News & ToursOctober 29, 2009

This week's syllabus: Oct. 29-Nov. 4

__THE FAB FIVE

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

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__MEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad721eadd713143b423863]|||Thumbnail image for Oklahoma-state-logo-latest.jpg|||1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

Birdies on the last two holes by Peter Uihlein and a one-under performance over the last three holes by Kevin Tway allow the Cowboys to hold off Florida at the Isleworth Collegiate, claiming their second team title in three starts. OSU's record thus far in 2009-10: 41-1

Next event: Gifford Collegiate Championship at CordeValle, CordeValle CC, San Martin, Calif., Nov. 9-11

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Not only do the Cardinal shine at Isleworth, finishing third, but they do it while their most famous golfing alumni, Tiger Woods, in attendance all week. No tournament titles yet this fall for__Conrad Ray__'s polished squad, although no finishes worse than fourth either. Putts on GIR of 1.802 is among the nation's best.

Next event: Gifford Collegiate Championship at CordeValle, CordeValle CC, San Martin, Calif., Nov. 9-11

3. Texas A&M (NR)

The defending national champions followed up a victory at the inaugural Lone Star Invitational a week earlier with a three-stroke triumph at the Baylor Intercollegiate Oct. 27. The Aggies' top recruit, Cameron Peck, posts his best finish this fall with a T-2 showing, while the entire team seems to have navigated the first semester as NCAA champions without finding the title too heavy a burden to carry.

Next event: Fall season completed

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A 12th-place showing at Isleworth (31 strokes behind victorious Oklahoma State) wasn't the way the Sun Devils envisioned closing out the fall schedule. On the flip side, it could be just the motivational tool coach Randy Lein needs to keep his players focused during the winter break.

Next event: Fall season completed

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Same holds for the Huskies, who surprisingly finished T-13 at Isleworth. Nick Taylor's usually strong supporting cast was AWOL in Florida but don't expect the same come next spring.

Next event: Fall season completed

__WOMEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad721eadd713143b423866]|||Thumbnail image for Arizona State logo 2008-09.gif|||1. Arizona State (1)

The Sun Devils were hamstrung in the final round of the NCAA Preview, losing Juliana Murcia due to illness. A fourth-place finish wasn't what the team envisioned heading into the event in Wilmington, but they'll take it. "We liked the course, and we learned quite it about it," said coach Melissa Luellen of CC of Landfall, which hosts next spring's NCAA Championship. "We will be ready for it in May."

Next event: Fall season completed

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Of the 15 individual performances from the Bruins starters in their three fall tournaments, UCLA golfers have finished outside the top 20 just five times. None of the starting five has a stroke average worse than 73.5. No victories yet for UCLA, but you get the feeling it won't be to long before that changes.

Next event: Turtle Bay Resort Collegiate Invitational, Turtle Bay Resort GC, Kahuku, Hawaii, Nov. 2-4

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Cydney Clanton's victory at the NCAA Preview suggests the struggles of her sophomore season are behind her. Combined with the play of senior Candace Schepperle, the Tigers have three seconds and a third in four fall events. While coach Kim Evans is going to need more from players 3-5 to contend for an NCAA title next spring having two first-team All-American caliber golfers at the front of the line-up certainly isn't a bad thing.

Next event: Fall season completed

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That optimism about having Belen Mozo back in the line-up faded upon seeing her jar her surgically repaired shoulder while hitting a shot from a rough lie during the second round of the NCAA Preview. Mozo WD'd after starting the third round, deciding to be safe rather than sorry. The resulting 16th place finish was ugly but also came with Jennifer Song out of the line-up to play in an LPGA event.

Next event: Turtle Bay Resort Collegiate Invitational, Turtle Bay Resort GC, Kahuku, Hawaii, Nov. 2-4

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__[#image: /photos/55ad721fadd713143b423878]|||Thumbnail image for Purdue 2008-09 logo.gif|||5. Purdue (5)

While finishing sixth at the NCAA Preview, the Boilermakers were only 11 strokes out of first, making the week's play a little more palatable. Purdue's proved there is life after Maria Hernandez with their play this fall, and their pending  showdowns with Michigan State could make the Big Ten as entertaining as any conference to follow this spring.

Next event: Fall season completed

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STAT OF THE WEEK

2,212__

Number of days since the Arizona women's golf team last won a tournament after the Wildcats took the team title yesterday in windy conditions at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, beating Florida by five strokes with a 14-over 878 at Boulder Creek GC in Boulder City, Nev. It was the first victory for Arizona since winning the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational Oct. 8, 2003.

"It was 48 degrees when they teed off, and the wind was blowing around 40 miles per hour," said coach Shelly Haywood afterward. "I'm so proud of the team. They finally know how good they are, and we're still a very young team."

Indeed, Arizona played with a freshman (Sherlyn Popelka), three sophomores (Nikki Koller, Isabelle Boineau and Margarita Ramos) and a junior (Alejandra Llaneza) in the starting line-up. Popelka shot a final-round one-under 71 to claim medalist honors with a seven-under 209 total. She is the first Arizona player to win an individual title since Alison Walshe won the 2008 West Regional.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • The Georgia men don't play again until late February in Puerto Rico, wrapping up their fall schedule at Isleworth this week while posting a season-best fourth-place finish. That doesn't mean there are no big events on the team's calendar between now and then. Specifically, a decision regarding whether All-American Hudson Swafford might take a medical redshirt season is likely forthcoming. The senior had surgery to repair a torn labrum last summer and is in the midst of the rehab. Georgia coach Chris Haack said earlier this fall that they would take their time regarding Swafford's return. Given the fact there are three-plus months, there doesn't seem much reason to rush any decisions although one could be made as early as November.

  • The first significant coaching post has opened up with long-time Mississippi State's Christi Sanders announcing she'll retire at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season after 22 years as the Bulldogs' women's coach. Mississippi State director of athletics Greg Byrne said a national search will begin immediately for Sanders' successor. Sanders was the longest-tenured head coach on the Mississippi State coaching staff.

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TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

MEN

Renaissance Invitational__

The Club at Renaissance, Fort Myers, Fla.

Nov. 1-2

Host: Xavier

Field: Ball State, Bowling Green State, Campbell, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, Liberty, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Penn State, Troy, Western Kentucky, Xavier

Defending champion: New event

Skinny: A month after hosting their annual Xavier Invitational in Ohio, coach/DOG Doug Steiner is set to put on a new event in Florida.

Carter Plantation Intercollegiate

Carter Plantation, Springfield, La.

Nov. 2-3

Host: Southeastern Louisiana

Field: Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, New Orleans, Nicholls State, Rice, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin, UT Arlington

Defending champion: Texas State (17-over 881) by four strokes over Louisiana-Lafayette; Texas State's Jeff Gerlich (eight-under 208) by 10 strokes over S.E. Louisiana's Mathew Carvell

Skinny: Event moved from its usual spring dates to fall for its seventh edition as the course will also host the Southland Conference Championship in April

Turtle Bay Resort Collegiate Invitational

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

Turtle Bay Resort GC, Kahuku, Hawaii

Nov. 2-4

Host: Hawaii

Field: Air Force, BYU-Hawaii, British Columbia, Georgia State, Hawaii, Illinois, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, San Diego State, Santa Clara

Defending champion: Texas (21-under 843) by three strokes over San Diego State; Ohio State's Vaughn Snyder (11-under 205) by one stroke over UT Arlington's Bobby Massa

Skinny: Japan's Osaka Gakuin also will be competing in the field

Stockton Sports Commission Pacific Invitational

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

Brookside CC, Stockton, Calif.

Nov. 2-4

Host: University of the Pacific

Field: BYU, CSU Fullerton, CSU Northridge, Denver, Fresno State, Kansas State, Oregon, Pacific, Sacramento State, San Jose State, St. Mary's (Calif.), UC Davis

Defending champion: Kansas State (one-over 853) by three strokes over UC Davis; Marquette's Mike Van Sickle (four-under 209) by one stroke over four golfers

Skinny: Host Tigers enter their home event fresh off a eight-stroke victory at the Bill Cullum Invitational in which the team broke the Pacific scoring mark versus par (21 under) while setting the tournament's 54-hole scoring mark.

WOMEN

Challenge at Onion Creek

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

Onion Creek GC, Austin, Texas

Nov. 2-3

Host: Texas State

Field: UALR, Augusta State, Baylor, Boise State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, San Francisco, Texas, UTSA, Texas State, Texas Tech, Washington State, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Colorado (64-over 928) by one stroke over Texas Tech and Texas State; Texas Tech's Megan Dowdy and Iowa State's Victoria Stefansen (five-over 221) share medalist honors

Skinny: Tournament, held last year at Wolfdancer GC, can only hope for better luck weather-wise than last week's inaugural Alamo Invitational in San Antonio, where rain wiped out the first two rounds.

Turtle Bay Collegiate Invitational

Turtle Bay Resort, Kahuku, Hawaii

Nov. 2-4

Host: Hawaii

Field: BYU, California, Gonzaga, Hawaii, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Oregon, Oregon State, Oral Roberts, San Diego State, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Toledo, Tulsa, UC Davis, UCLA, USC, Washington

Defending champion: New Event

Skinny: Women's tournament added to the men's invitational for first time and packs an impressive field with six Pac-10 programs, including UCLA and USC.

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