News & ToursSeptember 24, 2009

This week's syllabus: Sept. 24-30

__THE FAB FIVE

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

__MEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad7201b01eefe207f68974]|||Thumbnail image for Oklahoma-state-logo-latest.jpg|||1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

The Cowboys held their own in the season opener at Olympia Fields, finishing second by two strokes after posting low final round. This despite Morgan Hoffmann finishing T-38 (warned you there might be a Walker Cup hangover).

Next event: Ping/Golfweek Invitational, Gold Mountain GC, Bremerton, Wash., Sept. 27-28

Thumbnail image for Arizona State logo 2008-09.gif

The Sun Devils show why coach Randy Lein was so optimistic about their chances coming into the season, taking the team title at Olympia Fields. The all-are-talented-but-no-one-player-is-a-superstar system can have its good and its bad points, but will keep ASU in the hunt more often than not.

Next event: Ping/Golfweek Invitational, Gold Mountain GC, Bremerton, Wash., Sept. 27-28

Thumbnail image for Washington logo 2008-09.gif

Hard to believe there is a closer group of players than the Huskies squad. That said, I'm not sure if that means they're the best "team" or not. This weekend with a sort of "home course" edge should be an interesting one to help us figure out where UW (and the rest of the top men's teams) currently stand.

Next event: Ping/Golfweek Invitational, Gold Mountain GC, Bremerton, Wash., Sept. 27-28

Thumbnail image for Tennessee logo 2008-09.gif

It's early (OK, obscenely early), but the Vols lead the country in low adjusted scoring average with a 70.96 individual mark. Considering the competition that they'll be facing in the SEC all season, they're going to need to keep this up as best they can.

Next event: Windon Memorial Classic, North Shore CC, Glencoe, Ill., Oct. 4-5

SMU 2009-10 school logo.gif

5. SMU (NR)

A second straight win for the Mustangs, this time at the Adams Cup in Rhode Island, suggests that SMU might be a sleeper to keep an eye on. Or it suggests they're just off to a hot start. Suffice it to say, it's going to be interesting to see which theory is the right one.

Next event: Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, Old Overton CC, Birmingham, Ala., Oct. 12-13

__WOMEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad7202b01eefe207f68979]|||Thumbnail image for Arizona State logo 2008-09.gif|||1. Arizona State (1)

Give Sun Devils women's coach Melissa Luellen credit, she's not ducking anybody as her team attempts to defend its NCAA title. ASU has the second toughest schedule according to Golfstat, with only Wake Forest's being more difficult.

*Next event: *Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 25-27

Thumbnail image for Pepperdine logo 2008-09 season.gif

In posting two victories already in the young season, the Waves have made 84 birdies as a team. Do the math and that's 14 per round. It also doesn't hurt that Lisa McCloskey has hit 92.9 percent of her fairways and 86.1 percent of her greens in regulation.

Next event: Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, Sahalee CC, Sammamish, Wash., Oct. 5-7

Thumbnail image for USC 2008-09 logo.gif

Jennifer Song, Lizette Salas and Belen Mozo all seem to be contenders for first-team All-American honors. If just one can do it, that would make it five straight seasons USC would have a player make the first-team, the longest active streak of any school in the country. Even more interesting? Six different players have been first-teamers in the last four years.

Fall opener: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 25-27

Thumbnail image for Georgia logo 2008-09.gif

Funny what can happen when you've actually got a full roster (or at least more than five players). The Bulldogs will be an interesting team to watch this weekend as Kelley Hester tries to determine just what kind of a team she really has.

Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 25-27

Thumbnail image for Denver logo 2008-09 season.gif

Pioneers hold serve, so to speak, with 14-stroke victory over UC Davis at the Ron Moore, their home event. Kimberly Kim and Stacy Kim don't disappoint in their debuts, while Stephanie Sherlock shows why she's an All-American (even if she is Canadian).

Next event: Lady Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley GC, Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 9-11

__STAT OF THE WEEK

11

__Number of days the Washington women's golf team has been traveling in New Zealand. With the school working on the quarter system, and classes not starting until Sept. 30, head coach Mary Lou Mulfur's squad has gotten to take a unique trip across the world, playing golf and bonding. Assistant coach Andrea VanderLende has been writing a mini-diary and posting photos on the school's website throughout the trip. Only downside of the trip? The players weren't on campus to watch UW upset USC in football last Saturday.

__WHAT TO WATCH FOR

__* I'm not sure how much doubt there was going into the season, but it seems pretty clear less than a month into the schedule that the toughest conference in men's college golf is hands down the Pac-10. Already Washington and Arizona State have victories. Stanford is maybe even deeper than those two schools. California has enough talent to win this year. UCLA might be young but the Bruins will be heard from. Same goes for USC. Menawhile, Oregon just happens to have qualified for nationals two straight years. Seriously, where is the breather in this league?

  • It's only the first full-field tournament that the top-ranked Arizona State women are playing in, but how the Sun Devils do at this weekend's Mason Rudolph could have a big trickle down effect on all of women's college golf. If ASU wins by a significant margin, given the stacked field the tournament has, it's going to discourage a lot of other programs who wonder if the Sun Devils are even better than when they won the NCAA title last year. If USC, UCLA, etc., give ASU a run for its money (or even beat them), than the idea of parity on the national level returns and ASU's air of invincibility disappears.

  • Don't know whether college golf coaches should be breathing a sigh of relief or getting still more nervous after learning of a handful of proposals that the NCAA Legislative Council will be reviewing at its Oct. 19-20 meeting. Among them is No. 2009-79, which would limit team travel in the nonchampionship segment of several sports to ground transportation only.

The good news is that golf isn't one of the sports mentioned in the proposal (cross country, field hockey, soccer, volleyball and softball are the applicable sports). The even better news is that the proposal specifically mentions how the nonchampionship segments in these sports don't count to official records, explaining why the restrictions seem to be "prudent" given the current economic environment.

Another proposal on the docket is No. 2009-87, which would eliminate the ability for teams to take "foreign tours" (such as the one Washington has been taking in New Zealand).

__TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS

MEN

The Wolverine at Radrick Farms__

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

Radrick Farms GC, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Par 72, 6,979 yards)

Sept. 26-27

Host: Michigan

Field: Arkansas, Baylor, Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, Louisville, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Minnesota, Purdue, St. John's, Toledo, Wisconsin, Xavier

Defending champion: Michigan (11-under 841) by two strokes over UC Davis; UC Davis' Ramie Sprinkling (seven-under 206) by one stroke over Cal's John Murphy

Skinny: With it being homecoming weekend and Michigan hosting a home football game, across the street from U of M's course, the tournament moves to the school's second course, Radrick Farms.

__Mason Rudolph Men's Championship

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

Vandebilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn.

Sept. 25-27

Host: Vanderbilt

Field: Akron, Arkansas State, Belmont, Charleston, Davidson, Georgia Tech, Lipscomb, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, South Alabama, South Carolina, UT-Martin, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina

Defending champion: South Carolina (13-under 839) by eight strokes over Kentucky; Kentucky's Ben Fuqua (15-under 198) by seven strokes over Middle Tennessee's Jason Millard and Vanderbilt's Jon Curran

Skinny: First event where defending champion South Carolina is playing since Gamecock coach Bill McDonald revealed he has leukemia.

__Ping/Golfweek Invitational

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

Gold Mountain GC, Bremerton, Wash.

Sept. 27-28

Field: Alabama, Arizona State, Chattanooga, Colorado State, Indiana, Kent State, LSU, New Mexico, N.C. State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M, UNLV, USC, Washington

Defending champion: Oklahoma State (nine-under 843) by 16 strokes over Tennessee; OSU's Morgan Hoffmann  and Tennessee's Robin Wingardh (six-under 207)

Skinny: For only the second time in the tournament's 20-year history, the event will not be played at the actually site of next spring's NCAA Championship. Scheduling issues kept the event from coming to The Honors Course this fall. (Hence the "Invitational" name rather than "Preview").

__

VCU Shootout

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

Hermitage CC, Manakin-Sabot, Va.

Sept. 28-29

Host: VCU

Field: Charlotte, East Carolina, Iowa, Maryland, Mercer, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Penn State, Richmond, VCU, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wichita State

Defending champion: Wake Forest (27-under 825) by 16 strokes over Augusta State and VCU; Wichita State's Dustin Garza and Wake Forest's Brendan Gielow (12-under 201)

Skinny: VCU was the tournament where Garza began his run of three straight victories to close out the fall with three wins and two runner-up finishes.

__Giustina Memorial Classic

__Trysting Tree GC, Corvallis, Ore. (Par 72, 7,030 yards)

Sept. 28-29

Host: Oregon State

Field: Boise State, Cal Poly, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, USC-Upstate, Washington State, Wyoming

Defending champion: Oregon State's Diego Velasquez (eight-under 208) by two strokes over Ji Hwan Park

Skinny: Played simultaneously with the women's tournament with mixed pairings of men's and women's players (i.e. two schools play together with the No. 1 and No. 2 men's players and No. 1 and No. 2 women's players in the same foursome).

WOMEN

__Mason Rudolph Women's Championship

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

Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn.

Sept. 25-27

Host:Vanderbilt

Field: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Tulane, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia

Defending champion: UCLA (14-under 850) by six strokes over USC; UCLA's Sydnee Michaels (11-under 205) by four strokes over Auburn's Candace Schepperle

Skinny: Year in and year out, the Mason Rudolph gets one of the best fields of the fall. This time around, nine of the top 11 teams in the Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll are are competing with 13 top-25 programs set to tee it up.

__Bettie Lou Evans Fall Invitational

__University Club (Big Blue course), Lexington, Ky. (Par 72, 6,168 yards)

Sept. 25-27

Host: Kentucky

Field: Augusta State, UCF, Chattanooga, Coastal Carolina, Florida International, Florida State, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Princeton, Texas State

Defending champion (2007): Alabama (13-over 877) by eight strokes over Florida; Alabama's Courtney Harter (three-under 213) by one stroke over Alabama's Camilla Lennarth

Skinny: After one-year hiatus, UK is bringing back the event formerly known as the Lady Wildcat and renaming it in honor of the school's longtime women's coach.

__Lady Northern

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

University Ridge GC, Madison, Wis.

Sept. 27-28

Host: Wisconsin

Field: Charleston, Georgetown, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, SMU, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Purdue (31-over 895) by 17 strokes over Michigan State; Purdue's Maria Hernandez (one-over 217) by four strokes over Michigan State's Laura Kueny and Purdue's Maude-Aimee LeBlanc

Skinny: Held each year at the course that will host the Big Ten Women's Championship the next spring, all 11 conference schools will compete along with a handful other programs.

__Giustina Memorial Classic

__Trysting Tree GC, Corvallis, Ore. (Par 72, 6,282 yards)

Sept. 28-29

Host: Oregon State

Field: Boise State, Cal Poly, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, USC-Upstate, Washington State, Wyoming

Defending champion: Oregon State (40-over 904) by two strokes over Oregon; Oregon's Kendra Little (one-under 215) by four strokes over Oregon State's Cara Freeman

Skinny: In addition to the men's and women's team winners, there will also be awards for the top men's and women's combined team standings.

__Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational

__Colbert Hills GC, Manhattan, Kan.

Sept. 28-29

Host: Kansas State

Field: Arkansas, Creighton, Houston Baptist, Illinois State, Kansas, Kansas State, UMKC, Northern Iowa, Oral Roberts, St. John's, Tulsa, Wichita State

Defending champion: Kansas' Emily Powers (seven-over 223) by two strokes over Kansas' Jennifer Clark

Skinny: Event rotates yearly between Kansas and K-State's home courses.

More from The Loop