News & ToursOctober 28, 2010

This Week's Syllabus: Oct. 28-Nov. 3

__FAB FIVE

MEN

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__1. Oklahoma State __(Last week: 1)

The Cowboys still have depth beyond that of most teams in the country, but __Mike McGraw'__s bunch will spend the winter break in Stillwater trying to see who wants to emerge as the most reliable prospects for the No. 4 and 5 man for the starting lineup.

Next event: Fall season over

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2. Alabama (NR)

Obviously there have been no problems with the transition from junior golf to college for Cory   Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt. The rookies were a big part of the Crimson Tide's two-stroke victory at Isleworth earlier this week, a great book end win to go with Carpet Capital triumph to start the fall

Next event: Fall season over

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3. Florida (2)

Bad opening round at Isleworth made a comeback too tough for Buddy Alexander's group, but the Gators hung in there without their strongest lineup to finish T-3.Bank Vongvanij's individual win helps make a strong case for the senior's candidacy as the surprise performer of the fall.

Next event: Fall season over

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4. Georgia Tech (NR)

What a way to claim first U.S. Collegiate title: 27-stroke victory nearly sets school record while all five starters post top-10 finishes. Yellow Jackets test in the spring will be to show they can play well away from home.

Next event: Fall season over

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5. LSU (NR)

Apparently the Tiger men didn't like the women being the only one to get attention. Chuck Winsted's group comes off home victory at David Toms with runner-up to Alabama at Isleworth. Add in the victory at the Gopher Invite and it's been a very nice fall for the boys from Baton Rouge.

Next event: Fall season over

WOMEN

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1. Alabama (1)

Can the Crimson Tide continue their winning ways in California? We might know after round 1 ... Alabama has the country's best first-round scoring average (71.73 average per player). Of course, they also have the third best final-round average (72.27), second best average on par-3s and 4s and third best average on par 5s.

Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

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2. LSU (2)

The Tigers will miss Megan McChrystal at the Pac-10/SEC Challenge, as she'll skip the event to compete in Futures Tour Q School. On the flip side, it will allow the rest of the team to prove they're more than just McChrystal and the seven dwarfs.

Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

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3. Purdue (3)

Amazing to think that the reigning NCAA champions are really kind of falling under the radar (except here, of course). Spring schedule is such that the Boilermakers really won't be meeting up with the West Coast heavyweights, but will have a chance to see some SEC schools a time or two.

Next event: Fall season over

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4. UCLA (NR)

East Coast trip to North Carolina proves advantageous for the Bruins, who claim first victory of the season at the Landfall Tradition. Added bonus: Tiffany Lua captures share of first individual tournament victory. Confidence boosters all around for the folks in Westwood.

Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

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5. USC (4)

After the Bruins victory, and the near misses by the Trojans earlier in the fall, I get a sense that USC is ready to be the next group in the winner's circle come the Stanford event.

Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

__STAT OF THE WEEK

__44

The number of golfers in the women's college game with scoring averages of 72.0 or lower, according to Golfstat as of Oct. 20.

On its own, this number might not mean much, but in context of the past few seasons, it is a significant indicator of the overriding trends we're seeing in the women's game this fall: scoring are going down.

Indeed, I wrote a story for this week's issue of Golf World on this very subject, and did research to compare that 44 number to the past five seasons. Looking at old Golfstat Cup rankings to see at approximately this same time frame each year, how many stroke averages were at 72 or lower, here are the totals I found.

2009: 27

2008: 24

2007: 18

2006: 8

2005: 6

If it seems like we're seeing a lot more lower scores this year in the women's game, well it's because we are.

Here is an even more detailed breakdown:

Women w/stroke averages of:

71.0/lower   71.0-71.5    71.51-72.0

2010       16                  11                 17

2009       13                  2                   11

2008       5                     8                   11

2007       3                     4                   11

2006       1                     0                   7

2005       3                     0                   3

Suffice it to say, some coaches are adjusting to the new reality:

"Even par isn't going to get it done anymore," says Alabama's Mic Potter. "There was a time when if you shot under 300 [in a round as a team], you were going to win a tournament. Well, if you shoot 300 now, you're going to be last."

__RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

__I wonder how many coaches of schools in the *Golf World *men's and women's polls have hosted a high school senior on an official visit this fall? I'm setting the over under on the men's side at six; for the women at eight.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Golf Coaches Association of America and the National Golf Coaches Association are in the process of gathering information to respond to the NCAA's Dec. 3 deadline.

On the surface this might not seem like a big deal, but for those involved, this could ultimately lead to a massive change in the sports. "This is going to have a huge effect on everything," a source involved in the process told me recently. "This is going to have the same kind of effect on our sport as 24 days of competition, reduction of scholarships and defined windows you can actually be with your team."

The most likely alternatives that will be offered by the GCAA and NGCA are 1) a recruiting calendar that prohibits recruiting during set periods of time, 2) a set number of recruiting days per year, which coaches could use at their discretion or 3) a hybrid of the two. In trying to give some thought about what might be the best approach for the coaches to take, my guess is that either option 2 or 3 will be the plan that gets the largest proportion of coaches supporting it. A strict recruiting calendar that has dead periods during the year creates all sorts of problems in golf considering that junior tournaments are played throughout the year. You wouldn't want to have dead periods in the summer, with AJGA events on tap. So what about the spring or fall? Well in some states, that's when the high school seasons are played. Meanwhile, it seems like every major holiday period has a junior event scheduled opposite it.

Another interesting wrinkle about the calendar approach would be what might coaches do if their schools host a junior tournament during a "dead period"? What if you work at your school's golf course as director of golf? You might actually be prevented from literally going to your job. I'm not sure how well that would sit some.

  • I've mentioned it to the folks at New Mexico State in the past but I'll do it again now. Rick Reilly, the award winning journalist at ESPN, did not won the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in 1979, as the sports information department has mentioned repeatedly in press releases. When I first saw this note a few years back, I thought it was very cool. I contacted Colorado's sports information department to find out more about it, but learned from the school that Reilly did not play for the Buffalo golf team. I then called and mentioned it to NMSU's SID office. Sure enough, the next season, there it was again in a release. I again gave them a head's up that this was not actually true, but no correction has been made.

Last week I saw the reference yet again in their pre-tournament release. So this time around I contacted ESPN to try and have Reilly say yes or no that he won the event. The information I got back from Reilly was that he did not win it. So ... I'll be curious if New Mexico State will finally update their records prior to the 2011 Wimberly.

__TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

____MEN

____Kiawah Island Intercollegiate

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

Turtle Point GC, Kiawah Island, S.C.

Nov. 1-2

Host: Charleston Southern

Field: Bethune-Cookman, Butler, Campbell, Charleston, Charleston Southern, George Washington, Indiana, Longwood, Presbyterian, South Carolina, Stetson, Towson, Western Illinois, Western Kentucky

Defending champion: Charleston Southern (35-over 899) by 11 strokes over Gardner-Webb; South Carolina's Dykes Harbin (two-over 218) by one stroke over Charleston Southern's Kelvin Day

Skinny: School's fall invitational moves from Crowfield G&CC in Charleston to Turtle Point. New venue allows it to host more schools.

__Royal Oaks Intercollegiate

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

Royal Oaks CC, Dallas

Nov. 1-2__

Host:__ Baylor

Field: Arkansas, Baylor, Iowa, Lamar, Long Beach State, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Penn State, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UNLV

Defending champion: Texas A&M (four-under 848) by three strokes over SMU; SMU's James Kwon (six-under 207) by two strokes over Texas A&M's Cameron Peck and Arkansas' David Lingmerth

Skinny: Iowa is trying for win No. 4 this fall, after finishing third in the event a year ago. It's been almost a month break from competition, so it will be interesting to see if the Hawkeyes might have lost their edge.

__The Hummingbird Intercollegiate

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

CC of Sapphire Valley, Sapphire, N.C.

Nov. 1-2

Host: Western Carolina

Field: Akron, Appalachian State, Elon, Francis Marion, Furman, Gardner-Webb, High Point, IPFW, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Radford, Samford, UAB, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina, Winthrop, Wofford

__Defending champion:__Furman (one-under 567) by three strokes over East Carolina and Kentucky; Furman's Garland Ferrell (seven-under 135) by two strokes over Akron's Lucas Murray

__Skinny:__For second-straight year the tournament hosts a event-record 18-team field

__Stockton Sports Commission Pacific Invitational

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

Brookside CC, Stockton, Calif.

Nov. 1-3

Host: Pacific

Field: BYU, Charlotte, Denver, Fresno State, Kansas State, Marquette, Nevada, Oregon State, Pacific, St. Mary's (Calif.), Santa Clara, UC Davis

__Defending champion:__UC Davis (20-under 832) by one stroke over BYU; UC Davis' Tyler Raber (14-under 199) by four strokes over Oregon's Eugene Wong

Skinny: Solid field and very informative tournament website.

__WOMEN

____Lady Paladin Intercollegiate

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

Furman GC, Greenville, S.C.

Oct. 29-31

Host: Furman

Field: Chattanooga, Detroit-Mercy, East Tennessee State, Furman, Georgia State, Jacksonville, James Madison, Longwood, Mercer, Middle Tennessee State, Nova Southeastern, Presbyterian, Rollins, Samford, South Florida, Winthrop, Wofford

Defending champion: Nova Southeastern (35-over 611) by four strokes over Campbell; Nova Southeastern's Sandra Changkija (three-over 147) by two strokes over Campbell's Mary Mattson and Furman's Stefanie Kenoyer

Skinny: Impressive group of past winners includes Betsy King, Nancy Lopez, Sherri Turner, Donna Andrews and Dottie Pepper.

__Pat Bradley Invitational

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

Pelican Preserve, Fort Myers, Fla.

Oct. 31-Nov. 2

Host: Florida International

Field: Bethune-Cookman, Cincinnati, Daytona State, Drake, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International, Maryland, Murray State, North Texas, Oakland (Mich.), South Alabama, Stetson, Troy, Western Michigan

Defending champion: Furman (six-over 870) by seven strokes over South Florida; USF's Shena Yang (eight-under 208) by three strokes over UCF's Valentina Fontaine

Skinny: Amazing to think that a junior college team (Daytona State) might be the favorite. Meanwhile, host Florida International, however, is No. 25 in the Golfstat team ranking.

__The Alamo Invitational

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

Briggs Ranch, San Antonio

Oct. 31-Nov. 2

Host: UT-San Antonio

Field: Baylor, Central Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, UT-San Antonio, Tulane, Tulsa, UCF, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Tennessee (one-over 289) by three strokes over Notre Dame and Texas A&M; Notre Dame's Annie Brophy and Tennessee's Nathalie Mansson (two-under 70)

Skinny: Second edition of the event hopes to go longer than last year's rain-shortened one round affair.

__Challenge at Onion Creek

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

Onion Creek GC, Austin, Texas

Nov. 1-2

Host: Texas State

Field: Arkansas-Little Rock, Augusta State, Coastal Carolina, Denver, Eastern Michigan, Gonzaga, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kennesaw State, Michigan, San Francisco, Texas State, Xavier

Defending champion: Texas A&M (one-under 839) by three strokes over San Francisco; Texas A&M's Julia Boland (four-under 206) by one stroke over Texas A&M's Ashley Freeman

Skinny: Curious to see how low the scores might be as the tournament's yardage at Onion Creek is listed at 5,944 with a par 70.

__Turtle Bay Collegiate Invitational

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

Turtle Bay Resort, Laie, Hawaii

Nov. 2-4

Host: Hawaii

Field: BYU, British Columbia, Hawaii, Portland State, Princeton, Southern Illinois, UC Irvine

Defending champion: UC Davis (four-over 868) by nine strokes over UCLA; USC's Lizette Salas (eight-under 208) by five strokes over UC Davis' Amy Simanton and San Jose State's Cristina Corpus

Skinny: Smaller field than usual, not to mention an unusually diverse one.

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