News & ToursOctober 31, 2008

This week's syllabus: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

__THE FAB FIVE

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

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  1. Georgia (Last week: 2)

A second straight convincing win in the fall, this time at their favorite stomping ground (Isleworth), allows the Bulldogs to close out the first-half of the 2008-09 on a high. UGa's depth is has been rather evident, with four players posting 73.22 averages or better although only one player (Hudson Swafford, 71.89) has a sub-72 mark.

Next event: Concluded fall play

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  1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

Had a disappointing T-9 finish at Isleworth, hinting that while the Cowboys' much talked about depth is obvious on paper it doesn't always translate to results on the course. No need to panic in Stillwater, though, as you've got to believe that without the distractions of the fall (Rickie Fowler at the World Amateur; Trent Leon playing PGA Tour Q school), there should be better focus this spring.

Next event: Concluded fall play ____

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  1. Alabama (NR)

Who said losing four seniors was going to be a challenge? The Crimson Tide finished in the top five in three of four fall starts and the fourth was a sixth-place finish. Lone Alabama veteran Matthew Swan has provided solid leadership and freshman Bud Cauley looks as good as advertised.

Next event: Concluded fall play __

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  1. USC (4)

The talent on the Trojans roster is too good to ignore, but a strong showing at CordeValle (where they should be co-favorites with host UCLA) will be important to keep USC in the discussions for the nation's top squad. Jamie Lovemark continues to show shines his great form from this freshman season might be returning, but a needs to be a little more consistent.

Next event: CordeValle Collegiate, CordeValle GC, San Martin, Calif., Nov. 3-5

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  1. Illinois (3)

Said it last week that a good finish at Isleworth would help validate the Fighting Illini's three win fall. A T-11 wasn't exactly the result they hoped to achieve, but all in all Mike Small has to be pleased with the potential of his charges.

Next event: Concluded fall play __

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__WOMEN

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  1. UCLA (1)

No team--men's or women's--has looked as consistently sharp as the Bruins this fall. You have to wonder, then, if contesting a tournament at match play rather than stroke play might work against UCLA as it tries try to close out the first half of the 2008-09 season undefeated.

Next event: Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship, Ginn Reunion Resort, Kissimmee, Fla., Nov. 2-4

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  1. Arizona State (3)

You've got to wonder what coach Melissa Luellen is really thinking after seeing Anna Nordqvist run off with the individual title at the Derby Invitational, helping the Sun Devils claim a ho-hum 18-stroke team triumph. Sure she's wishing the best for Nordqvist at LPGA Q school. Unfortunately, the best for Nordqvist (earning a card) isn't what's best for Arizona State.

Next event: Concluded fall play __

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  1. USC (2)

Belen Mozo (U.S. Women's Amateur semifinalist) and Jennifer Song (U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links finalist) showed match play prowess this summer. Got to think the Trojans chances' of being in the mix to the end at Ginn Reunion Resort this week are pretty high.

Next event: Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship, Ginn Reunion Resort, Kissimmee, Fla., Nov. 2-4

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  1. Oklahoma State (4)

A second straight second-place finish, this time in Las Vegas, since Laura Matthews stepped down as coach earlier this month suggests that the change at the top might not be as big a distractions as some have thought for the Cowgirls. Look for OSU to try and name a new coach sometime during the winter break.

Next event: Concluded fall play __

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  1. Purdue (5)

The Lady Boilermakers hold their position for now, although you could make an argument that Pepperdine (see below), Wake Forest (two wins) or Virginia (four top-fours) could occupy the five spot just as easily. Bottom line: there's been a bit of separation on the women's side from the good and the really good.

Next event: Concluded fall play


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STAT OF THE WEEK

199, 823__

Naysayers will tell you the record numbers shot by Pepperdine's Lisa McCloskey and the entire Waves squad at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown this week was more a function of Boulder Creek GC having no wind and perfect greens. When you set an NCAA 54-hole best, as the freshman from Montgomery, Texas, is believed to have done with her 17-under 199 showing (NCAA doesn't keep official records for such statistics), a defenseless golf course shouldn't get all the credit/blame. After all, McCloskey didn't make a single bogey during the week while shooting rounds of 67-65-67, putting her one stroke lower than what was assumed to be the old 54-hole record  set by (coincidentally) Pepperdine's Katherine Hull at the 2003 San Jose State Spartan Invitational.

Pepperdine's collective 41-under 823 was 23 strokes lower than their previous 54-hole team best. Here's the other ways the team re-wrote the school's record books this week:

  • school-record score for 36 holes (26-under 250)

  • the first (18-under 270), second (15-under 273) and fifth (eight-under 280) best single team rounds

  • McCloskey setting school records for 36 holes (12-under 132) and 54 holes (17-under 199)

  • the fourth best (tied) 54-hole individual score (Jayvie Agojo's eight-under 208)

  • the 11th best 54-hole individual score (Taylore Karle's seven-under 209)

  • the 12th best (tied) 54-hole individual score (Kaitlin Drolson's six-under 208)

  • the third best (tied) individual round in school history (7-under 65s by McCloskey and Agojo)

  • the sixth best (tied) individual round in school history (6-under 66 by Karle)

  • the 12th best (tied) individual round in school history (a pair of 5-under 67s by McCloskey)

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STAT OF THE WEEK, PART II__

277

The final-round score for the St. Mary's (Calif.) men at last weekend's Baylor Invitational. It was not only the low team score on Tuesday at Royal Oaks CC in Waco, Texas, but the low round of the tournament by any school. Still it couldn't keep the Gaels from still finishing last among the 12-team field because amazingly in the first two rounds St. Mary's shot 317 and 316. Junior Robert McRae shot a final round 66 after opening with a 76-77. Senior Brett Mormann posted a final-round 69 after shooting 83-80 the first two rounds.

Don't know about you, but I'm kind of curious to find out what coach Scott Hardy said to the boys the night before to get the 40-stroke turnaround that he did.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Alex_martin

  • It's become fashionable to praise the play of Indiana senior Jorge Campillo, a first-team All-American who has had as good a fall as any men's golfer in the country. Lost in Campillo's solid start is the impressive performance Hoosier junior Alex Martin has had during the first half of the 2008-09 campaign. The 21-year-old from Middletown, Ohio, (right, photo courtesy of Indiana's media relations) has a individual victory of his own (share of first with Illinois' Zach Barlow at Olympia Fields) and a share of second place this past week at Isleworth with Campillo. Without Martin's 71.87 average this fall, you would be hard pressed to see Indiana having their five top-five finishes and being ranked in the top 25 in the national polls. You can't have one player carry a team anymore in men's college golf. In that respect, Martin has been just as valuable as Campillo and is going to be counted on in much the same way when IU starts up play again in the spring.

__TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH

MEN

Rees Jones Intercollegiate __

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

Haig Point Club, Daufuskie Island, S.C.

Nov. 3-4

Host: Michigan State

Field: Eastern Michigan, Georgia State, Idaho, Jackson State, Methodist, Michigan State, San Diego State, South Carolina, Tennessee State, Troy, Tulsa

Defending champion: New Event

Skinny: Tournament was postponed from early September when bad weather from Hurricane Hanna.

CordeValle Collegiate

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

CordeValle GC, San Martin, Calif.

Nov. 3-5

Host: UCLA

Field: Arizona, Arkansas, Augusta State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Lamar, Northwestern, Santa Clara, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington

Defending champion: UCLA (12-under 1,068) by 11 strokes over Stanford; Augusta State's Henrik Norlander, UCLA's James Lee, Stanford's Sihwan Kim (five-under 211)

Skinny: Host Bruins trying to win the title for the fourth time in five years. ... Event uses play six/count five format.

Stockton Sports Commission Pacific Invitational

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

Brookside CC, Stockton, Calif.

Nov. 3-5

Host: Pacific

__Field:__BYU, CSU-Northridge, Fresno State, Kansas State, Marquette, Oregon, Pacific, Rice, Sacramento State, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UT-San Antonio

__Defending champion:__Charlotte (40-under 824) by two strokes over Kansas State; Charlotte's Stefan Wiedergruen (17-under 199) by three strokes over Fresno State's Grant Doverspike

__Skinny:__Regional rivalry gets played out with CSU Northridge, Fresno State, Pacific and first-time participant Sacramento State.

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WOMEN

Challenge at Wolfdancer __

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

Wolfdancer GC, Austin, Texas

Nov. 2-3

Host: Texas State

Field: Baylor, Charleston, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, McNeese State, Michigan, Missouri State, Nebraska, Northwestern, SMU, Texas State, Texas Tech

Defending champion: Northwestern (47-over 911) by five strokes over Iowa State; Baylor's Hannah Burke (one-over 217) by four strokes over Illinois' Seul Ki Park and Lamar's Therese Nilsson

Skinny: Second-year event has six Big 12 teams in the field and four Big Ten schools.

Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship

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

Ginn Reunion Resort, Reunion, Fla.

Nov. 2-4

Host: National Golf Coaches Association

Field: Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Denver, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Kent State, Michigan State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia

Defending champion: Duke defeated Georgia in the finals, 3-1-1

Skinny: A mediocre fall season for the Blue Devils could end at least on a positive note if they can win the event for the fifth time in five tries.

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