News & ToursFebruary 26, 2009

This week's syllabus: Feb. 27-March 5

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

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  1. Georgia (Last week's syllabus: 1)

After 122 days for their winter break, the Bulldogs finally resume their season. Senior Adam Mitchell is left back in Athens as UGa's starting five includes Brian Harman, Hudson Swafford, Harris English, Russell Henley and Michael Green.

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

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  1. Oklahoma State (3)

The Cowboys are coming off the same 122-day layoff. OSU has won once before in Puerto Rico, taking the team title in 2003.

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

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  1. Stanford (NR)

With Joseph Bramlett still sidelined, the Cardinal impress with 10-stroke victory at USC Collegiate. Medalist Steve Ziegler closes with 68-65, his two lowest rounds of the 2008-09 season. Meanwhile, David Chung's T-5 finish makes him fifth Stanford golfer this season to card a top-10.

Next event: Callaway Match Play Championship, The Farms GC, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., March 22-24

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  1. Southern California (2)

Long-term diagnosis for Jamie Lovemark and his broken finger seems good. Short term, however, the Trojans are going to miss him, as evidence by fourth-place showing at their home event this week.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 13-15

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  1. Florida (NR)

Two straight wins to start the spring--Golden Ocala and SunTrust Gator Invite--but U of F still needs to step up against tougher competition. Puerto Rico could be where we find out just how good Buddy Alexander's squad really is.

Next event: Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar GC (River Course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 27-March 1

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  1. UCLA (1)

The Bruins shake off the third-place showing at Northrup Grumman with a nine-shot victory at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational. Seriously, did you think UCLA was just going to roll over and let ASU take the No. 1 ranking?

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail GC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10

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  1. Arizona State (2)

Bad news: The Sun Devils lose to UCLA at the Arizona Wildcat. Good news: senior Jennifer Osborn posted her best finish of the season (T-7).

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail GC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10

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  1. USC (3)

The defending NCAA champs aren't going anywhere, finishing tied for second at the Arizona Wildcat. With co-medalist honors giving her a share of a second victory, sophomore Lizette Salas is making a bid for national player of the year.

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail GC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10

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  1. Wake Forest (4)

Statistics don't measure a team's confidence, so it's hard to give you data behind why I think this group should be ranked ahead of ACC rival Virginia or Big Ten favorite Purdue. There's just something about the Demon Deacons that intrigues me so I'm going to stay on the bandwagon.

Next event: LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic, University Club, Baton Rouge, La., March 13-15

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  1. Auburn (5)

The Tigers' average drop score is highest among any of the top 10 teams in the Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll (80.82) but they have the 10th toughest schedule.

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail CC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10


__STAT OF THE WEEK

30__

Number of career victories for UCLA women's coach Carrie Forsyth in her 9 1/2 years since taking over the program in Westwood. Her 30th title came last Tuesday when the Bruins won the Arizona Wildcat.

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • I think I was one of many people who gave the UCLA men the benefit of the doubt after a sloppy fall season. Yet the defending NCAA champions didn't seem to have all that much fire as they posted a fifth-place finish during their spring season at the USC Collegiate Invitational earlier this week. Outside of freshman Gregor Main, who finished third individually to make it four top-20 performances in four starts, no Bruin has played with any real consistency during the 2008-09 campaign. UCLA heads cross country for the General Jim Hackler event in Myrtle Beach next week, then flies all the way to Las Vegas to play less than a week later at the Southern Highlands Collegiate.__ Derek Freeman__'s group better find some magic in those two events--the Bruins are just 5-9 head-to-head against Pac-10 opponents since September--or it's going to be tough to build any real momentum before the post-season arrives.

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__TOURNAMENTS ON TAP

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Puerto Rico Classic__

Rio Mar River Course, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico (Par 72, 6,902 yards)

Feb. 27-March 1

Host: Purdue

Field: Alabama, Clemson, East Tennessee State, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kent State, Michigan, Minnesota, N.C. State, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Texas, Virginia Tech

Defending champion: Alabama (10-under 854) by three strokes over Oklahoma State; Alabama's Matthew Swan (12-under 204) by five strokes over Oklahoma State's Rickie Fowler

Skinny: Six of the top 15 teams in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll are in the field, with No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Oklahoma State making their spring season debuts.

Braveheart Classic

Oak Valley GC, Beaumont, Calif.

March 2-3

Host: UC Riverside

Field: Arizona, Cal Poly, CSU Northridge, Gonzaga, Kansas State, LaVerne, Long Beach State, Loyola (Ill.), Loyola Marymount, Missouri-Kansas City, Oral Roberts, Oregon, Sacramento State, Southern Utah, Tennessee, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Utah State

Defending champion: Cal Poly (36-over 900) by eight strokes over UC Riverside; UC Riverside's Nick Paez and Spencer Paschall (four-over 200)

Skinny: Tournament sports the strongest field in its history.

Lonnie D. Small Spring Classic

Keith Hills, Buies Creek, N.C.

March 2-3

Host: Campbell

__Field:__Belmont, Campbell, Charlotte, College of Charleston, Davidson, Elon, Florida Gulf Coast, Gardner-Webb, Georgetown, High Point, Longwood, Presbyterian, Queens U., Stetson

Defending champion: Campbell (seven-over 583) by one stroke over Elon; USC Upstate's Josh Gallman (three-under 141) by one stroke over Elon's Jimmy Lytle, Seton Hall's Kyle Morris and Campbell's Matt Moot

Skinny: Host Camels are looking for their eighth victory in their home event since 1985. Course will also host the Atlantic Sun Championship in April

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Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational__

Almaden CC, San Jose, Calif.

March 2-3

Host: San Jose State

Field: Boise State, California, UC Davis, UC Irvine, Colorado, Colorado State, Fresno State, Georgia State, Hawaii, Miami, Oregon, San Diego State, San Francisco, San Jose State, Stanford, Washington

Defending champion: California (35-over 899) by five strokes over San Jose State; UC Irvine's Selanee Henderson (two-over 218) by two strokes over California's Allison Goodman and Pia Halbig

Skinny: The tournament has been renamed in honor of Inkster, who won 17 college events in her career at SJSU, including this tournament in 1981.

USA Lady Jaguar Classic

Azalea City GC, Mobile, Ala.

March 2-3

Host: South Alabama

__Field:__UAB, Arkansas State, Belmont, Florida International, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, Lamar, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, Middle Tennessee State, Nicholls, Sam Houston State, Samford, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Troy

Defending champion: East Tennessee State (24-over 600) by 17 strokes over Southern Mississippi; East Tennessee State's Sinead O'Sullivan (one-under 143) by three strokes over Southern Mississippi's Virginia Espejo__

Skinny: __Three years in the books and the tournament has only been won by teams from the state of Tennessee (Middle Tennessee in 2006, '07; ETSU in 2008).

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Pinehurst Challenge__

Pinehurst No. 6, Pinehurst, N.C.

March 2-3

Host: College of Charleston

Defending champion: East Carolina (46-over 910) by 10 strokes over East Tennessee State; College of Charleston's Steffi Kirchmayr (one-over 217) by five strokes over East Carolina's Emelie Lind

Skinny: As if hosting the 43-team Edwin Watts/Kiawah Classic wasn't enough work last week, C of C helps run this event in North Carolina.

Wave Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Moorpark CC, Moorpark, Calif

March 3-4

Host: Pepperdine

Field: BYU, CSU Northridge, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, UNLV

Defending champion: New event

Skinny: The Wave women host their first tournament since spring 1999. The event will only be a 36-hole affair. The presidential history buff in me in jealous that players will get a tour of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library after the practice round.

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