News & ToursNovember 1, 2007

This week's syllabus: Nov. 1-7

__THE FAB FIVE

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

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  1. Alabama __

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Crimson Tide ends first half of 2007-08 season with second-round loss at Callaway Match Play to SEC-rival South Carolina but with three wins in five tournaments, Jay Seawell's squad has another solid fall. Memo to Michael Thompson: if you value your spot in the Masters field, you'll stay away from any ball that isn't round and has dimples.

Next event: Fall season concluded; John Hayt Intercollegiate, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Feb. 17-19

__2. UCLA __

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All those questioning the Bruins' late start to the season better get in line for some crow after UCLA claims the Callaway Match Play title following a win in their season-opener (Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge).

Next event: CordeValle Collegiate, CordeValle GC, San Martin, Calif., Nov. 5-7

__3. Charlotte __

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A first-round upset to Coastal Carolina at the Callaway Match Play is the 49ers first blemish for an otherwise tremendous fall season. Having already impressed by going to Northern California and taking The Prestige last month, call they do it again this week?

Next event: Stockton Sports Commission Pacific Invitational, Brookside CC, Stockton, Calif., Nov. 5-7

__4. Georgia __

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The Bulldogs are obviously loaded with talent (Harris English for top freshman anyone?) as their victories at the Brickyard Collegiate and Isleworth/UCF Invitational have proved. If they can improve on their consistency, they could be a real threat for a national title. Brian Harman ... it's time to step up.

Next event: Fall season concluded; Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 29-March 2

__5. USC __

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Flying under the radar out west with UCLA grabbing headlines for its opening wins and Stanford surprising by not claiming a title. The Trojans can wrap up a solid fall season with a W at CordeValle.

Next event: CordeValle Collegiate, CordeValle GC, San Martin, Calif., Nov. 5-7

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WOMEN

  1. Duke __

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One bad day in Stanford, when the Blue Devils blew a 12-stroke final-round lead to Arizona State, proved the team can't just show up on the first-tee and be handed a trophy. Don't expect Duke to have lost its confidence, however.

Next event: Hooters Women's Collegiate Match Play Championship, Ginn Reunion Resort, Kissimmee, Fla., Nov. 4-6

__2. Arizona State __

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One great day in Stanford, when the Sun Devils came back from a 12-stroke final-round deficit to Duke, proved the team can hang with the three-time national champions. Expect Arizona State to have regained its confidence.

Next event: Fall season concluded; Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes CC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 11-13

__3. UCLA __

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The Bruins closed the fall the way they began it, with a solid four-stroke victory Wednesday at the Kent Youel Invitational in Hawaii. U.S. Women's Amateur champion Maria Jose Uribe's smooth transition to the college game—she claimed her first individual win in Hawaii, sharing the title with teammate Tiffany Joh—makes her a player to watch come spring.

Next event: Fall season concluded; Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes CC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 11-13

__4. USC __

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Re-emergence of Dewi Claire Schreefel (NCAA preview winner) and development of Belen Mozo (co-medalist at Edean Ihlanfeldt)__ __ make the fall even more of a success for the Trojans than their one team-title might indicate. Now if only Paola Moreno could return to last year's first-team All-American form.

Next event: Fall season concluded; Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes CC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 11-13

__5. Arkansas __

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The Lady Razorback just might be more than Stacy Lewis and the pips after claiming the UA/Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate title to close the fall.

Next event: Fall season concluded; Lady Puerto Rico Classic, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Feb. 24-26



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PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Oct. 22-29

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Harris English__, Georgia

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After earning medalist honors at the Brickyard Collegiate two weeks earlier, the freshman made it back-to-back wins with a three-stroke victory at the Isleworth-UCF Invitational Oct. 24. English's 11-under 205 broke a tournament record, as did his final-round 66. He also helped the Bulldogs win the team title by 21 strokes. (Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia Sports Information Department.)


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WOMEN

Nannette Hill__, Wake Forest

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The junior from Pelham, N.Y., propelled by a second-round tournament-record 66 at CC of Landfall's Nicklaus course, became the first Demon Deacon to claim a 54-hole title in five years when she shot a one-over 217 to win the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., Oct. 28. Hill's efforts also led Wake Forest to the team title (14-over 878, nine strokes ahead of Purdue), its first since 2004. (Photo courtesy of the Wake Forest University Sports Information Department.)



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STAT OF THE WEEK

50__

Number of days between when the Stanford men's golf team played its first competitive round of the 2007-08 season (Topy Cup, Sept. 4) and the UCLA men's golf team played its first competitive round (Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, Oct. 22).


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WHAT TO WATCH FOR__

  • Be careful what you wished for college coaches and the NCAA Division I men's golf committee. Those first-round upsets at the Callaway Match Play Championship last week are what could be in store when the NCAA Championship likely converts to a similar format in 2009 to determine a national champion. Granted the format at last week's event in Reynolds Plantation in Georgia was pure match play rather than the medal/match format being proposed for the NCAAs. Still with top-seed Charlotte falling to No. 16 Coastal Carolina, No. 5 Oklahoma State losing to No. 12 Tennessee, No. 7 Florida State getting beat by No. 11 Lamar and No. 8 Duke being knocked off by No. 9 Florida, you get the idea ... just because a team might play well in stroke play doesn't mean they'll be able to run the table when they go head-to-head with the other "elite 8" squads. It will certainly make for some exciting golf but also could make for grumbling from schools that suggest "the best" team is most often identified in stroke play.

  • College coaches have struggled the past few years with how USGA and NCAA rules on amateurism differ, creating room for confusion for junior golfers who are prospective college student-athletes (i.e. Juniors can receive money for expenses under USGA rules, but not NCAA rules). Thanks to conversations between coaches, via the Golf Coaches' Association of America and the National Golf Coaches Association, and the USGA, the latter has included wording in the new Rules of Amateur Status that goes into effect in January that specifically notes two instances where the USGA and NCAA rules may vary. Kudos to the USGA for trying to help on the matter. Now, if only the NCAA would amend its guidelines to allow USGA rules to apply to college athletes as well as all other amateurs.

  • Another tip of the cap to the USGA for amending the Decisions on the Rules of Golf to allow college assistant coaches to provide advise during tournaments. This is another instance where college coaches and the USGA worked together to find a reasonable solution to a rather specific issue that faced college golf. It will allow the sport to grow at the college level and is good for the game.

  • It won't get much attention outside Tuscaloosa, but tomorrow there will be a public memorial service at the Jerry Pate Center at Old Colony CC for former Alabama men's coach Conrad Rehling. The club will dedicate the center's back deck in Rehling's honor, a small token of appreciation for the hall of fame coach (he was part of the GCAA's inaugural class in 1980) who led the Crimson Tide to their only SEC title in 1979 during his 17-year career with U of A. I never met Rehling, who passed away last April from congestive heart failure at 87, but listening to other coaches talk about him you get the sense that he was not only a good coach but a good man. His work to get the Special Olympics involved in golf (and vice versa) was so appreciated that Rehling received the PGA of America's LIfetime Achievement Award in 2005 and the Special Olympics created an award named after him.


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TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH

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CordeValle Collegiate__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

CordeValle GC, San Martin, Calif.

Nov. 5-7

Host: UCLA

Field: Arizona, Augusta State, Coastal Carolina, Lamar, Northwestern, Santa Clara, Southern California, Stanford, Texas A&M, UCLA, Washington

Defending champion: Stanford (42-under 822); Rob Grube, Zack Miller, Stanford (14-under 202)

Skinny: Not only are the host Bruins are looking to close-out their compact fall season with a third-straight victory but they have some bitter memories from playing in this event last year, when they were knocked off by eventual national champion Stanford by 38 strokes. UCLA coach Derek Freeman says that part of the reason for the team set up its schedule with its late start and decrease number of tournaments is to be ready for this event. "It's important to us to play well here," Freeman told Campus Insider. "It will be a gauge for how successful a fall we've had as well as help us to prepare better for the spring." To win, though, the Bruins must be wary not only of the defending champion Cardinal but their crosstown rivals in USC. Expect a low-scoring shootout with a close finish.

Battle on the Bend

Cypress Bend GC (Par 72, 6,739 yards), Many, La.

Nov. 4-6

Host: Louisiana

Field: Centenary, Central Arkansas, Louisiana, McNeese State, Missouri-Kansas City, Nicholls State, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State

The Wolverine at Mission Inn

Mission Inn Resort & Club (El Campeon Course; Par 72, 6,923 yards), Howie-in-the-Hills, Fla.

Nov. 5-6

Host: Michigan

Field: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Missouri, Northern Illinois, Penn State, Xavier

Turtle Bay Resort College Invitational

Turtle Bay Resort GC (Palmer Course), Kahuku, Hawaii

Nov. 5-7

Host: Hawaii

Field: Baylor, Boise State, Charleston, Fresno State, Hartford, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Mary's (Calif.), Tennessee, Texas-Arlington, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UNC Wilmington, UNLV, Weber State, Wyoming

Stockton Sports Commission Pacific Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Brookside CC, Stockton, Calif.

Nov. 5-7

Host: University of the Pacific

Field: BYU, Charlotte, CSU-Northridge, Fresno State, Kansas State, Marquette, Northern Colorado, Ohio State, Oregon, Pacific, Rice, San Jose State, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara

Sam Hall Intercollegiate

Canebrake CC, Hattiesburg, Miss.

Nov. 5-6

Host: Southern Mississippi__ __

Field: Alabama-Birmingham, Illinois State, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, New Orleans, Rhode Island, St. John's, Southern Mississippi, Troy

Macon Bank/WCU Intercollegiate

CC at Sapphire Valley, Cashiers, N.C.

Nov. 5-6

Host: Western Carolina

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__WOMEN

Hooters Women's Collegiate Match Play Championship__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Ginn Reunion Resort, Kissimmee, Fla.

Nov. 4-6

Field: Alabama, Auburn, Denver, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan State, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, TCU, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: Duke

Skinny: The Blue Devils have had success in this event, winning three times in its five-year history. While a few schools continue to decline their invitations due to the event's sponsor, the field has 13 of the top 25 teams in the most recent Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll and should serve as fun way to end the fall for the field. Another Duke win wouldn't be a shock, but keep your eye on Auburn as a possible dark-horse winner.

USF Women's Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Richmond CC, Richmond, Calif.

Nov. 5-6

Host: San Francisco____

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