124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

This Week's Syllabus: March 24-30


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



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1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

The Cowboys pick up their fifth win of the season at the Duck Invitational and their second without Peter Uihlein in the lineup. Latest OSU "secret" weapon: Sean Einhaus, who has carded two top-10 finishes in two starts since playing in his first event of the season earlier this month.Mike McGraw's crew is starting to get some separation from rest of the NCAA title contenders

Next event: Administaff Augusta State Invitational, Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga. April 2-3


2. UCLA (3)

Patrick Cantlay surprisingly only goes 2-2 at the Callaway Match Play, despite being a semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur last August and having blistered fields in stroke-play events all spring. Similarly, the top-seeded Bruins had mixed reviews in Georgia, finishing seventh in the brackets. Still, all is good in Westwood.

Next event: Administaff Augusta State Invitational, Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga., April 2-3


3. Alabama (2)

No team seemed more the victim of the vagaries of match play at the Callaway event than the Crimson Tide, which finished in 12th place by week's end. The sobering reality is that lots of success in stroke play isn't enough if you want to claim the NCAA title.

Next event: Linger Longer Invitational, Reynolds Plantation (Great Waters), Greensboro, Ga., March 27-29


4. Auburn (NR)

Lots of close calls—three runner-ups and a third in the last four events—finally yielded a victory for the Tigers over SEC rival Florida at the Schenkel Invite. You get the feeling this was the breakthrough Nick Clinard's squad had been eyeing for a while now.

Next event: Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, Bulls Bay GC, Awendaw, S.C., March 27-29__

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5. Florida (4)

The Gators can get their rematch with Auburn at Bulls Bay this week after falling to the Tigers in a playoff at the Schenkel. Bank Vongvanij made sure people don't forget his candidacy for national player of the year with his third individual victory.

Next event: Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, Bulls Bay GC, Awendaw, S.C., March 27-29



1. USC (Last week: 1)

Played solidly in the final round at the Rancho Bernardo Inn event but Purdue's edge was too big to overcome. Still, the Trojans held off UCLA to finish second and maintained a streak of nine top-three finishes dating back to the NCAA Central Regional last spring.

Next event: Ping ASU Invitational, Karsten GC, Tempe, Ariz., April 1-3


2. Purdue (NR)

There have probably been more bumps along the route than Devon Brouse thought his Boilermakers team would have encountered up to this point in the 2010-11 season, but he's got to like how his train engine is moving right about now. A nice win at Augusta State is followed up by a high-profile triumph at Rancho Bernardo. Three wins and six top-fives on the season for the defending NCAA champs is pretty solid as the postseason beckons.

Next event: Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, University of Georgia GC, Athens, Ga., April 1-3


3. UCLA (3)

Third-place finish at Rancho Bernardo isn't too shabby, particularly considering the Bruins had four players record top-20 finishes. Stephanie Kono's T-8 was her fourth top-10 of the season, giving her the team lead.

Next event: Ping ASU Invitational, Karsten GC, Tempe, Ariz., April 1-3


4. Alabama (2)

A little downtime before heading to Athens probably isn't the worst thing in the world for the Crimson Tide. They still have three players (Brooke Pancake, No. 11;Stephanie Meadow, No. 16;Camilla Lennarth, No. 21) ranked in the Golfstat Cup top 25.

Next event: Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, University of Georgia GC, Athens, Ga., April 1-3


5. California (4)

A third-straight triumph might have been a little much to ask from the Bears, but their 13th-place finish at the Rancho Bernardo was a let down considering the momentum they had built. As Nancy McDaniel said afterward, though, better to experience a lull like this in March than in May.__ __

Next event: Ping ASU Invitational, Karsten GC, Tempe, Ariz., April 1-3




Head-to-head record for the TCU men's team this past week after playing in the Desert Shootout (finishing third out of 15 schools) and the NIT (finishing T-4 out of 15 schools). In the process the Horned Frogs elevated their overall record on the season from 34-50-3 to 56-55-4.


__Is it just me, or does it feel wrong that the Kent State men have yet to face any school from the Mid-American Conference in their seven starts this season? (And won't see won in their next event, the Towson Invitational, either.)



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*(Photo courtesy of USGA/Steven Gibbons)


It's not likely on the minds of__Lindy Duncan__ and Kim Donovan and the rest of the team, but they've got some history to live up to in the next few weeks. "I think it's going to come down to how hard we work," Duncan said regarding whether the first win was going to come soon. "It seems like we've been putting in some good hours and playing a lot of rounds in some tough conditions. I think it's a matter of time … just keep putting in the work and eventually it will happen, hopefully."



Barona Collegiate Cup

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

Barona Creek GC, Lakeside, Calif.

March 24-25

Field: Arizona, Arkansas State, Colorado, Loyola Marymount, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego, San Diego State, Santa Clara, St. Mary's (Calif.), UTEP, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Utah, Wyoming, Xavier

Defending champion: San Diego State (-8/1,072) by 22 strokes over UC-Irvine; UC-Irvine's John Chin (-12/204) by three strokes over San Diego State's Johan Carlsson

__Skinny:__While not the official host, San Diego will be playing close to home and is in need of a bounce-back tournament to rebuild a little confidence. This event might not have come at a better time for the Toreros. ... Tournament will employ the six-play/count-five format again this year. __ __

__Border Olympics

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

Laredo CC, Laredo, Texas

March 24-26

Host: Houston

Field: Air Force, Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Indiana, Lamar, Liberty, Kansas, Kansas State, New Mexico State, North Texas, Oklahoma, Rice, Texas State, Toledo, UT Arlington, UT San Antonio, Washington State, Wichita State

Defending champion: Texas State (+12/876) by four strokes over Oklahoma; Baylor's Joakim Mikkelsen (-3/213) by two strokes over Auburn's Kyle Kopsick

Skinny: The host Cougars are closing out a busy month, having played three other events in March in three different time zones.

__FAU Spring Break Championship

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

Gleneagles CC, Del Ray Beach, Fla.

March 25-27

Field: Connecticut, DePaul, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Marquette, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Minnesota, Murray State, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, South Florida, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Illinois (-10/842) by 18 strokes over Iowa; Illinois' Chris DeForest (-8/205) by four strokes over Iowa's Barrett Kelpin, Eastern Michigan's Cam Burke, Notre Dame's Doug Fortner

__Skinny:__Not quite the elite field as a year ago, but still likely to be a competitive event as several northern schools make a last trip down south before conference post-season tournaments begin.

[__Linger Longer Invitational


](http://www.lingerlongerinvitational.com/)    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Reynolds Plantation (Great Waters course), Greensboro, Ga.

March 27-29

Field: Alabama, Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Charlotte, East Tennessee State, Florida State, Furman, Georgia, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Memphis, Stanford

Defending champion: Oklahoma State (+1/865) by two strokes over Alabama; Alabama's Bud Cauley (-12/204) by six strokes over Oklahoma State's Kevin Tway

__Skinny:__Alabama is likely looking for payback from narrowing missing out on a win here a year ago (although it won't be able to get their revenge on Oklahoma State this time). Plus, the Crimson Tide probably aren't all that happy about their performance at the Callaway Match Play. Sounds like the ingredients for a strong performance. __ __

__Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate

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

Bulls Bay GC, Awendaw, S.C.

March 27-29

Host: Bulls Bay GC

Field: Auburn, Augusta State, Charleston, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, North Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: LSU (-7/845) by one stroke over Wake Forest; N.C. State's Matt Hill (-9/204) by two strokes over Wake Forest's Lee Beford

Skinny: Four out of the first six years of the tournament, the medalist has been a player from Augusta State (Scott Jamieson, 2005; Jamie Miller, 2006; Wallace Booth, 2007; Janne Kaske, 2009). With Henrik Norlander coming off a win at the General Jim Hackler, could he be the next Jaguar to triumph at Bulls Bay?

__UALR/First Tee Collegiate Classic

__Chenal CC, Little Rock, Ark.

March 28-29

Host: UALR

Field: UALR, Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Illinois State, Iowa State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Missouri, Missouri State, Oral Roberts, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, UM-Kansas City, Western Kentucky

Defending champion: Southeastern Louisiana (+1/865) by eight strokes over Missouri; Missouri's Stuart Ballingall (-15/201) by 10 strokes over North Texas' Rodolfo Cazaubon

__Skinny:__Ballingall had the best tournament of his young college career a year ago when he lapped the field after tying the school's 18-hole scoring mark with a second-round 63. Can the good vibes from the place return?


__Mountain View Collegiate

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

Mountain View GC, Tucson

March 25-26

Host: Colorado

Field: Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Colorado State, Gonzaga, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Jose State, Texas State, Texas Tech, Wyoming

Defending champion: Colorado State (+26/890) in a scorecard playoff with Texas Tech; Texas Tech's Gabriella Dominguez and Missouri's Julia Potter (+3/219)

__Skinny:__Curious which Arkansas team is going to show up. The one from the first round of the LSU Golf Classic, which stumbled out of the gate, or from the second and third rounds, which rallied for an impressive victory.

__Bryan National Collegiate

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

Bryan Park GC (Champions Course), Brown Summit, N.C.

March 25-27

Field: Charleston, Duke, Florida State, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Northwestern, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington

Defending champion: Florida State (+9/873) by one stroke over Wake Forest; Wake Forest's Cheyenne Woods (-5/211) by two strokes over Tennessee's Nathalie Mansson

__Skinny:__Duke had won the team title here five straight times (2001-05) but has yet to win the event since 2005.

__U. of Cincinnati Spring Invitational

__Plantation Inn GC, Crystal River, Fla.

March 25-27

Host: Cincinnati

Field: Campbell, Cincinnati, Eckerd, Elon, Embry Riddle, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Southern, Houston Baptist, Marshall, McNeese, Mercer, Morehead State, North Dakota State, North Texas, Oakland, Ohio, Rutgers, Seminole State, Seton Hall, St. Andrews, Stetson, UAB

Defending champion: Illinois (+29/893) by 12 strokes over Stetson; Stetson's Alex Buelow (E/216) by two strokes over Illinois' Hailey Koschmann

Skinny: Wide open event with interest mix of teams in the field.

__Anteater Invitational

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

Dove Canyon CC, Dove Canyon, Calif.

March 27-29

Host: UC Irvine


Defending champion: San Diego State (+47/899) by six strokes over San Francisco; Idaho's Kayla Morellaro (+1/ 214) by three strokes over UC-Irvine's Hillary Packard