The Loop

This week's syllabus: Sept. 20-26

September 20, 2007


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



An impressive come-from-behind playoff victory at the Carpet Capital Collegiate gives us a new No. 1 for the week. Give tons of credit to Matt Hughes, a Georgia boy who came through with a final-round 67 to key the Tide's roll, as well as one of the two birdies Alabama had in the playoff to knock off South Carolina.

Next event: Ping/Golfweek Preview, Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Ind., Sept. 22-23

2. Stanford (1)


Hard to move a team that's idle ... except when the team jumping the idle school has already beaten the idle school earlier in the fall.

Next event: Fighting Illini/Olympia Fields Invitational, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Ill., Sept. 30-Oct. 1

__3. UCLA __ (3)


Got to believe the Bruins are going to be chomping at the bit to get things started. Somehow the start of the season is still, however, a month away.

Next event: Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, Chambers Bay GC, University Place, Wash., Oct. 23-24

__4. USC __ (5)


The Trojans are loaded with bombers, which should suit them just fine this weekend in Indiana. Consistency will be this squad's biggest issue.

Next event: Ping/Golfweek Preview, Kampen GC, West Lafayette, Ind., Sept. 22-23

5. Georgia Tech (NR)


A third-place finish at home in the Carpet Capital to start the season bodes well for the Yellow Jackets, particularly considering their best player finished a disappointing T-82. Chesson Hadley's individual victory suggests the sophomore is ready to pick up where he left off last spring.

Next event: Brickyard Invitational, The Brickyard at Riverside, Macon, Ga., Oct. 7-9



Fantastic start for the Bruins with their 14-stroke victory at the Mason Rudolph Women's Championship last weekend. Three straight sub-par rounds ... four golfers finishing in the top 15 ... two freshmen getting off to solid start.

Next event: Margaret Moses Branch NCAA Preview, University of New Mexico Championship Cse., Albuquerque, Sept. 24-26

__2. Duke __ (1)


Dominant performance from Amanda Blumenherst outside Nashville kept the Blue Devils from finishing no worse than third at Mason Rudolph. Dan Brooks sends a message with Jennie Lee not making the travel team; it's going to be fun to watch the inter-squad competition back in Durham.

Next event: Margaret Moses Branch NCAA Preview, University of New Mexico Championship Cse., Albuquerque, Sept. 24-26

3. Arizona State (2)


Sun Devils enjoy nice start to season with second-place showing at Mason Rudolph, but know for sure now that the Pac-10 is going to be one tough conference.

Next event: Margaret Moses Branch NCAA Preview, University of New Mexico Championship Cse., Albuquerque, Sept. 24-26

__4. Oklahoma State __ (NR)


The Cowgirls place fourth at Mason Rudolph with Pernilla Lindberg posting three straight 70s for a T-3 individual showing. Problem last year for OSU was backing up a good finish with another good finish. Will be interesting to see if its different in 2007-08 with roster that only has five players currently.

Next event: Margaret Moses Branch NCAA Preview, University of New Mexico Championship Cse., Albuquerque, Sept. 24-26

5. USC (4)


Trojans' T-6 finish at Mason Rudolph is respectable for a season-opener, but you get the feeling there's a lot more in their tank than what we saw in Nashville.

Next event: Margaret Moses Branch NCAA Preview, University of New Mexico Championship Cse., Albuquerque, Sept. 24-26



Jesse Barnsley__, Pepperdine


The senior from Albuquerque played in front of a hometown crowd at the 53rd William H. Tucker Invitational and had fans cheering with a 12-under 204 to win medalist honors by eight strokes on the University of New Mexico Championship Course. Barnsley's first college victory also helped the Waves claim the team title in their season-opener. (Photo courtesy of Pepperdine Sports Information Department.)



Lisa Maunu__, Notre Dame


While leading the Fighting Irish, which shot a school-best six-over 870, to the team title at the Cougar Classic in Hanahan, S.C., the junior also broke ND's 18- and 54-hole individual records with a first-round 66 on the Yeamans Hall Club and a six-under 210 to win her first college event. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Sports Information Department.)




Number of victories the Notre Dame women have in the past two weeks after claiming the title this week at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup on Tuesday, roughly a week after winning the Cougar Classic in South Carolina. This compares to no wins last year for the Fighting Irish, who have only captured back-to-back titles just three times in their 20 years of existence, and three runner-up finishes.


â¿¢ What's that saying about the best laid plans ... As men's programs are trying to figure out how to stay on the right side of the new .500 rule in college golf, many of them are learning that playing in tournaments with so called "easier" competition doesn't necessarily mean you'll rack up a but of easy wins.

Look at Arizona. The Wildcats were the highest ranked team to play in the Purdue Midwest Shootout two weeks ago, a scheduled one-day, 36-hole event at Purdue's Kampen Course, site of next year's NCAA Championship. Rain forced the event to be shortened to one round, one in which the Wildcats struggled, finishing in ninth place and causing U of A to go back to Tucson with a 7-8 record. Playing against a stronger field in last week's Tucker Invitational, Arizona finished eighth and now carries a 16-15 overall mark. Not bad, but not the start that will allow the Wildcats to breathe better this fall.

This past week the University of Texas hosted a two-day, 36-hole event dubbed the Texas Cup. Of the 11 teams in the field, only the Longhorns were ranked in Golf World/Nike Golf's latest top 25 poll. And while UT finished only third (a surprise considering the event was on their home course) they do come away with an 8-2 record. That might help, but I'm sure John Fields would have liked to go 10-0.

Meanwhile, the biggest "name" team that might have real concerns about the .500 rule and qualifying for the postseason is 10th ranked Clemson. The Tigers went 0-3 at the Topy Cup and then their disappointing 13th-place finish at the Carpet Capital Collegiate last weekend (even with a jetlagged Kyle Stanley playing, finishing an amazingly poor 74th individually), leaves them at 5-15. The good news is Clemson plays against a slightly weaker field at the Brickyard Invitational the first week of October. But they better not slip up or they risk falling into a real hole record wise.

â¿¢ The newest edition of the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' polls appears in this week's Golf World. Interestingly in the Division II poll, defending NCAA D-II champion Barry University jumped Florida Southern into the top spot. This, despite the fact that neither school has played in an event just yet. Thankfully, the two can settle it on the course this weekend as both are in the field at the Coker College Invitational at Orange County National in Orlando.

â¿¢ The Duke women's golf team will be making a quick stop prior to jetting out to New Mexico for the upcoming Margaret Moses Branch NCAA Preview in Albuquerque. The Blue Devils are scheduled to go to Washington, D.C., tomorrow to meet with President George W. Bush in an annual visit to the White House for NCAA champions. (The Stanford men's team that won the 2007 NCAA title already made their trip to the White House last June ... here is a link to some photos of the big day.)




(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Sept. 22-23

Host: Purdue

Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Ind. (7,467 yards, par 72)

Field: Alabama, Arizona State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Georgia State, Lamar, Louisville, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Southern California, Texas A&M, UNLV

Defending Preview champion: Florida (six-under 834); Billy Horschel, Florida (seven-under 203)

Skinny: This year's Preview has become a bit of a lightning rod in the struggle between coaches that support playing nine three-day tournaments versus a 24-day max schedule with two- and three-day events. The tournament was originally scheduled for three days, but Purdue coach Devon Brouse (an anti-three day coach) got the tournament switched to a two-day (36/18) affair. This caused Georgia, Georgia Tech and Clemson to drop out. Meanwhile, as for on the course matters, don't expect to see the low numbers last year's Preview at Golden Horseshoe GC yielded. The Kampen Course is a long, stout test.


Wolf Run Intercollegiate__

Wolf Run GC, Zionsville, Ind. (7,195 yards, par 71)

Sept. 22-23

Host: Indiana

Field: Arkansas, Ball State, Denver, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, IUPUI, Kent State, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Northwestern, Penn State, UNC Greensboro, Toledo, Virginia

Jim Colbert Intercollegiate

Colbert Hills GC, Manhattan, Kan.

Sept. 24-25

Host: Kansas State

Shoal Creek Intercollegiate

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Shoal Creek CC, Birmingham, Ala.

Sept. 24-25

Newport National GC, Newport, R.I.

Sept. 25-26

Host: Rhode Island

Field: Brown, Connecticut, Francis Mason, Furman, Georgetown, Long Beach State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Maryland, Pacific, Rhode Island, USC-Aiken, Southern Mississippi, Texas-San Antonio, Wichita State, Yale


(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

University of New Mexico Championship Cse., Albuquerque (6,069 yards, par 73)

Sept. 24-26

Host:New Mexico__

Field:__ Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, BYU, Duke, Georgia, Louisville, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Purdue, Southern California, Stanford, TCU, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest

Defending Preview champion: Georgia (five-over 869); Nicole Smith, Tennessee (five-under 211)

Skinny: Not quite the controversy here that the men are facing. Ten of the top 11 teams in the country that competed against each other at last weekend's Mason Rudolph are at it again, with the lone missing school (Pepperdine) also joining them.

Lady Northern

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Penn State's Blue Course, State College, Pa.

Sept. 22-23

Host: Penn State

Field: Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Rollins College, Toledo, Wisconsin


Princeton Invitational__

Springdale GC, Princeton, N.J.

Sept. 22-23

Host: Princeton


ULM Fred Marx Invitational__

(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)

Bayou Desiard CC, Monroe, La.

Sept. 24-25

Field: Arkansas State, Centenary, Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, Henderson State, Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Sam Houston State, Samford, South Alabama, Texas-Pan American, Troy, Wichita State

Myrtle Beach Classic

Grande Dunes Resort, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Sept. 24-25