News & ToursMarch 27, 2009

This week's syllabus: March 27-April 2

__FAB FIVE

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

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__[#image: /photos/55ad7165add713143b422c4d]|||Thumbnail image for Georgia logo 2008-09.gif|||1. Georgia (Last week's syllabus: 1)

The Bulldogs responded well to the head-to-head competition they had with Oklahoma State in winning the Linger Longer Invitational last weekend by two strokes.

Next event: U.S. Collegiate, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga., April 5-7

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Conversely, the Cowboys inability to close out a tournament is beginning to become worrisome for fans in Stillwater. There's no question about their talent, though, as evidenced by Trent Whitekiller, playing as an individual, taking medalist honors at the Linger Longer.

Next event: Morris Williams Intercollegiate, University of Texas GC, Austin, Texas, March 30-31

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3. Indiana (NR)

The Hoosiers got to the finals of the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship after winning the Big Ten Match Play in February. If they can get to the Elite Eight at nationals, you've got to like their chances.

Next event: U.S. Collegiate, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga., April 5-7

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4. Washington (NR)

The Huskies' runaway win at this week's Duck Invitational gives them three team titles and seven top-five finishes in eight starts. Three individual wins from junior Nick Taylor, most ever by a UW player in a single season, puts him in the thick of the player-of-the-year race.

Next event: U.S. Collegiate, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga., April 5-7

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Sophomore Steve Ziegler, medalist at the USC Collegiate, continued to have a hot hand, finishing T-10 in the Callaway Match Play qualifier.

Next event: U.S. Collegiate, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga., April 5-7

__WOMEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad7164b01eefe207f67f6e]|||Thumbnail image for UCLA logo 2008-09.gif|||1. UCLA (1)

Why have the Bruins been able to win five times in seven starts? Well, UCLA's average drop score (75.73) is almost two strokes lower than the next best school (Virginia, 77.66).

Next event: Ping/ASU Invitational, Karsten Course at ASU, Tempe, Ariz., April 3-5

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A bit of a surprise that the Sun Devils stumbled in the final round at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational last weekend, falling to Purdue, but nothing to worry about for ASU fans.

Next event: Ping/ASU Invitational, Karsten Course at ASU, Tempe, Ariz., April 3-5

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The Trojans are in the top-10 in six statistical categories (first-round scoring average, last-round average, par 3, 4 and 5 scoring and birdies). The last one, they're second in the country with 254 birdies on the year.

Next event: Ping/ASU Invitational, Karsten Course at ASU, Tempe, Ariz., April 3-5

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The Boilermakers didn't just win the Betsy Rawls title, but they did it in impressive fashion, breaking the tournament's 54-hole scoring record (set in 1983) by 18 strokes.

Next event: Liz Murphey Collegiate, University of Georgia GC, Athens, Ga., March 27-29

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The Cowgirls have the second lowest adjusted scoring average in the country (72.51) while playing a schedule that currently ranks the second toughest in Division I.

Next event: Liz Murphey Collegiate, University of Georgia GC, Athens, Ga., March 27-29

__STAT OF THE WEEK

71.66

__Career stroke average of Clemson's Kyle Stanley through 85 rounds. The junior from Gig Harbor, Wash., who is playing in the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational this week thanks to his victory at the Southern Amateur last summer, remains second on the Tigers' all-time scoring list, just shy of D.J. Trahan's 71.49 mark. He has dropped the career average .06 strokes during the 2008-09 season.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • N.C. State sophomore Matt Hill returns to Bulls Bay GC this week to defend his individual title at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. If he is successful, the 20-year-old from Brights Grove, Ontario, will have three straight victories this spring (having won the General Hackler and Schenkel E-Z-Go titles in his last two starts) and four wins during the 2008-09 season. If this were to happen, I think he becomes the front-runner for men's national player of the year. Consider that his worst finish in seven starts to date is a T-14 and he currently has a 70.32 average. With the possible exception of Washington's Nick Taylor, Hill is the hottest player in men's golf as we blog. I don't see him cooling down this week either.

  • Stanford men's coach Conrad Ray told me in a recent e-mail exchange that he's hopeful Joseph Bramlett will return before the spring but that progress on the junior's injured wrist has been slow. On the Cardinal's team blog, Bramlett noted in mid-March that he still wasn't practicing. "I'm trying to stay patient, as everyone has reminded me, and hopefully come April and May this will pay off," he wrote.

More interesting, and insightful, was Bramlett's thoughts about what he's been going through of late: "It has been frustrating at times, however with the physical limitations that have been placed on me I have tried to grow in other ways. I've found things in my game that I can work on without a club and hopefully make my transition back into playing a little bit easier and faster. I definitely learned a lot about returning after an injury last year and although there is nothing enjoyable about not being able to play, I am extremely motivated and excited to get the chance to play again. It's amazing how many people take this game for granted and my appreciation and love for the game has definitely grown."

Talk about a mature young man. You can't help but feel for him as he's spent his second straight spring unable to do the thing he loves.

  • Conspicuous by his absence at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship was Alabama freshman Bud Cauley, who had been in the line-up for the Crimson Tide in their previous six tournaments. According to coach Jay Seawell, Cauley is suffering from a bone bruise in his right wrist. He is undergoing regular treatment for the injury, says Seawell, who expects him to be able to play at the U.S. Collegiate April 5-7.

__TOURNAMENTS ON TAP

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Furman Intercollegiate__

Furman University GC, Greenville, S.C. (Par 72, 6,944 yards)

March 27-29

Host: Furman

Field: Appalachian State, Charleston Southern, Davidson, East Carolina, Elon, Francis Marion, Furman, Marshall, North Florida, Old Dominion, Presbyterian, Rhode Island, Samford, Temple, Troy, Virginia Tech, Western Carolina, Winthrop, Wofford

Defending champion: Chattanooga (10-over 874) by three strokes over Clemson; Chattanooga's Jonathan Hodge (three-under 213) by one stroke over Vanderbilt's Jon Curran

Skinny: Past individual champions include Curtis Strange (Wake Forest, 1974), Jay Haas (Wake Forest, 1976), Mark Calcavecchia (Florida, 1979), Brad Faxon (Furman, 1983) and David Duval (Georgia Tech, 1991)

__FAU Spring Break Championship

__   (For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Gleneagles CC, Delray Beach, Fla.

March 27-29

Host: Florida Atlantic

Field: Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Illinois, Iowa, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, Missouri, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, St. John's, Wisconsin

Defending champion: New Event__

Skinny:__ Inaugural tournament has a pretty solid field with Illinois (No. 6 in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll) and several Golfstat top-50 programs; also has six of Golfstat's top 50 individual players in the field

__Western Intercollegiate

__   (For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Pasatiempo GC, Santa Cruz, Calif.

March 29-31

Host: San Jose State

Field: Brown, California, Colorado, Denver, Fresno State, Kansas, Long Beach State, Mercer, Michigan State, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, San Jose State, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, UC Santa Barbara, Wyoming

Defending champion: St. Mary's (40-over 880) by one stroke over Michigan State and UC Irvine; Michigan State's Jack Newman (four-under 214) by two strokes over St. Mary's Michael McRae

Skinny: Tournament celebrates its 63rd playing and maintains its tradition of being played on this Alister Mackenzie gem. Going to take a lot of work for St. Mary's (No. 158 in the Golfstat ranking) to defend its team title

Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Bulls Bay GC, Awendaw, S.C.

March 29-31

Host: Bulls Bay GC

Field: Augusta State, UCF, Charleston, Chattanooga, Clemson, Georgia State, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, USC Aiken, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: N.C. State (14-under 838) by 12 strokes over Clemson and South Carolina; N.C. State's Matt Hill (nine-under 204) by two strokes over Virginia Tech's Jurrian vander Vaart

Skinny: With the Wolfpack's victory here a year ago, they have finished in the top five in eight of their last 13 tournaments.

__Diet Pepsi Shocker Classic

__Wichita CC, Wichita, Kan. (Par 71, 6,814 yards)

March 30-31

Host: Wichita State

Field: Bowling Green State, Colorado State, Drake, Iowa State, Kansas State, Liberty, Missouri-Kansas City, Nebraska, Northeastern State, Northern Colorado, Oklahoma Christian, Oklahoma City, South Dakota State, South Florida, Texas-Arlington, UTEP, Western Illinois, Wichita State

Defending champion: Wichita State (three-over 855) by nine strokes over SMU; UT Arlington's Kevin Carrigan (seven-under 206) by four strokes over SMU's Kelly Kraft

Skinny: NAIA's Oklahoma City still holds the record for low single round team score in this event (seven-under 271 in 1999)

Morris Williams Intercollegiate

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

University of Texas GC, Austin, Texas (Par 71, 7,412 yards)

March 30-31

Host: Texas

Field: Air Force, Arkansas, Baylor, BYU, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Rice, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UNLV, USC

Defending champion: Texas (16-over 868) by six strokes over Oklahoma State; Texas' Bobby Hudson (five-under 208) by four strokes over Texas' Charlie Holland

Skinny: Hudson's final-round 65 last year set a new course record at University of Texas GC; the course will host one of the six men's regionals in May

Anteater Invitational

El Niguel CC, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (Par 72, 7,016 yards)

March 30-31

Host: UC Irvine

__Field:Arizona, Cal Poly, CSU Northridge, Loyola Marymount, Portland, Sacramento State, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UTEP, Weber State

Defending champion: Santa Clara (seven-under 857) by four strokes over UC Irvine; Santa Clara's Scott Travers (eight-under 208) on third playoff hole over Loyola Marymount's Brian Locke

Skinny:__ Tournament, celebrating its 29th playing, moves to El Niguel after being played at Santa Ana CC a year ago.

__Larry Nelson Collegiate Invitational

__   (For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Woodlands at Chateau Elan, Braselton, Ga. (Par 72, 6,750 yards)

March 30-31

Host: Kennesaw State

Field: Belmont, Belmont-Abbey, East Tennessee State, Florida Gulf Coast, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Morehead State, Murray State, Stetson, USC Upstate, UT Martin, Tennessee Tech

Defending champion: Kennesaw State (26-over 878) by 22 strokes over Campbell; Mercer's Andrew An, Armstrong Atlantic's Chris Wolfe and Central Arkansas' Gideon Pienaar (two-over 215)

Skinny: Seven Atlantic Sun conference rivals face off in the second annual event.

__

WOMEN

Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

University of Georgia GC, Athens, Ga.

March 27-29

Host: Georgia

Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Georgia, Kansas, Kent State, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Georgia (36-over 900) in playoff over Purdue; Purdue's Maria Hernandez and Christel Boeljon (two-over 218)

Skinny: Another stout field in this 37-year-old event; five of the top eight teams and 11 of the top 25 in the latest Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll are competing

Mountain View Collegiate

Mountain View GC, Tucson, Ariz. (Par 72, 6,263 yards)

March 28-29

Host: Colorado

__Field:__Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Fresno State, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan, MIssouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Jose State, Texas Tech, UNLV, Washington State

Defending champion: Indiana (16-over 880) by nine strokes over San Jose State; Indiana's Lauren Harling (one-under 215) by one stroke over San Jose State's Erica Moston

__Skinny:__Bad news for the Hoosiers: in the tournaments 10 years, no school has ever repeated as the team champions. In fact, no team have won the title more than once.

__John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate

__Eagles Landing CC, Stockbridge, Ga. (Par 72, 6,047 yards)

March 30-31

Host: Georgia State

Field: Augusta State, Campbell, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Elon, Furman, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, James Madison, Maryland, Miami, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina__

Defending champion:__ Georgia State (29-over 613) in playoff over Jacksonville State; Mississippi State's Suzanne Stanley (one-over 147) by two strokes over East Tennessee State's Maria Ringdahl and Miami's Maria Ronderos

Skinny: Last year's victory by the Panthers was only the second time in 15 years that the host school has won the event. The tournament expands to 54 holes for the fist time since 2002.

__Anteater Invitational

__Dove Canyon CC, Dove Canyon, Calif.

March 30-April 1

Host: UC Irvine

Field: Cal Poly, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, CSU Northridge, CSU San Marcos, Eastern Washington, Idaho, Long Beach State, Nevada, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, San Francisco

Skinny: Tournament returns after one-year hiatus.

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