News & ToursMarch 10, 2011

This Week's Syllabus: March 10-16

__FAB FIVE

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

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1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

From the play of the other top men's teams of late, the message is clear: nobody is going to hand the Cowboys anything over the course of the next three months. OSU is going to have to earn anything it wins, and that starts with this week's event in Las Vegas. Including 2005, OSU had finished in top five three times (second in 2009) and outside top five three times (11th in 2010).

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 11-13

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2. UCLA (2)

Nice problem to have when you can't get everybody into your lineup. Gregor Main misses out on playing at USC Intercollegiate, comes back and wins medalist honors by six strokes at the Del Walker Intercollegiate. Going to be interesting when Derek Freeman has to pick five guys for NCAA postseason. At least he can use six at Pac-10s.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 11-13

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3. Alabama (3)

You expect solid play from Bud Cauley,Bobby Wyatt,Cory Whitsett and Hunter Hamrick. But freshman__Trey Mullinax__ is starting to look like a fairly reliable fifth man after a T-11 finish in Puerto Rico and a T-24 at Palmetto Intercollegiate, both Crimson Tide team victories. No wonder Jay Sewell has that funny grin on his face.

Next event: Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship, Hawks Ridge GC, Ball Ground, Ga., March 20-22

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4. San Diego State (NR)

Worst stroke average of any of the six players who've played for the Aztecs this season is a 73.22 and that's from their most experienced player, senior Johan Carlsson. Suffice it to say, SDSU will likely be the favorite in every tournament they play up to the Mountain West Conference Championship.

Next event: San Diego Intercollegiate, San Diego CC, Chula Vista, Calif., March 14-15

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5. Florida (5)

Gators leave the friendly confines of Florida this week for coastal Oregon. Kudos to Buddy Alexander for taking his team out west and giving them a very cool experience by having them play in a tournament at the St. Andrews of the United States.

Next event: Bandon Dunes Collegiate, Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon, Ore., March 11-12

WOMEN

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1. USC (Last week: 1)

If you're a Trojan fan, the thing you have to like the most at this point is that in their six tournament starts to date this season, not once has the team dropped down the leader board during the final round of an event. A team final round average of 72.50, best in the country, will do that for you.

Next event: The Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort, San Diego, March 20-22

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2. Alabama (2)

The Crimson Tide are 35-1 head-to-head versus SEC schools this season. No other SEC team has fewer than 7 losses against conference schools. Oh and those three team titles for Alabama look pretty nice on the resume too.

Next event: LSU Golf Classic, University Club, Baton Rouge, La., March 11-13

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3. UCLA (3)

Taking a mini-break to get players through finals (Bruins are on quarters). Coach Carrie Forsyth says the real stretch run for them will begin later this month in San Diego.

*Next event: *The Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort, San Diego, March 20-22

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4. California (4)

With three wins its hard to knock the Bears. Only hitch would be that strength of fields at Peg Barnard and Juli Inkster events. That, of course, would be settled with another strong showing at Rancho Bernardo, where nine top-25 schools will be playing. __ __

Next event: The Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort, San Diego, March 20-22

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5. Duke (NR)

The Blue Devils are winless in 2010-11(haven't claimed a team title since October 2009 actually), but the talent is there and a T-3 finish at the Sugar Bowl to start their spring season leaves room for optimism. Dan Brooks has been known for producing teams where the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. Can he do it again this year?

Next event: LSU Golf Classic, University Club, Baton Rouge, La., March 11-13

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__STAT OF THE WEEK

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__Number of course records held by Washington sophomore Chris Williams (right) after he shot a 62 during a practice round at Seattle GC on Monday, breaking the 18-hole best at the course by three strokes.

According to the Husky golf blog here are the other courses that Williams holds the low mark: Palouse Ridge, Stone Ridge, The Ledge, Wandermere, Gold Mountain, Burley Golf Course, U. of Idaho GC, three different courses in Sun Valley, and now Seattle GC.

__RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

__I don't want to hear anything about any complaining from "bubble" teams out of major conferences that don't make it into the NCAA hoops tournaments this coming weekend. There's an old golf adage that will address each and every situation those schools might face:

Play better!

As for quality teams in lower-profile conferences who failed to win their postseason tournaments and thus will also miss out on "the dance"? I feel a little more of your pain. My hometown school, Fairfield, was 24-7 and won the MAAC men's regular season title but stumbled in the semifinals of the MAAC Championship. A whole season's worth of work and success spoiled in 40 minutes. Sadly, that old golf adage, though, also applies here: Play better!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

*In the span of two-plus weeks, the San Diego State men's program has gone from nice little story to dark-horse NCAA Elite Eight pick. After a quality win over UCLA at the USC Invitational, the Aztecs garned a quantity victory this past week at the Fresno State Lexus Classic—winning the six-count-five event by 26 strokes. That's four team wins for coach Ryan Donovan's group in seven starts.

I talked to Donovan a few weeks ago for a story about his program and Tim Mickelson's San Diego squad for a story that ran in the March 7 issue of Golf World. At the time, Donovan admitted that there was a lot of time left between now and the postseason and noted that he had back-loaded his team's schedule (SDSU has four more regular season starts) so that they would have the opportunity to work out any kinks on the course before NCAA regionals. "We talk about learning each day, that's the way we'll make progress," Donovan said. "That's how we're going to learn from each other and get better and hopefully peak for [the postseason]."

Donovan received a new three-year contract last fall, and he's going to have to earn every penny of it this spring. He needs to keep his group focused and make sure it's not reading its own headlines. Ironically, the best thing he might have going for him is that the San Diego State hasn't gotten through NCAA regionals since 2005.

"I think this group knows deep down if they get [to nationals], they can make a run," Donovan said. "And that's kind of the cool part about it. It's not a false imagination or anything like that. But they've still got to get there. We haven't gotten there the past couple of years so that's probably in the back of our minds as well."

Donovan probably doesn't want to dwell on the postseason slips of late, but used the right way it can keep his team motivated for the remainder of the regular season—and maybe beyond.

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*Looking for a sleeper to win the Pac-10 women's player-of-the-year honors? California's Emily Childs has three individual wins in six starts for the Bears, including back-to-back victories at the Peg Barnard and Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational (photo left) in the last month. The 20-year-old's candidacy is tarnished by the fact she finished outside top 30 in her other three starts. Yet with two high profile events still to play (Rancho Bernardo and Ping/ASU Invitational) before the conference championship, the junior from Alameda, Calif., should at least be in the debate.

__TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

MEN

Bandon Dunes Championship

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

Bandon Dunes Resort (Bandon Dunes GC), Bandon, Ore.

March 11-12

Host: Gonzaga

Field: Boise State, British Columbia, Colorado, Florida, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Mercer, Northern Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, San Jose State, South Carolina, St. Mary's (Calif.), Utah Valley State, Vanderbilt, Washington

Defending champion: New event

Skinny: I want to hear no complaining from anybody participating in this tournament. You're in golf's version of paradise. We're all jealous of you.

__Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters

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

Southern Highlands CC, Las Vegas

March 11-13

Host: UNLV

Field: Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, California, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, UNLV, USC

Defending champion: UCLA and UNLV (+35/899); Arizona State's Jesper Kennegard (+3/219) by one stroke over USC's T.J. Vogel and Florida's Tyson Alexander

Skinny: Tournament once again has a stacked field, with five of the top 10 teams from the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll and 10 of the top 25 competing. … Fun information about the event can be found on the tournament's webpage: shcollegiatemasters.blogspot.com

__Pinehurst Intercollegiate by Gatorade

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

Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst, N.C.

March 11-13

Field: Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Francis Marion, Marshall, Michigan State, Old Dominion, Penn State, Radford, Richmond, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, VCU, Virginia Tech, Western Illinois, Xavier

Defending champion: Virginia Tech (+12/876) by four strokes over Old Dominion; UNC Greensboro's Robert Hoadley (-3/213) by one stroke over Virginia Tech's Mikey Moyers

Skinny: Might not have the most impressive field of this weekend's events, but you can do a lot worse than be playing a tournament in Pinehurst.

__Seminole Intercollegiate

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

Southwood GC, Tallahassee, Fla.

March 11-13

Host: Florida State

Field: Arkansas, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Georgia State, Houston, Jacksonville, James Madison, Kennesaw State, Mississippi State, Mount St. Mary's, Nicholls State, North Carolina, North Texas, South Florida, Troy

Defending champion: Florida State (+13/865) by one stroke over South Carolina; South Carolina's Paul Woodbury (-1/212) in a playoff over Florida State's Seath Lauer

Skinny: A year ago, Seminoles eked out a win over the Gamecocks after Brooks Koepka was DQ'd for signing an incorrect scorecard. Otherwise, would have been a nine-stroke victory over South Carolina

__General Jim Hackler Championship

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

TPC of Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, S.C.

March 13-14

Host: Coastal Carolina

Field: Auburn, Augusta State, Charleston, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Lamar, North Florida, Pepperdine, Tennessee, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: East Tennessee State (+19/883) by three strokes over Coastal Carolina; East Tennessee State's Seamus Power and Pepperdine's Josh Anderson (-1/215)

Skinny: Sneaky good field with Auburn and Virginia playing well right now and Augusta State trying to gain some momentum for a run at defending its NCAA title.

__Rio Pinar Invitational

__Rio Pinar CC, Orlando

March 14-15

Host: UCF

Field: Akron, Ball State, Campbell, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, George Mason, Houston Baptist, Liberty, Marquette, Miami (Ohio), N.C. State, Northern Illinois, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, Toledo, UCF, Wichita State, Winthrop

Defending champion: UCF (-14/850) by 19 strokes over Charlotte; Charlotte's Olafur Loftsson (-7/209) by two strokes over UCF's Brad Schneider

Skinny: N.C. State is the clear favorite here. Could be a nice event for them to try to regain the form the Wolfpack had last fall when they won twice

__San Diego Intercollegiate

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

San Diego CC, Chula Vista, Calif.

March 14-15

Host: San Diego/San Diego State

Field: Air Force, CSU-San Marcos, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Long Beach State, Nevada, Point Loma Nazarene, San Diego, San Diego State, SMU, UT-Arlington

Defending champion:

Skinny: Just a hunch, but I think San Diego has seen what's happened with San Diego State the past few weeks and wants to show that the Aztecs aren't the only D-I team in town that can win.

__WOMEN

LSU Golf Classic

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

http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=2318

University Club, Baton Rouge, La.

March 11-13

Host: LSU

Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Charleston, Duke, Furman, Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulane, UNC Wilmington, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion (2009): Virginia (-8/856) by five strokes over Tulane; Arkansas' Lucy Nunn (-7/209) in playoff Virginia's Calle NIelson and South Carolina's Benedicte Toumpsin

Skinny: Tournament resumes at University Club after a year's hiatus because of course renovation.

__JMU Eagle Landing Invitational

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

Eagle Landing GC, Orange Park, Fla.

March 11-13

Host: James Madison

Field: Campbell, Central Arkansas, Chattanooga, East Carolina, Elon, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgetown, Illinois, Illinois State, Jacksonville, James Madison, Kennesaw State, Longwood, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), South Florida, Stetson, UNC Greensboro

Defending champion: South Florida (+34/898) by six strokes over Illinois; Illinois' Hailey Koschmann (-2/214) by three strokes over Chattanooga's Emma de Groot

Skinny: Chattanooga had earned two straight tournament titles before finishing sixth at last weekend's Gator Women's Invitational. Says here the Lady Mocs ready to return to their winning ways.

__Administaff Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate

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

Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga.

March 13-14

Host: Augusta State

Defending champion: Coastal Carolina (+27/891) by 15 strokes over Augusta State; Coastal Carolina's Aruka Felgueroso (+3/219) by four strokes over Coastal Carolina's Brittany Henderson and Augusta State's Tamara Luccioli

Skinny: Jaguar freshman Casey Kennedy hopes to make it two wins in two starts after taking medalist honors at the Kinderlou Forest Challenge earlier this month.

__Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational

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

Kaneohe Klipper GC, Honolulu

March 14-15

Host: Hawaii

Field: Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, CSU-Northridge, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Hawaii, Hawaii-Hilo, Idaho, Nevada, Notre Dame, Osaka Gakuin, San Houston State, Seattle, UNLV,  Vanderbilt, Washington State, Wichita State, Wyoming

Defending champion: Rollins (+40/904) by one stroke over Nova Southeastern; Fresno State's Louisa Lies (E/216) by five strokes over Nova Southeastern's Sandra Changkija

Skinny: Event is celebrating its 25th anniversary. In the first playing, Hawaii tied with Arizona, the only time the host school has won the tournament. … Day after the tournament, Hawaii will host one-day tournament with Arizona State, Hawaii-Hilo, Osaka Gakuin and Columbia in the field.

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