News & ToursMarch 5, 2009

This week's syllabus: March 6-12

__FAB FIVE

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

MEN

[__

Georgia_logo_200809

  1. Georgia (Last week's syllabus: 1)

Winning by 12 strokes in Puerto Rico was an impressive start to the spring. With a 38-under 826, the Bulldogs posted their third lowest 54-hole score in school history.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 13-15

[

Stanford_logo_200809

  1. Stanford (3)

The Cardinal are starting to come on (win at USC Intercollegiate) even without Joseph Bramlett in the line-up. Sihwan Kim and David Chung are strong match-play golfers, letting you believe Stanford will have success at the Callaway event later this month ... if not in the postseason.

Next event: Callaway Match Play Championship, The Farms GC, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., March 22-24

[

Oklahomastatelogolatest

  1. Oklahoma State (2)

The Cowboys' 16-under 848 might have only been good for third place in Puerto Rico, but it was their lowest score of the year. All five starters finished inside the top-25 although none inside the top 11.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 13-15

[

Usc_200809_logo

  1. Southern California (4)

Sophomore Matt Giles jumps into the top spot in the Golfstat Cup ranking after his third fourth-place finish in four starts this season. The Aussie is going to be counted on even more until Jamie Lovemark's broken finger has healed.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 13-15

[

Clemson_200809_logo

  1. Clemson (NR)

Larry Penley's team remains an enigma, albeit a talented one. En route to a second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Classic, all five Tigers shot even par or better during the final two rounds. It's the first time a Clemson team has done that since April 2003.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 13-15

__

WOMEN

[__

Ucla_logo_200809

  1. UCLA (1)

Rough life for Bruins coach Carrie Forsyth, trying to figure out who she has to leave behind thanks to a lineup that includes seven players with stroke averages of 73.67 or better.

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail GC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10

[

Arizona_state_logo_200809

  1. Arizona State (2)

The flu left Jaclyn Sweeney and Giulia Molinaro at far less than 100 percent at the Arizona Wildcat. Expect a better showing from them and the return to action for Azahara Munoz in Florida next week.

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail GC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10

[

Usc_200809_logo_2

  1. Southern California (3)

While Lizette Salas is stepping up big time for the Trojans, freshman Jennifer Song hasn't been too shabby either: 71.88 average, four top-10s and no finish worse than a T-14.

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail GC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10

[

Wake_forest_logo_200809_from_school

  1. Wake Forest (4)

Senior Nannette Hill wins ACC golfer of the month award for the first time in her career.

Next event: LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic, University Club, Baton Rouge, La., March 13-15

[

Auburn_logo_200809

  1. Auburn (5)

Junior Candace Schepperle (71.53) is on pace to set the Tigers' single-season stroke average set by Maru Martinez (71.89) in 2005-06. She needs nine more rounds of par or better to catch Martinez' 21 from that season.

Next event: UCF Challenge, Red Tail CC, Sorrento, Fla., March 8-10

__

STAT OF THE WEEK

71.189__

The adjusted stroke average for Arizona State freshman Carlota Ciganda. The Spaniard's T-2 finish at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge and T-3 performance at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational have her already sitting in second place in the Golfstat Cup rankings. In actuality, however, she's really in first place since the player who is technically No. 1 is ASU's Anna Nordqvist, who left school in December and turned pro.

__

WHAT TO WATCH FOR__

  • After starting the season ranked No. 11 in the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll, only to fall out of the top 25 entirely this spring, Florida State has a lot riding on its home tournament this weekend, the Seminole Intercollegiate. The defending ACC champions have a 39-30-1 overall head-to-head record, bringing the ".500 rule" more closely into view than coach Trey Jones probably feels comfortable with. Having finished fourth at the SunTrust Gator Invitational last month, equaling its best finish of the season, FSU has at least a little momentum to build on. Still, senior Matt Savage needs to finds some more consistency in his game quickly to help ease some of the load that sophomore Drew Kittleson, the U.S. Amateur runner-up, has been carrying. Bottom line: to say this weekend's tournament is a "must-win" sitauation is a stretch, but not a huge one.

  • Say what you will about Oregon and coach Casey Martin's decision earlier this year to drop the USC Intercollegiate from the Ducks' schedule and replace it with the Braveheart Classic. With a seven-shot win over Southern Utah at Oak Valley GC in California last Tuesday, Oregon bumped its overall record from 30-29 to 46-29 and got its first victory of the season, knocking off (most notably) Arizona and Tennessee. Yes, the field at the Braveheart was hardly that of USC's event, and some contend that the move was made too much out of fear. Nonetheless, Martin's strategic play might just have helped him secure a bid to regionals and a chance for Oregon to advance to nationals for a second straight season.

Byrdzack

  • A year ago, Coastal Carolina's Zack Byrd couldn't catch any breaks, forced to take a medical redshirt after injurying his knee in December 2007. The Calabash, N.C., native has made the best of a bad situation, however, returning to the line-up in 2008-09 and, through 18 rounds, leading not just the Chanticleers but the entire Big South Conference in scoring with a 72.2 average. His T-2 finish at the John Hayt Intercollegiate last month gave him three top-three finishes. Medalist at the conference championship in his freshman season, Byrd is a heavy favorite for the General Hackler Championship that Coastal Carolina hosts this week.

__

TOURNAMENTS ON TAP

MEN

Seminole Intercollegiate__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Golden Eagle CC, Tallahassee, Fla. (Par 72, 6,965 yards)

March 6-8

Host: Florida State

Field: UAB, Arkansas, Auburn, Boston College, College of Charleston, Florida State, Maryland, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Western Carolina

Defending champion: Florida State (six-under 858) by four strokes over Auburn; Vanderbilt's Jon Curran (10-under 206) by three strokes over Auburn's Jay Moseley

Skinny: An example of how the ".500 rule" is actually doing what it was intended to do: B.C. is going to get to play in a tournament with another ACC school for the first time all season.

Ron Smith/USF Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Lake Jovita G&CC, Dade City, Fla.

March 6-8

Host: South Florida

Field: Arkansas State, Austin Peay, Baylor, Cincinnati, Columbus State, Connecticut, DePaul, Eastern Michigan, Florida Southern, Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisville, Marquette, Middle Tennessee State, Missouri, Missouri State, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, South Alabama, South Florida, Texas Tech, Troy, Xavier

Defending champion: Middle Tennessee State (six-under 858) by 14 strokes over Florida Southern and Marquette; Marquette's Mike Van Sickle (eight-under 208) by four strokes over three others

Skinny: In its 17th year, the field expands from 18 to 23 teams with seven Big East schools competing at the same course that will host the conference championship next month. Meanwhile, Marquette's Van Sickle is trying to win the individual title for a third straight year.

General Hackler Championship

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

TPC Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, S.C.

March 8-9

Host: Coastal Carolina

Field: Augusta State, Coastal Carolina, Duke, East Tennessee State, Illinois, Kentucky, Lamar, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Pepperdine, South Carolina, UCLA, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Wake Forest (33-over 897) by three strokes over Florida State; Louisville's Derek Fathauer (one-over 217) by two strokes over Augusta State's Henrik Norlander

Skinny: The tournaments last five champions (Pepperdine, Coastal Carolina, East Tennessee State, Lamar and Wake Forest) are in this year's field.

Louisiana Classics

Oakbourne CC, Lafayette, La.

March 8-10

Host: Louisiana-Lafayette

Defending champion: Colorado (two-under 862) by 13 strokes over SMU; SMU's Kelly Kraft (five-under 211) by three strokes over Richmond's Jordan Utley

__

Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Belmont CC, Fresno, Calif.

March 9-10

Host: Fresno State

Field: Arizona State, BYU, Boise State, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Northridge, Fresno City College, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pacific, Sacramento State, San Diego, San Diego State, San Jose State, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UTEP, Washington

Defending champion: San Diego State (23-under 841) by three strokes over California and Texas; Texas' Charlie Holland (nine-under 207) on third playoff hole against San Diego State's Matt Hoffenberg

Skinny: Past champions of the 46-year-old event include Tom Watson (Stanford, 1969), Craig Stadler (USC, 1973, 1974), Bobby Clampett (BYU, 1979, 1980) and Phil MIckelson (Arizona State, 1989).

Cleveland Golf Palmetto Invitational

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

March 9-10

Host: USC Aiken

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

Defending champion: Chattanooga (10-over 850) by 30 strokes over Virginia Tech; Chattanooga's Jonathan Hodge (two-over 212) by one stroke over three others

Skinny: Hosted by the top-ranked D-II team in the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll, the 12-year-old event is a true crossover as the field consists of a majority of Division I programs.

WOMEN

Duramed Collegiate at Rio Verde

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Quail Run course at Rio Verde CC, Rio Verde, Ariz. (Par 71, 6,260 yards)

March 6-8__

Host:__ Western Michigan__

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

Defending champion:__ Notre Dame (11-over 875) by 20 strokes over Minnesota; Notre Dame's So-Hyun Park (four-under 212) by four strokes over Notre Dame's Annie Brophy__

Skinny:__ The seventh playing of the event is the first with a title sponsor. There has never been a repeat champion in tournament history, a fact that will continue in 2010 as Notre Dame is not in the field this week.

UCF Challenge

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Red Tail GC, Sorrento, Fla. (Par 72, 6,301 yards)

March 8-10

Host: UCF

Field: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas, UCF, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: Duke (13-under 851) by nine strokes over Purdue; Duke's Alison Whitaker (eight-under 208) by two strokes over Purdue's Junthima Gulyamamitta

Skinny: This powerhouse field includes 12 of the top-15 teams in the latest Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll. Duke has won the event in each of its two previous years of existence.

UNLV Spring Rebel Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Boulder Creek GC, Boulder Creek, Nev. (Par 72, 6,234 yards)

March 9-11

Host: UNLV

Field: BYU, Campbell, Eastern Washington, Fresno State, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kent State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, SMU, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UNLV, Washington, Washington State

Defending champion: BYU and Washington State tied (five-under 859); Oregon's Cathryn Bristow (eight-under 208) by two strokes over Texas Tech's Ulrika van Niekerk

Skinny: The participating teams can only hope the scoring gets as crazy low as it did at UNLV's fall tournament.

More from The Loop