News & ToursFebruary 7, 2008

This week's syllabus: Feb. 7-13

THE FAB FIVE

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

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  1. Charlotte __ (Last week's ranking: 1)

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The 49ers currently have the best winning percentage in the country (60-2, .968) and the lowest adjusted scoring average of any team (70.49). Plus, they hit 77.8 percent of their fairways as a team and 69.6 percent of greens in regulation.

Next event: John Hayt Collegiate Invitational, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Feb. 17-19

2. Alabama (2)

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Including play in junior varsity events, eight of the nine Crimson Tide players to compete in the fall posted top-10 finishes. Meanwhile, the squad has a final-round stroke average of 71.55 (286.2 team total).

Next event: John Hayt Collegiate Invitational, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Feb. 17-19

3. Tennessee (3)

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After closing the fall with a victory at the Turtle Bay Classic, the Volunteers picked up where they left off with a three-stroke victory over UNLV at the Ping/Arizona Intercollegiate last week Best news of all for coach Jim Kelson: all five players finished in the top 21 individually.

Next event: John Hayt Collegiate Invitational, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Feb. 17-19

__4. Georgia __ (4)

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The Bulldogs' average drop score through the fall was 75.03, best in the country. Only concern would be that the team started slow in the fall (sixth-place showing in the Carpet Capital Classic).

Next event: Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 29-March 2

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  1. UCLA __ (5)

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The Bruins are perfect no more with a third-place finish at the Ping/Arizona event, 15 strokes off of Tennessee's winning pace. (Blame it on a poor first round.) Senior Kevin Chappell held up his end of the bargain, however, with a 15-under 198 showing that included a closing-round 64, good enough for his fourth college title.

Next event: John Hayt Collegiate Invitational, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Feb. 17-19

__WOMEN

  1. Duke__ (1)

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Give the Blue Devils their due: Their schedule is ranked third in the country, lowest of all but one school in the latest Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll. Moreover, just one other top-five team has a schedule ranked better than 10th.

Next event: Arizona Wildcat Invitational, Arizona National GC, Tucson, Feb. 25-27

2. Arizona State (2)

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In the last two seasons, the Sun Devils have won or finished second in their first two tournaments of the spring.

Next event: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 11-13

3. UCLA (3)

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The Bruins went 34-4 against top-25 opponents this fall, second only to Duke.

Next event: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 11-13

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  1. USC (4)

Two Trojans--Belen Mozo and Lizette Sales--have hit more than 90 percent of their fairways in the fall, according to Golfstat.

Next event: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 11-13

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  1. Auburn (5)

The Tigers have the benefit of a new practice facility that's just opened in the past few months to help them during the off-season.

Next event: Arizona Wildcat Invitational, Arizona National GC, Tucson, Feb. 25-27

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STAT OF THE WEEK__

62

The new 18-hole scoring record for the Southern California men's golf team after sophomore Rory Hie posted the number in the second round of the UH-Hilo Invitational. The school's old mark of 63 was held by Hunter Mahan (2000 Jerry Pate Intercollegiate) and Jamie Lovemark (2007 NCAA West Regional).

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • With 36 holes in the books at the UH-Hilo Invitational, defending champion Stanford has a five-shot lead on Arizona State, after posting a 22-under 538 score at the Waikoloa Village GC on the Big Island. The Sun Devils have benefited from the debut of freshman Stephan Gross, who has posted a 64-68 in his first two rounds. He is one-shot back of teammate Jesper Kennegard and USC sophomore Jamie Lovemark in the individual competition.

  • Like on the men's side, there are a few notable January additions to rosters for various top-ranked women's team. Notable is 13th-ranked Pepperdine, which adds __Martine de Gannes __a native of Trinidad & Tobago, to the lineup when the Waves play at the Northrop Grumman early next week. She replaces Nicole Montgomery, an Aussie who left school after the fall semester and turn pro.


__TOURNAMENTS TO FOLLOW

MEN

SunTrust Gator Invitational__

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

University of Florida GC (Par 70, 6,701 yards)

Gainesville, Fla.

Feb. 9-10

Host: Florida

__Field:__Alabama-Birmingham, Coastal Carolina, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Florida, South Alabama, South Florida, Wake Forest __

Defending champion: Florida (10-over 850); Manuel Villegas, Florida (six-under 204)

Skinny: __Entering its 31st year, the Gator Invite has seen Florida play the role of bad host on numerous occasions. UF has won the last four titles, seven of the last nine, 16 of the last 19, and 21 of 30 overall. Still, the Gators, ranked 10th in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll aren't the top ranked team in the 14-school field this week, with No. 9 Duke owning that designation. No. 11 Florida State and No. 17 Wake Forest are the other two ranked teams set to play.

__WOMEN

Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge__

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

Palos Verdes GC (Par 71, 5,912 yards)

Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

Feb. 11-13

Host: Ohio State

__Field:__Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Denver, Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Southern California, Stanford, TCU, Texas A&M, UCLA, Wake Forest

__ Defending champion: __Pepperdine (30-over 882); Misun Cho, Pepperdine (five-over 218)

__ Skinny:__ The spring opener for the women is no event to just ease your way out of spring break as 12 of the 15 teams are ranked in the top 25 in the latest Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll, including five of the top 10.

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