News & ToursSeptember 18, 2008

This week's syllabus: Sept. 18-24

__THE FAB FIVE

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

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  1. UCLA (Last week: 1)

The Bruins will have three of the starting five from last year's NCAA title team--Erik Flores,Philip Francis and Lucas Lee--in the lineup to start their title defense, along with sophomore__Connor Driscoll__ and freshman Mauricio Azcue.

Next event: Fighting Illini/Olympia Fields Invitational, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Ill., Sept. 19-21

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  1. Oklahoma State (2)

The Cowboys got off to a hot start a year ago in Illinois with a win at Olympia Fields. No doubt they've got the depth to do it again this weekend.

Next event: Fighting Illini/Olympia Fields Invitational, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Ill., Sept. 19-21

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  1. Chattanooga (NR)

The Mocs show they have arrive on the national level with a five-stroke victory over Tennessee at the Carpet Capital Classic last weekend. A year ago, Mark Guhne's program arrived at the tournament after winning the Scenic City Invitational and finished a disappointing T-9. Not this time, as freshman Stephan Jaeger's hole in one in the final round spurs the team to its second title in two starts.

Next event: Golfweek/Ping Preview, Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 28-29

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  1. Clemson (NR)

Maybe I'm just a sucker, after seeing talented Tiger teams the past few seasons fail to live up to their billing. But this squad seems too good to underachieve again in 2008-09. A fourth-place showing at the Carpet Capital is a good start and medalist Kyle Stanley seems prepared to have a national player of the year caliber season.

Next event: Golfweek/Ping Preview, Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 28-29

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  1. Stanford (4)

Cardinal fans are no doubt anxious to see how Joseph Bramlett does in his return to the lineup this weekend in Illinois.

Next event: Fighting Illini/Olympia Fields Invitational, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Ill., Sept. 19-21

__WOMEN

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  1. Arizona State (1)

Coach Melissa Luellen's "Tale of Two semesters" theme might start ringing a little hollow if the Sun Devils win in Tennessee as well. More like a tale of one great team.

Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 26-28

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  1. UCLA (2)

Hard not to get excited about the Bruins, who have seven All-American caliber players to fill their starting five.

Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 26-28

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  1. Georgia (5)

Lady Bulldogs win in record style at Cougar Classic this past week, setting 54-hole school mark with a six-under 858 total at Yeamans Hall in South Carolina. Also broke their best score in relation to par. Too bad Georgia doesn't play for another full month. Maybe freshman Marta Silva, Cougar Classic medalist, is the anchor No. 1 player Georgia's been looking for.

Next event: The Derby Invitational, Auburn University Club, Auburn, Ala., Oct. 24-26

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  1. USC (3)

Don't count the Trojans out. They did finish second at the NCAA Preview, showing the cupboard isn't bare on their side of Los Angeles.

Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 26-28

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  1. Virginia (NR)

Good news for Cavs fans: Team bags its second-straight top-five finish against another solid field at the Cougar Classic. Better news: Getting contributions from multiple players early in the season.

Next event: Lady Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley Course, Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 3-5

__STAT OF THE WEEK, PART I

1__

Number of shots that Virginia's Whitney Neuhauser better her personal 54-hole tournament best when she shot a seven-over 223 at the Duramed Fall Preview two week's ago at Caves Valley GC outside of Baltimore. Her previous record was 224 at last February's Qdoba Invitational

__STAT OF THE WEEK, PART II

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Number of shots that the junior from Barboursville, Va., better her personal 54-hole tournament best when she shot a eight-under 208 at the Cougar Classic last week at Yeamans Hall outside of Charleston, S.C. She also set a Virginia individual school record in the process of coming in second, her best ever college finish. Apparently the her out of nowhere quarterfinal appearance at the U.S. Women's Amateur had a carryover effect.

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR__

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  • Maybe it's too early to be lobbying the GCAA All-American committee about who to pick for first-team honors next spring, but I hope Marquette senior Mike Van Sickle doesn't run into the same hurdles that Boise State senior Troy Merritt did last season. Recall that Merritt won seven tournaments in 2007-08, posting a 69.8 average, yet failed to be recognized on the first team, presumably because the schedule Boise State plays isn't as strong as some of the other national powers. Meanwhile, Van Sickle  increased his school record career win total to seven last week with his two-stroke victory at the Gopher Invitational. The 21-year-old from Wexford, Pa., could likely win a half-dozen events this coming year, but become a casualty of playing at a northern school in a non-power conference. Bottom line, wins and stroke averages don't lie. If Van Sickle keeps up his strong play--which I wouldn't bet against--lets hope he gets his just reward.

  • The NCAA has approved the sites for the 2009 Division II men's and women's championships. The men's D-II final will be played at Loomis Trail GC in Blaine, Wash., May 19-22 while the women's championship will be held at Findlay CC in Findlay, Ohio, May 13-16.

  • With a share of the lead after three rounds of the first stage of LPGA Q school, Arizona State's Anna Nordqvist seems all but a lock to advance to the final stage in December. Good for her, but it could be bad for the Sun Devils if she can eventually earn her card and decides to turn pro early.

  • While men's coaches out there might have already known that they've got a hot prospect for the Class of 2029 in my nephew Anthony Christopher Guidone, women's coaches can now begin the recruiting process for another sure to be star golfer in the making: my new niece__Morgan Isla Herrington__. Seeing as she was born on Wednesday, we're still not sure if she's going to have a great short game or be a good ball-striker, but her parents are partial to Big Ten schools. (Congrats Jeanette and Josh!)

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TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH

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Fighting Illini/Olympia Fields Invitational__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Ill. (Par 70, 7,157 yards)

Sept. 19-21

Host: Illinois

Field: Arizona State, UCF, Duke, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Purdue, SMU, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: Oklahoma State (17-over 857) by seven strokes over Texas; Rickie Fowler, Oklahoma State (seven-under 203) by one stroke over Indiana's Jorge Campillo

Skinny: Third annual event has three of the top four teams from last year's NCAA Championship in UCLA, Stanford and Oklahoma State.

Wolverine Intercollegiate

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

University of Michigan GC, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Par 71 6,701 yards)

Sept. 20-21

Host: Michigan

Field: California, Colorado, Columbia, Eastern Michigan, Gardner Webb, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Oakland, San Diego, Toledo, UC Davis, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Xavier

Defending champion: Michigan (eight-over 872) by 10 strokes over Penn State, Tim Schaetzel, Michigan (five-under 211) by three strokes over Iowa's Cole Peevler (Played at Mission Inn Resort in Florida)

Skinny: Three teams come into the tournament already with a victory during the 2008-09 season: Colorado State, Michigan and Michigan State.

Adams Cup

Newport National GC, Newport, R.I. (Par 72, 7,244 yards)

Sept. 22-23

__Host:__Rhode Island

__Field:__Akron, Brown, Connecticut, Francis Marion, Furman, George Washington, Hartford, Marshall, Minnesota, Navy, New Mexico State, Rhode Island, Southern Mississippi, Saint Joseph's, Temple, Texas A&M

Defending champion: Wichita State (26-over 890) by 11 strokes over Southern Mississippi; Chris Gold, Maryland (two-over 218) by two strokes over USC-Aiken's Roberto Diaz, Southern Miss's Rocky Cleland and Wichita State's Zachariah Potter

Skinny: The host Rams have never won the tournament in its first 14 years ... Minnesota can become the event's first three-time champion ... Favorite Texas A&M won the event in 2005.

Shoal Creek Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Shoal Creek CC, Birmingham, Ala.

Sept. 22-23

Host: UAB

Field: UAB, Auburn, Baylor, East Tennessee State, Georgia Southern, LSU, Mississippi, North Florida, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Texas Tech (nine-over 873) by five strokes over UAB; Texas Tech's Will Griffin and UAB's Brad Smith share medalist honors (three-under 213)

Skinny: Two birdies on the final two holes helped the Red Raiders pull off the victory a year ago.

Giustina Memorial Classic

Trysting Tree GC

Sept. 22-23

Host: Oregon State

Field: Boise State, Fresno State, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Sacramento State, San Francisco, Washington State

Defending champion: Oregon State (21-under 843) by eight strokes over Fresno State; Troy Merritt, Boise State (12-under 204) by one stroke over Oregon State's Vincent Johnson

__Skinny:__Second-annual event has both the men's and women's tournament played concurrently.

Jim Colbert Intercollegiate

Colbert HIlls GC, Manhattan, Kan.

Sept. 22-23

Host: Kansas State

Defending champion: Miami (Ohio) (11-over 875) by 12 strokes over Kansas State; Michael Drobnick, Miami (even-par 216) by one stroke over Miami's Ben Wood and Marquette's Mike Van Sickle__ __


__WOMEN

Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

University of New Mexico Championship Course, Albuquerque

Sept. 18-20

Host: New Mexico

Field: BYU, Campbell, Colorado, Colorado State, Hawaii, Indiana, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, TCU, Texas, UTEP, UC Davis, UNLV, Wyoming

Defending champion: Event not held last year due to NCAA Preview.

Skinny: The tournament celebrates its 29th playing as a separate women's competition after the men and women played concurrently in the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate from 1956 to 1978.

Mary Fossum Invitational

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Forest Akers West Course, East Lansing, Mich. (Par 72, 6,236 yards)

Sept. 20-21

Host: Michigan State

Field: Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Iowa, Kent State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Toledo, Western Michigan

Defending champion: Michigan State (32-over 896) by four strokes over Indiana and Kent State; Laura Kueny, Michigan State (two-under 214) by eight shots over Michigan State's Sara Brown and Kent State's Kira Meixner

Skinny: The tournament honors former Spartan coach Mary Fossum, who oversaw the program from 1973 to 1997. The women's golfer with the lowest stroke average in the Big Ten for the season also earns the Mary Fossum Award from the conference. ... Host Spartans have won three of the last four times the event has been played.

Giustina Memorial Classic

Trysting Tree GC, Corvallis, Ore.

Sept. 22-23

Host: Oregon State__

Field: Boise State, Fresno State, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Sacramento State, San Francisco, Washington State

Defending champion:__ Washington State (22-over 886) by 14 strokes over Oregon State; Felicia Eastick, Oregon (one-over 217) by two strokes over Washington State's Amy Eneroth

__Skinny:Second-annual event has both the men's and women's tournament played concurrently.

Ron Moore Women's Intercollegiate__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

HIghland Ranch GC, Highland Ranch, Colo.

Sept. 22-24

Host: Denver

Field: UALR, Baylor, Denver, Iowa State, Kentucky, Northern Colorado, Oklahoma, San Jose State, TCU, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UNC Wilmington, Wyoming

Defending champion: Denver (22-over 886) by nine strokes over Baylor; Stephanie Sherlock, Denver (three-under 213) by two strokes over Baylor's Hannah Burke

__Skinny:__Pioneers' home-course advantage might be too much for the rest of the field.

Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational

Alvamar GC, Lawrence, Kan.

Sept. 22-23

Host: Kansas

Defending champion: Kansas (24-over 600) by two strokes over Missouri; Julia Potter, Missouri (one-under 143) by one stroke over UALR's Sara Wikstrom____

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