News & ToursJanuary 8, 2009

This week's syllabus: Early January edition

__THE FAB FIVE

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

__MEN

  1. Georgia __ (Last syllabus: 1)

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Fall results: 4 starts; 2 wins (Brickyard Collegiate; Isleworth/UCF Collegiate), 3 top-5s, 4 top-10s

If UGa can remain the lead 'Dogs come nationals, Chris Haack would become just the fifth coach since 1950 to win a third NCAA title, joining North Texas' Fred Cobb, Houston's__Dave Williams__, Oklahoma State's__Mike Holder__ and Wake Forest's Jesse Haddock.

Spring opener: Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar GC (River course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 27-March 1

__2. Oklahoma State __ (2)

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Fall results: 3 starts; 1 win (Ping/Golfweek Preview), 2 top-5s, 3 top-10s

I owe Trent Leon an apology. I figured the newly arriving freshmen would be pushing the senior out of the starting lineup this year. Turns out it's Leon who's showing the youngsters how to play.

Spring opener: Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar GC (River course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 27-March 1

__3. USC __(3)[

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The jury is still out on Matt Giles, but the Aussie sophomore's top-four finishes in both his fall starts were a pleasant lift for the Trojan faithful.

Spring opener: UH Hilo Invitational, Mauna Lani North Course, Kohala Coast, Hawaii, Feb. 4-6

__4. Alabama __ (4)

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Fall results: 4 starts; 1 win (Jerry Pate Collegiate), 3 top-5s, 4 top-10s

If only all programs could have "rebuilding" years like the Crimson Tide are experiencing in 2008-09. Jay Seawell just better hope his group closes out a season better than U of A's football team.

Spring opener: John Hayt Collegiate Invitational, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Feb. 22-24

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  1. Illinois __ (5)

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Fall results: 5 starts; 3 wins (Olympia Fields, Windon Classic, D.A. Weibring), 4 top-5s, 4 top-10s

Fighting Illini have to be happy to have their new indoor practice facility up and running. Today's predicted high temperature in Urbana, Ill.: 26 degrees.

Spring opener: Big Ten Match Play tournament, Coral Springs, Fla., Feb. 13-14


__WOMEN

  1. UCLA__ (1)

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Fall results: 4 starts; 3 wins (Topy Cup, Mason Rudolph, Stanford Intercollegiate), 4 top-5s

Attending summer school last year allows senior Tiffany Joh to have fewer classes this spring, leaving plenty of time to work on her game and finish off her college career in style.

Spring opener: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 9-11

__2. Arizona State __(3)

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Fall results: 3 starts; 2 wins (NCAA Fall Preview, Derby Invitational), 3 top-5s

Could Jaclyn Sweeney, released late last semester by Oklahoma State, be carrying a Sun Devil bag this spring? Officials at ASU aren't talking, but the Sun Devils have a vacancy with__Anna Nordqvist__'s departure.

Spring opener: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 9-11

__3. USC __(2)

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Fall results: 4 starts; 3 top-5s, 4 top-10s

Is it just me or does anyone else have this sneaking suspicion Belen Mozo is about to have a monster spring?

Spring opener: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 9-11

__4. Oklahoma State __(4)

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Fall results: 4 starts; 3 top-5s, 4 top-10s

New coach Annie Young has little depth with Sweeney's departure (now there are only five on the roster). Then again, Sweeney only played once for the Cowgirls last fall anyway. Bottom line: OSU will sink or swim based on the play of Pernilla Lindberg and Caroline Hedwall.

Spring opener: Arizona Wildcat Invitational, Peninsula GC, Puerto Penasco, Mexico, Feb. 22-24

__5. Wake Forest __ (5)

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Fall results: 4 starts; 2 wins (Lady Tar Heel, Landfall Tradition), 2 top-5s

I'm sticking my neck out for the Lady Demon Deacons, and that their two victories to close the fall are a better indication of this team's potential than the ninth and 14th place finishes to open the fall.

Spring opener: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 9-11__

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STAT OF THE WEEK, PART I____

115__

Number of days the Oklahoma State women's team is off from competition between the fall and spring semesters  (Final round of the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown was Oct. 29 and the first round of the Arizona Wildcat Invitational is Feb. 22)

__STAT OF THE WEEK, PART II

106__

Number of days the Oklahoma State women's golf team was off from competition during the summer.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Quinneykatie

  • From the "careful-what-you-wish-for" department: Katie Quinney takes over as new women's coach at Coastal Carolina Jan. 16 after serving as the Florida State assistant the past three seasons. On paper, it's a nice move for an up-and-coming coach, but the 27-year-old inherits a program that was put on two-year probation by the NCAA last month due to improper financial aid being given by former women's coach Brian Ashley to two players on the squad during the 2007-08 season. Ashley resigned in December 2007, and NGCA Hall of Fame coach Eileen (Beans) Kelly came out of retirement to take over the program last January only to step down for personal reasons in September. The good news for Quinney is that the program did not lose any scholarships or receive any kind of post-season ban for its rules violation. The good news for Coastal Carolina is that Quinney's energy and enthusiasm can likely offset some of the tarnish left on the program.

  • Overshadowed by Carlota Ciganda and Giulia Molinaro coming to Arizona State, the arrival of Ayaka Kaneko at Pepperdine could have an equally important impact for the 10th-ranked Waves by making an already strong lineup that much deeper. The Honolulu native, runner-up at the 2007 U.S. Girls' Junior, began freshman orientation in Malibu yesterday and is all set to play this spring. Kaneko will benefit from having four freshmen on the roster who having just gotten their first semesters under their golf bags and can offer her valuable (and recent) perspective.

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  • Registration for this summer's Under Armour College Golf Combines has opened with more than 80 high schoolers already signed up to participate in one of five regional locations this June and July. The format of these two-day events, where prospective student athletes can showcase themselves to college coaches, will be the same as last summer: one day of skills challenges, where participants will demonstrate their proficiency in different areas of the game (putting, short game, trouble shots, etc.), and one day of competition. Courses hosting the combines are Ocean City GC in Berlin, Md. (East); Inverray CC in Lauderhill, Fla. (Southeast); Horseshoe Bay Resort in Marble Falls, Texas (South); Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind. (Midwest); and East Valley GC in Beaumont, Calif. (West). For more information, go to www.collegegolfcombines.com.

  • After quietly having a standout fall--71.83 average, three top-5s and four top-10s in four starts--Auburn junior Candace Schepperle continued her solid play with a one-shot victory last week at the Dixie Amateur. The 20-year-old from Birmingham, Ala., shot a 14-under 274 at Heron Bay Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., and from there opened the first round of the Harder Hall Invitational one stroke off the lead yesterday with a one-under 71.

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