Time to resume the weekly digest from the world of college golf. As always, your feedback and comments are more than welcome.
THE FAB FIVE
My look at the top five teams in the country right now
- Stanford--Despite losing Zack Miller and Matt Savage, the defending national champions have great depth with All-Americans Rob Grube, Joseph Bramlett and Daniel Lim and talent with incoming freshmen Sihwan Kim and Steve Ziegler. The Cardinal are trying to become the first repeat NCAA winner since Houston in 1984-85. Next event: Fighting Illini/Olympia Fields Invitational, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Ill., Sept. 30-Oct.
- Alabama--Crimson Tide loses no starters from last year's team that was ranked No. 1 for much of the year. Coach Jay Seawell says the group learned a lot after a disappointing final day at NCAAs last June. Michael Thompson and Mark Harrell provide great leadership, and Joseph Sykora is already off to great start after winning medalist honors today at the Topy Cup. Next event: Carpet Capital Collegiate, The Farm, Dalton, Ga., Sept. 14-16.
- USC--While the headlines usually fall on national player of the year Jamie Lovemark, the Trojans also have sophomore __Rory Hie __(71.97 average) and junior Tom Glissmeyer (72.53 average) to provide additional fire power. Incoming freshman Tom Sluiter, from the Netherlands, helped the Dutch win the World Amateur Team Championship last October in South Africa. Next event: Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational, Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 10-11.
- UCLA--The Bruins have everyone back â¿¿ except head coach, O.D. Vincent. Derek Freeman should provide continuity for All-American caliber players Kevin Chappell, Erik Flores, James Lee and Lucas Lee. The addition of 2006 U.S. Junior champion Philip Francis will make arguably the deepest team in the country even deeper. Next event: Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, Chambers Bay GC, University Place, Wash., Oct. 23-24.
- Florida--All-American Billy Horschel anchors a Gator squad that surprised some a year ago with solid play from a young nucleus. Senior Manuel Villegas had a hot start and could provide great spark with more consistent play. Same goes for sophomore Tim McKenney. Freshman Arnond "Bank" Vongvanij is a talent to keep an eye on. Next event: Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational, Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 10-11.
- Duke--Blue Devils aim for a record-breaking fourth straight NCAA title while junior Amanda Blumenherst has a record-breaking three straight player-of-the-year award in her sights. Time to see just how vital a cog graduating senior Anna Grzebien was for Duke. Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 14-16.
- Arizona State--A painful finish at NCAAs (13th) after a stellar season is something the Sun Devils will have to recover from. All the key players (Anna Norqvist, Jennifer Osborn, Azahara Munoz) are back, however, to give Duke a run for its money. Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 14-16.
- UCLA--The Bruins meshed throughout last season ultimately finishing third at nationals. Tiffany Joh offer experience at the top of the line-up while incoming freshman Maria Jose Uribe, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion, will give the team yet another reliable player to count on. Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 14-16.
- USC --First-team All-American Paola Moreno returns and Spanish sensation Belen Mozo is on campus for the full year. The Trojans also welcome Joanne Lee and__Lizette Salas__, only increasing their depth. Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 14-16.
- Purdue--Maria Hernandez, last year's Big Ten player of the year, and Christel Boeljon, runner-up at nationals, are back for their junior seasons as the Boilermakers set out to become the first non-southern school to win a national title. Next event: Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 14-16.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Number of double eagles VCU's Mark Jargren made during his team's qualifying for this week's Scenic City Invitational. The freshman from Helsingborg, Sweden holed his second shot with a 5-iron on the 494-yard second hole at The Country Club of Virginia's Westhampton Course on Monday. The next day he holed a 3-wood on the 542-yard 10th hole. Suffice it to say, he earned a spot on the traveling team and will make his official collegiate debut this weekend.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR__
â¿¢ So much for easing into the start of the season. At next week's Mason Rudolph Women's Championship, hosted by Vanderbilt, 10 of the top 11 teams in the country in the Golf World/NGCA preseason coaches' poll will be in the field (the only missing squad is Pepperdine). It's the one time we'll see all these schools together until the NCAA Championship next May, and then only if we're lucky and they all advance.
"It will give everybody a chance to see where they stand," said Vanderbilt coach Greg Allen. "I think it's great."
â¿¢ With all the coaching changes this past summer, particularly on the women's side, there will be a lot of getting-to-know-you-sessions going on in the coming weeks. How teams fare in the fall will be influenced largely on how long the acclimation process takes. Perhaps this is where the likes of Shauna Estes at Arkansas and Shelly Haywood at Arizona might have an advantage. While taking over the head coaching duties, being assistant coaches at their respective school keeps the transition time from being to onerous.
Consider that at Arizona, Haywood already saw her two senior leaders, Alison Walshe and Mary Jacobs reach out to make the change as easy as possible. "They have come to me and said Shelly, we'll help you. You've got us.' I'm trying to figure out who to hire as an assistant and Mary said, Shelly, we'll help you.' For them to step up and say that. That's what you need."
TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH
Purdue Midwest Shootout
Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Ind.
Field: Arizona, Bowling Green, Dayton, Eastern Illinois, George Mason, IUPUI, Kent State, Loyola, Michigan, Missouri, Northern Illinois, Oakland, Purdue, Rice, SMU, Western Illinois
Defending champion: New event
Skinny: For teams concerned about the .500 rule, a few new events have been scheduled bringing together a "diverse" assortment of teams that can help a team improve its record. This one-day, 36-hole event is among them. With the Kampen Course also hosting the NCAA Championship next spring, it isn't much of a surprise that a team with Arizona's marquee value would make the trip and we're guessing that this is the first time the Wildcats and IUPUI have been in the same field in a regular-season tournament.
Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational
Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
Field: Florida, Florida State, Indiana, Kent State, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, UNC-Greensboro, Oklahoma State, Southern California, TCU, Texas A&M, Toledo, UNLV.
Scenic City Challenge
Council Fire GC, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Host: Boston College
Mid-Pines Inn & GC, Pine Needles, N.C.
(For live scoring, link here to Golfstat)
Yeaman's Hall, Hallahan, S.C. (Par 72, 6,154 yards)
Field: Alabama, Charleston, Florida State, Furman, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Carolina, N.C. State, UNC-Greensboro, Notre Dame, Penn State, Richmond, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M
Defending champion: Florida State (nine-over 873); Lauren Hunt, North Carolina (six-under 210)
Skinny: Twelve of the 20 teams in the field played at NCAA regionals last spring, with seven finished in the top 30. Texas and Texas A&M compete for the first time, giving the event more of a national flavor says College of Charleston coach Jamie Futrell. Another addition to the line-up is in-state rival South Carolina.
Mary Fossum Invitational
Host: Michigan State
Forest Akers West, East Lansing, Mich.
Field: Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Michigan, Michigan State
Lady Northern/Badger Invitational
University Ridge GC, Verona, Wis.
Field: Central Florida, Drake, Georgetown, Illinois State, Iowa State, Minnesota, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Samford, SMU, Wisconsin, Xavier
Chip-N Club Invitational
Woodland Hills GC, Eagle, Neb.