News & ToursMarch 4, 2010

This week's syllabus: March 4-10

__THE FAB FIVE

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

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1. Stanford (Last week: 1)

Go figure, the Cardinal get Joseph Bramlett back in the lineup (finishing T-16) but see David Chung miss a start because of illness. Chung's absence didn't help Stanford's cause at the USC Invitational, resulting in an eighth-place finish. It was the worst of the season for Stanford, but my guess is it was also a one-time slip.

*Next event: *Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship, Ritz-Carlton GC, Dove Mountain, Ariz., March 21-23

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2. Oklahoma State (2)

The Cowboys had a big weekend without even playing in a college event as former OSU stars Hunter Mahan and__Rickie Fowler finish 1-2 at the PGA Tour's Waste Management Phoenix Open__. Just think how deep this squad might be if Fowler had come back for his junior season in 2009-10?

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 12-14

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3. Texas (3)

Biggest fear of any coach whose team gets hot early in the spring: Are we peaking too early? I have to believe that's crossing John Fields' mind in Austin only about every 15 minutes. That said, after talking to Bobby Hudson and Cody Gribble last week for an article in Golf World, I think the players are buying into an us vs. them mentality that could be highly motivating.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 12-14

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__4. Oregon __(NR)

I'm quoting from a press release touting the Ducks' 16-stroke victory Tuesday at the USC Invitational. "It was incredible," said head coach Casey Martin of his team's dominance. "This was a stacked field and the guys came out and just smoked them." Not sure I could have said it better.

Next event: Fresno Lexus Challenge, San Joaquin CC, Fresno, Calif., March 8-9

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OK, Husky fans … the Ducks are for real so your claim to supremacy in the Northwest (let alone in the Pac-10) is starting to be challenged. The good news is you'll get to face Oregon head-to-head in Fresno this week and it's a tournament where you're the defending champions. Looking like a better showdown by the day.

Next event: Fresno Lexus Challenge, San Joaquin CC, Fresno, Calif., March 8-9

WOMEN

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The Trojans overcome a four-stroke deficit entering the final round of the Bruin Wave Invitational to win by two. The third victory of the season for USC also brings some personal redemption for Lizette Sales (fourth place) and Jennifer Song (T-10) after had their season's worst showings at the Arizona Wildcat two weeks earlier.

Next event: Ping ASU Invitational, Karsten GC, Tempe, Ariz., April 9-11

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Three players finish in the top 10 at the Bruin Wave, but the Sun Devils come up two strokes shy of victory. The good news is that it appears Carlota Ciganda is starting to round into form. She did the same thing this time last year and made a huge post-season impact.

Next event: Ping ASU Invitational, Karsten GC, Tempe, Ariz., April 9-11

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Another tournament, another top-five finish, another start without a win. Losing the final-round lead at the Bruin Wave Invitational, eventually finishing in third place six strokes back of USC, has to sting for the Bruins a bit considering they co-hosted the event.

Next event: Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, University of Texas GC, Austin, Texas, March 26-28

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Almost there Crimson Tide fans. Only a few more days of waiting before you play your second spring tourney. What are we to expect? A repeat of the Lady Puerto Rico victory might a little much to expect given the more than month long layoff.

Next event: Tiger-Wave Classic, English Turn GC, New Orleans, March 12-13

5. Texas A&M (NR)

The Aggies claim their third victory of the season at the UCF Invitational. Granted the field wasn't as strong as in year's past, but a W is a W. You could make the argument that graduate student Julia Boland might be the most valuable player of any college team right now after winning her third individual title as well.

Next event: Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, University of Texas GC, Austin, Texas, March 26-28

STAT OF THE WEEK

152.45

Average Golfstat rank of the teams in the field* at the Wendy's Charleston Shootout, not including the winning Georgia men's squad.

I promise, this is the last I'll mention of the tournament that the Bulldogs added mid-season. And I want to make it clear that Georgia did NOTHING outside the rules when adding the tournament after having a rain-shortened event in the fall (The Brickyard) give them a chance to schedule an additional tournament.

But …

Compare the field strength in Charleston to the five previous tournaments that Georgia has played during the 2009-10. Then compare it to the field strength in the four events the Bulldogs are going to be playing before the NCAA postseason. No doubt Chris Haack was trying to give his guys a chance to play in another event, but given what UGa is going to face in terms of competition in the next few weeks, after how they've fared thus far this season, can you honestly tell me if adding 14 wins at the Charleston event didn't at some point cross his mind?

__Event                        Avg. Golfstat ranking of opponents in field** __

Carpet Capital            29.6

Olympia Fields           25.57

Brickyard Collegiate    44.57

Isleworth                    25.21

Puerto Rico                47.07

__Upcoming events

__Southern Highlands    18.29

Linger Longer             64.0

Morris Williams          43.57

SEC                         40.1

**Gardner-Webb, USC Upstate and Presbyterian College don't appear in the Golfstat ranking and weren't included in the calculation

*Ranking from the March 3, 2010 edition

__WHAT TO WATCH FOR

____TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

MEN

__Border Olympics

Laredo CC, Laredo, Texas (Par 72, 7,125 yards)

March 5-6

Host: Houston

Defending champion: Baylor (+13/877) by seven strokes over Arkansas; UT-Arlington's Bobby Massa (-5/211) by four strokes over Texas State's Jeff Gerlich

Field: Air Force, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Houston, Lamar, New Mexico State, North Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Rice, Texas State, UT Arlington, UTEP, UT San Antonio, Washington State

__Skinny:__Seems like a wide open tournament with at least four teams (Arkansas, Auburn, Oklahoma and Rice) having a shot at victory.

USF Invitational

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

Lake Jovita CC, Dade City, Fla.

March 6-7

Host: South Florida

Defending champion: Texas Tech (-6/858) in playoff over Florida Southern; Florida Southern's Matt Stauch and Texas Tech's Santiago Rivas (-9/207)

Field: Arkansas State, Austin Peay, Campbell, Cincinnati, Columbus State, DePaul, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida Southern, Jacksonville State, Louisville, Marquette, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, Missouri State, Nebraska, North Florida, Rhode Island, South Alabama, Troy, USF, Villanova, and Xavier.

Skinny: Can a Division II program again contend for the title against a field made of almost exclusively of D-I opponents? Florida Southern and Columbus State fans certainly hope so.

__Louisiana Classics

__Oakbourne CC, Lafayette, La.

March 8-9

Host: Louisiana-Lafayette

Defending champion: New Orleans (-6/858) by one stroke over Louisiana-Lafayette; New Orleans' Adam Cornelson (-6/210) in a playoff over Southeastern Louisiana's Cedric Scotto

Field: UAB, Arkansas-Little Rock, Colorado, Houston, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU, Memphis, New Orleans, SMU, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Texas State, Tulsa

Skinny: Tournament celebrates its 25th year in 2010. Eight past champions are in the field this season.

__Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic

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

San Joaquin CC, Fresno, Calif.

March 8-9

Host: Fresno State

Defending champion: Washington (+1/865) by five strokes over Fresno State; UC Davis' Ramie Sprinkling (-4/212) by two strokes over San Diego State's Colin Featherstone, Washington's Nick Taylor and Fresno State's Todd Angel

Skinny: Not too many college events in the country that can claim Tom Watson won them (Stanford, 1969). Other winners include Johnny Miller, Craig Stadler and Phil Mickelson.

__Cleveland Golf Palmetto Invitational

__Palmetto GC, Aiken, S.C. (Par 70, 6,617 yards)

March 8-9

Host: USC Aiken

Defending champion: USC-Aiken (+20/860) by 15 strokes over Liberty; Liberty's Robert Karlsson (-1/209) by one stroke over Charleston Southern's Kelvin Day

Field: Akron, Clemson, College of Charleston, East Carolina, Elon, Francis Marion, Furman, Georgia Southern, Liberty, Mercer, Presbyterian, UNC Wilmington, USC Aiken, Winthrop, Wofford, Virginia

Skinny: Clemson is staying in-state and making its first appearance in the 12-year history of the tournament.

__WOMEN

Rio Verde Invitational

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

Rio Verde CC (Quail Run), Rio Verde, Ariz.

March 5-7

Host: Western Michigan

Defending champion: Kansas (+31/883) by 24 strokes over Arkansas-Little Rock; Kansas' Meghan Gockel (+5/218) in playoff over UALR's Sara Wikstrom

Field: Akron, Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Bradley, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri State, Northern Arizona, Ohio, Penn State, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan, Xavier

Skinny: Tournament is being held for the seventh year. No school has been able to defend its team title.

__Auburn Invitational

__Auburn University Club, Auburn, Ala.

March 7

Host: Auburn

Field: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt

Skinny: Fall rain shortened a few tournaments freed up some dates on the schedule to put together a one-day 18-hole stroke-play event.

__Administaff Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate

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

Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga. (Par 72, 5,940 yards)

March 7-8

Host: Augusta State

Field: Augusta State, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Lamar, Maryland, Mercer, Middle Tennessee, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Southern Mississippi, Troy, Western Carolina, William & Mary, Wofford

Skinny: Event returns after being on hiatus since October 2008, moving from fall to the spring

__Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational

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

Almaden CC, San Jose, Calif.

March 8-9

Host: San Jose State

Defending champion (2008): California (+35/899) by five strokes over San Jose State; UC Irvine's Selanee' Henderson (+2/218) by two strokes over California's Allison Goodman and Pia Halbig

Field: California, Colorado, Colorado State, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Hawaii, Long Beach State, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, San Diego State, San Francisco, San Jose State, Santa Clara, UC Davis, UC Irvine

__Skinny:__Host Spartans have some momentum after second-place showing at Fresno women's event last week. Meanwhile, lets hope this year's event will be a better tribute for Juli Inkster. A year ago, when the tournament was renamed in her honor, bad weather forced its cancellation.

__UNLV Spring Rebel Invitational

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

Boulder Creek GC, Boulder City, Nev. (Par 72, 6,153 yards)

March 8-10

Host: UNLV

Defending champion: UNLV (+20/884) by two strokes Texas Tech; Georgia's Mallory Hetzel and Marta Silva Zamora (-2/214)

Field: Ball State, Baylor, BYU, Campbell, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Portland State, Texas, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UNLV, Washington State, Wisconsin, Wyoming

__Skinny:__Since moving spring event to Boulder Creek in 2006, the host Rebels have claimed the team title twice.

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