State's Kevin Foley (-8/205) by four strokes over Charlotte's Corey Nagy

Skinny: Wonder if the scores will be as high as at the Lady Buckeye Invitational there last weekend, when 10-over won medalist honors? Eastern Michigan won the title last year with a tournament record score over nine-over 861.

__Conference USA Championship

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

Texarkana CC, Texarkana, Texas

April 24-26

__Field:__East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Mississippi, Tulsa, UAB, UCF, UTEP

Defending champion: UCF (-6/858) by 18 strokes over Rice and Southern Mississippi; Rice's Christopher Brown (-7/209) by UCF's Brad Schneider, Connor Arendall and Nuno Henriques

Skinny: Rice had its first C-USA medalist last year with Christopher Brown. This year, the Owls' Michael Whitehead may well make it two in a row.

__State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship

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

Club at Proto Cima, Lake Ozarks, Mo.

April 25-26

__ Field:__ Bradley, Creighton, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Wichita State

Defending champion: Wichita State (+82/922) by 11 strokes over Southern Illinois; Wichita State's Dustin Garza (+13/223) by four strokes over Wichita State's Anders Engell and Drake's Brad Reierson

__Skinny:__While winning nine of the last 12 MVC titles, Wichita State has never won more than three in a row. Well the Shockers are the three-time reigning champs entering this year's tourney. Missouri State has never one the MVC but is currently ranked highest in the conference.

__Big 12 Championship

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

Prairie Dunes GC, Hutchinson, Kan.

April 25-27

Field: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

Defending champion: Oklahoma State (-19/1,1133) by 13 strokes over Texas A&M; Texas Tech's Chris Ward (-9/279) by two strokes over Oklahoma State's Peter Uihlein

Skinny: There was a four-year period where Oklahoma State didn't win the conference title (2001-04). Apparently that made them mad in Stillwater because they have won six out of seven since then and are favorites again this year.

__Ohio Valley Conference Championship

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

GreyStone GC, Dickson, Tenn.

April 25-27

Field: Austin Peay State, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Murray State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Tennessee-Martin

Defending champion: Murray State (+1/865) by 18 strokes over Morehead State; Murray State's Nick Newcomb (-1/215) by one stroke over Murray State's Jared Wolfe

Skinny: Six different teams have won the OVC title in the last eight years.

__Southland Conference Championship

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

Waterchase GC, Fort Worth

April 25-27

Field: Central Arkansas, Lamar, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin State, Texas State, UT-Arlington, UT-San Antonio

Defending champion: Southeastern Louisiana (-2/862) by 11 strokes over Central Arkansas; S.E. Louisiana's Alvaro Arizabaleta (-8/208) by eight strokes over Sam Houston State's Fergal Rafferty and Central Arkansas' Steven Lecuyer

__Skinny:__Southeastern Louisiana has never repeated as Southland champions ... until this year.

__Sun Belt Conference Championship

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

The Shoals—Fighting Joe Course, Muscle Shoals, Ala.

April 25-27

Field: Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Denver, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, South Alabama, Troy, Western Kentucky

Defending champion: South Alabama (+8/872) by six strokes over Middle Tennessee State; New Orleans' Oscar Zetterwall (-8/208) by five strokes over North Texas' Rodolfo Cazaubon

__Skinny:__Middle Tennessee State has won three tournaments this spring and is the favorite to take their second Sun Belt title in three years.

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WOMEN

Northeast Conference Championship

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

LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla.

April 21-23

Field: Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary's, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (N.Y.), St. Francis (Pa.), Wagner

Defending champion: Fairleigh Dickinson (+100/964) by three strokes over LIU; LIU's Natalie Desjardins (+10/226) by two strokes over Fairleigh Dickinson's Michele Holzwarth

__Skinny:__The defending champions have claimed four team titles this season and look ready for No. 5.

__ Ohio Valley Conference Championship

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

GreyStone GC, Dickson, Tenn.

April 21-23

Field: Austin Peay State, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Murray State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech

Defending champion: Jacksonville State (+22/598) by six strokes over Murray State; Austin Peay State's Chelsea Harris (+1/145) by one stroke over Jacksonville State's Lucia Fernandez

__Skinny:__Morehead State enters the tournament with the best ranking according to Golfstat, but the Eagles have never won the OVC title

__State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship

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

Weibring GC, Normal, Ill.

April 22-23

Field: Bradley, Creighton, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Wichita State

Defending champion: Illinois State (+45/909) by 14 strokes over Drake; Drake's Olivia Lansing (+3/219) by three strokes over Illinois State's Laura Harris

Skinny: Illinois State is three-time defending champs and playing on their home course. Not sure its a good choice to pick against them.

__Big Ten Championship

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

Lake Shore CC, Glencoe, Ill.

April 22-24

Field: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Purdue (+12/1,164) by 26 strokes over Michigan State; Purdue's Laura Gonzalez-Escallon (-8/290) by three strokes over Michigan's Ashley Bauer

Skinny: Lone Division I women's conference to play 72 holes for its championship.

__Big 12 Championship

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

The Club at Old Hawthorne, Columbia, Mo.

April 22-24

Field: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

Defending champion: Texas A&M (+32/896) by one stroke over Oklahoma State; Oklahoma State's Caroline Hedwall (-6/210) by eight strokes over Baylor's Hannah Burke

__Skinny:__Can Iowa State continue its impressive season by claiming its first Big 12 title? It's more of the more intriguing questions of the postseason in my mind. Texas hasn't won since 2004 and I think is going to have a say in the matter.

__Colonial Athletic Association Championship

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

Pinehurst No. 6, Pinehurst, N.C.

April 22-24

Field: Dayton, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Richmond, Towson, UNC Wilmington, William & Mary, Xavier

Defending champion: Georgia State (+59/923) by nine strokes over James Madison; Georgia State's Charlotte Lorentzen (+1/217) by 10 strokes over James Madison's Nicole Sakamoto

__Skinny:__Last time the conference championship was held at Pinehurst No. 6 was in 2006, when Georgia State claimed the crown.

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____Horizon League Championship

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

Mission Inn Resort, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

April 22-24

Field: Butler, Cleveland State, Detroit-Mercy, Loyola (Ill.), Valparaiso, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Youngstown State

Defending champion: Detroit-Mercy (+79/943) by nine strokes over Youngstown State; Detroit-Mercy's Alainna Stefan (+10/226) by three strokes over Detroit-Mercy's Marni Achterhoff

Skinny: Three different champions in three years with Butler winning in 2008 and Youngstown State in 2009. Butler is the top-ranked team according to Golfstat (at No. 158).

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____Ivy League Championship

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

Atlantic City CC, Northfield, N.Y.

April 22-24

Field: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Yale

Defending champion: Penn (+65/929) by 22 strokes over Yale; Yale's Alyssa Roland (+11/227) by one stroke over Penn's Isabel Han

__Skinny:__Yale has the conference's dominant player in freshman Seo Hee Moon. Hard to see anyone stopping her or the Bulldogs.

__Mid-American Conference Championship

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

Longaberger GC, Nashport, Ohio

April 22-24

Field: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan

Defending champion: Kent State (+28/892) by 19 strokes over Ball State; Kent State's Martina Gavier (+2/218) by three strokes over Ball State's Brittany Kelly

Skinny: Maybe all you need to know is the next time somebody other than Kent State wins the title, it will be the first time somebody other than Kent State has won the title.