The Loop

This week's syllabus: Oct. 11-17

October 11, 2007


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


__1. Alabama __ (Last week: 1)


After setting a school 54-hole record (33-under 819) with win at 2006 Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, Crimson Tide break the mark by nine strokes (42-under 810) with repeat victory at Old Overton GC. Senior Mark Harrell set the individual 54-hole record (15-under 198) while sharing medalist honors.

Next event: Callaway Golf Collegiate Match Play, Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Ga., Oct. 28-30

__2. Charlotte __ (2)


The 49ers head cross country to play their first tournament with the bulls-eye on their back after their victories at the Scenic City and Ping Preview.

Next event: The Prestige, PGA West-Greg Norman Course, La Quinta, Calif., Oct. 15-16


A year ago it was Florida thinking it would be experiencing diaper rash with its young line-up only to have a solid fall. This year it is the Cowboys, who have finished second at the Preview and first at the Fighting Illini with three freshmen starting. (Mind you, it doesn't hurt when one of them is Rickie Fowler.)

Next event: Isleworth UCF-Collegiate, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla., Oct. 19-21

__4. Stanford __(4)


OK, Cardinal ... it's time to see just how good you guys really are as Charlotte comes to your coast this weekend. Sometime tell me Conrad Ray's defending NCAA champs are going to be up to the task.

Next event: The Prestige, PGA West-Greg Norman Course, La Quinta, Calif., Oct. 15-16

__5. Georgia __ (NR)


First thing Chris Haack has to be happy about with his team's eight-stroke victory at the Brickyard Collegiate last Tuesday: five players finished in the top 10. Second thing Haack has to be happy about: Freshman Harris English gets its done in the clutch to upset teammate Brian Harman for medalist honors. Just think if English hadn't been playing as an individual, the Bulldogs would have shot 10-strokes lower (43 under rather than 33 under).

Next event: Isleworth UCF-Collegiate, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla., Oct. 19-21




Slow start but big finish at the Lady Tar Heel Invitational leads to 11th victory in the event, this time by two strokes over Tennessee. Surprise, surprise, Amanda Blumenherst claims medalist honors for ninth time in her career.

Next event: The Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 19-21

2. USC (3)


A nice win yesterday at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational (USC's seventh in the tournament but first since 2002) to go with the runner-up finish at the NCAA Preview. The Trojans still have to prove that they're more consistent than Duke but they're starting to show (with three players in the top 10, including co-medalist Belen Mozo) that they're deeper.

Next event: Kent Youel Invitational, Kapolei GC, Kapolei, Hawaii, Oct. 30-31

3. UCLA (2)


Freshman Maria Jose Uribe's U.S. Women's Amateur trophy will be on display at the school's sports hall of fame through next summer. You know what that means ... there's space in her dorm room for more hardware.

Next event: The Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 19-21

__4. Arizona State __ (4)


Put up good fight at Edean Ihlanfeldt to finish second behind USC, but first-round 301 was too much to overcome. Sun Devils are going to need a win soon to help keep up their confidence.

Next event: The Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 19-21

__5. Notre Dame __ (5)


Just how hot a start has it been for the Fighting Irish. Susan Holt's squad is looking for fourth title of season in South Carolina next week. Only twice in school history has an ND women's golf team had a four-win season.

Next event: Lady Paladin Invitational, Furman University GC, Greenville, S.C., Oct. 19-21



Oct. 1-7


Brent Long, Western Kentucky

The senior from Carthage, Tenn., won a pair of individual titles. First he claimed medalist honors at the Xavier Invitational Oct. 2 after shooting a final-round 68 for a 13-under 203 total. He then proceeded to share top honors with Lipscomb's Cody Hale at the Mission Inn Collegiate Classic five days later, shooting a six-under 136.


With a seven-under 209 at the Lady Tar Heel Invitational, the junior from Scottsdale, Ariz., recorded a three-shot victory over Georgia's Alina Lee and lowered her score in relation to par this season to 31 under through the first three tournaments. Blumenherst has shot no worse than 73 in any of her nine rounds all of which have been at par of better. Her scoring average thus far this season is 68.89, 1.3 strokes lower than the next best average.



153 under

Combined score, in relation to par, for all 12 teams competing at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate this past week. Only two schools, BYU and Georgia Southern, did not break par for 54 holes with the average 18-hole team score at the par-71 Old Overton GC in Birmingham, Ala., being 279.75.



â¿¢ Tough week for Louisville senior Daryl Fathauer to shoot a 10-under 61 at the Alister Mackenzie Invitational. His first-round score at Meadow Club in Fairfax, Calif., Oct. 8 was the course record for only a few hours when Washington senior Zack Bixler posted a 11-under 60 in the second round that afternoon. Bixler became the sixth player to tie the NCAA 18-hole scoring mark, joining former Washington standout Brock Mackenzie. The score was also an amazing six strokes lower than his career best.

I said it before the season started in Golf World's College Golf preview last month and I'll say it again here: I believe we're going to see a 59 on the men's side (or a 61 on the women's) before the 2007-08 season is over. There are many talented players out there who, if they have a hot day with the putter, can go very, very low.

â¿¢ Five members of the recently victorious U.S. Walker Cup team are back in school playing college golf but the lone player from the Great Britain & Ireland squad that plays college golf in U.S.--Daniel Willett at Jacksonville State--still hasn't returned to the line-up for the Gamecocks in what is supposed to be his junior season. According to JSU coach James Hobbs, Willett was back on campus after playing at Royal County Down for the GB&I team in early September, but then chose to return to England for the fall. Hobbs says there is a chance Willett will be back in January but otherwise would likely be turning pro in the not to distant future.

â¿¢ East Tennessee State's Rhys Davies spent four years rewriting the Buccaneers record books before graduating last spring yet it took Seamus Power less than two months to knock Davies from his spot atop the list of ETSU players with the best 54-hole score. Power shot a 15-under 198 to share medalist honors with Alabama's Mark Harrell at the Jerry Pate earlier this week. Power's score was one stroke lower than Davies' best 54-hole mark.

"Coach reminded me of Rhys' record yesterday, and told me it was out there so I was glad to make some putts and get it," said Power, who now has two individual championships in his time at ETSU, including the 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference championship. "The conference tournament is not as strong a field, so it's good to do this against some strong teams. I was only one under [for the final round] with five to play but was able to birdie 14, 15 and 16 to get to 15 under [overall]."

Last spring, ETSU coach Fred Warren mentioned to me that Power, a native of Ireland, could be a pretty special player but was still trying to get his feet wet in the U.S. He talked about what a good athlete Power was, having been a champion racquetball player for his age group back home, and that I should keep my eye on him. If Warren is looking for another Buc to carry on the high level of play Davies demonstrated while in college, he may well have found his man.

â¿¢ I've had a lot of enjoyable afternoons at New Haven CC in Hamden, Conn., over the past few years, but this Saturday is going to top them all. Somehow I convinced Lisa Guidone to be my wife. All I know is I'm marrying way below my handicap here. My bride-to-be is an accomplished editor in the children's publishing industry who tolerates my love of Michigan football. More importantly, she's the most amazing person I've ever met. Thanks for saying yes, Lisa. And I promise not to check my phone for a Michigan update during the ceremony.  ;)




(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

The Ridges G&CC, Jonesborough, Tenn.

Oct. 12-14

Field: Alabama-Birmingham, Auburn, Coastal Carolina, East Tennessee State, Kent State, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Tennessee (five-over 869); Rhys Davies, East Tennessee State (five-under 211)

Skinny: The tournament celebrates its 10th anniversary with a quality field that includes five teams in the top 25 of the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll. Previously played over two days, the format changes this year to a three-day, 54-hole competition. Past winners have included Davies, Jonathan Byrd (Clemson, 1998), Bill Haas (Wake Forest, 2002, 2003). Looking for a player to keep your eye on? Tennessee senior Philip Pettitt, who played in the U.S. Open this past summer, won the individual title as a freshman in 2004 and was runner-up to Davies last year.

Oklahoma Intercollegiate

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Oak Tree GC, Edmond, Okla.

Oct. 14-16

Host: Oklahoma

Field: Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, Santa Clara, SMU, Stephen F. Austin State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas-San Antonio, Tulsa

Mizuno Southbridge Intercollegiate

Southbridge GC, Savannah, Ga. (Par 72, 6,922 yards)

Oct. 15-16

Field: Appalachian State, Armstrong State, Augusta State, Davidson, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Elon, Furman, Jacksonville, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State, Toledo, Winthrop, Western Carolina, Wofford

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

PGA West, Greg Norman Cse., La Quinta, Calif.

Oct. 15-16

Host: UC Davis

Field: Central Florida, Charlotte, Colorado, Denver, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Pacific, Pepperdine, San Diego, Stanford, TCU, UC Davis, UC Irvine, Wisconsin


(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Cherokee CC, Knoxville, Tenn. (Par 71, 5,932 yards)

Oct. 12-14


Field:__ Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Central Florida, Denver, Florida, Furman, Kent State, LSU, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Purdue, SMU, Virginia, Tennessee

Defending champion: Tennessee (35-over 887, won playoff with Georgia); Jenny Suh, Alabama (one-over 214)

Skinny: In addition to 16 college teams overall and nine ranked in the top 25 of the most recent Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll, the Swedish Junior National team returns again to compete this week in Knoxville. Last year the Swedes finished fifth, the fifth time the squad had recorded a top-five results in nine starts.

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga. (Par 72, 5,954 yards)

Oct. 13-14

Field: Augusta State, Elon, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Southern Mississippi, Troy, Wofford

LPGA International/Xavier Invitational

LPGA International, Champions course, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Oct. 13-14

Host: Xavier

Aztec Fall Classic

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Salt Creek GC, Chula Vista, Calif.

Oct. 15-16

Host: San Diego State____

Price's Give 'Em Five Intercollegiate

Oct. 15-17

New Mexico State GC, Las Cruces, N.M.

Host: New Mexico State____