Monday Top 5: San Diego State climbs the ranks
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
1.) Rising Aztecs
For the first time this year Ryan Donovan’s San Diego State Aztecs found a spot in the nation’s top 10. Following their victory at the USC Collegiate Invitational, the Aztecs are now No. 10 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin College poll. San Diego State topped a strong West Coast field to collect its third victory of the year. Normally, in stroke-play competition I would be reluctant to pick the Aztecs to win it all, but with match play now the format this squad could be a very dangerous team come season’s end.
One thing the Aztecs will need to do is give themselves a chance to win by actually making it into the field at Karsten Creek. In the last 10 years, San Diego State has only advanced to the NCAA finals three times and in the last 28 years their best performance is 14th.
2.) Impressive streak
One UCLA freshman is trying to do what Jamie Lovemark did just a few years ago: Win the Player of the Year award as a freshman. This past week Cantlay won the USC Collegiate Invitational after posting rounds of 67-72-68. The victory continues an impressive streak that not only sees him move into the No. 2 spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, but finish either first or second in his last four starts – giving him a 344-1-2 overall won-loss-tie head-to-head record in those four starts.
3.) All eyes on USF Invitational
The USF Invitational has had a knack for making headlines. One year ago it was D-II powerhouse Florida Southern winning against a D-I field. This year’s event saw a lot of attention focused on the presence of Florida State.
The Seminoles were a late entry to the field and placed second to Middle Tennessee State to help their .500 record and give their postseason chances a big boost. And let’s not forget about Villanova making a run at a good finish. The Wildcats, ranked No. 186 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, were in position to finish second, but struggled in the final round to place eighth. What will next year’s event bring us?
4.) Woo Pig Sooie
It appeared that Auburn was on its way to winning the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational at windy Sawgrass Country Club last week. However, it was Arkansas’ 5-under 283 – the lowest final round score – that clinched a two-shot win for the Razorbacks. This could be a big boost for head coach Brad McMakin’s squad who slipped a lot more than expected a year ago. The Razorbacks nearly won an NCAA Championship at the Inverness Club in 2009 and then fell to No. 36 in the rankings last year. Arkansas is ranked No. 17 this week after the victory.
5.) Big-time event
This past week we saw a new event on the women’s schedule. The Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate hosted by Tulane at English Turn Country Club checks in as the No.-2 ranked tournament in women’s college golf this year just behind the NCAA Fall Preview. Southern California was your team champion and Alabama freshman Stephanie Meadow won the individually title – her second consecutive victory this spring.