Weekly top 5: Lamar's Daffue performs well under fire

Lamar's M.J. Daffue won the individual title at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate.

Lamar's M.J. Daffue won the individual title at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate.

1.) Attention, please: It has to be tough for a coach to watch a player win an event playing as an individual. Lamar coach Brian White witnessed exactly that this past week at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate when senior M.J. Daffue not only won the individual title, but did so in record fashion. And what makes it tougher for White is it was his decision to play Daffue as an individual instead of in the Cardinals lineup.

“M.J. had not played to his potential this fall after coming off a great spring,” White said. “I felt like it was not physical. It was more mental.”

White felt that Daffue, last season’s Southland Conference Player of the Year, was not focused on the proper things with his golf game and was not disciplined with his strategy on the golf course.

“I want to motivate him and get his attention. I would say he got my attention too,” White said.

Daffue, who is from South Africa, posted rounds of 65-70-67 for an 11-under 202 total on the par-71, 7,068-yard Royal Oaks Country Club layout to set a new 54-hole Royal Oaks Intercollegiate tournament record. The victory is Daffue’s third collegiate title. His previous two wins came last spring when he won the Wolfpack Spring Open and the Southland Conference Championship.

With Daffue playing as an individual, the Cardinals finished in a tie for seventh, 33 shots behind tournament champion Texas A&M.

It’s easy to sit back and second guess a coach’s decision after the fact, but playing as an individual certainly has its pros and cons for the player. It’s often easier to relax and just play golf without having the pressure of playing in the lineup, however that is usually the case for a player trying to make the starting five. In this case, Daffue is one of Lamar’s top players and it was the opposite for him.

“In the long run, the result of this will be better for him and the team,” White said.

2.) No more perfect seasons: Entering the Gifford Collegiate at CordeValle, Oregon was the only remaining Division I golf team - men or women - that had not recorded a loss to another team this fall. That watch is over. The Ducks placed third, finishing 28 shots behind USC in the play-six-count-five format.

The win for the Trojans likely will help them climb the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. USC entered the event at No. 32 with a losing head-to-head won-loss record at 13-15. Head coach Chris Zambri’s squad had finished 10th at The Prestige at PGA West and seventh at the U.S. Collegiate Championship. Not only did the Trojans win the team title, senior Steve Lim posted rounds of 66-67-69 for an 11-under total. Lim finished one shot better than UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay.

“It was a great victory for our program,” Zambri said. “We all felt capable of having a week like this. It is great to go into the break with a win.”

3.) Texas women win big: The Texas women’s team did its best at impersonating the school’s men’s team this past week.

Behind the stellar play of tournament medalist Nicole Vandermade and runner-up Madison Pressel, the Longhorns won their own Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational by 12 shots over runners-up Florida, Pepperdine and Tulsa. The Texas men’s team, ranked No. 1, is on a three-tournament win streak with an average winning margin of 20.7 in those events.

The victory is the first for Texas at the Betsy Rawls since 1999.

4.) Cyclone warning: The last time the Iowa State Cyclones played in the postseason was in 1999 when current Colorado State coach Jamie Bermel was calling the shots in Ames. That may change next spring.

The Cyclones recently won the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate, an event that was reduced to 36 holes due to inclement weather on the first day. Iowa State finished five shots clear of North Carolina State to win its first multi-day tournament since they won the 2007 Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational.

Iowa State, ranked No. 55 this week in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, is likely to end the fall season well inside the Magic Number, which usually sits in the high 60s and has dipped into the low 70s in the rankings. The Magic Number is the ranking of the last team that gets an at-large bid into postseason play.

If second-year head coach Andrew Tank can find a way for his squad to play well coming out of an Iowa winter season, the Cyclones might just find a spot in one of six NCAA Regionals to be played next May.

5.) Home Sweet Home? You know the saying horses for courses? Well, that might be the case for the Purdue women’s team that rolled into the Country Club of Landfall and walked away with a victory at the Landfall Tradition - a place where the Boilermakers won the NCAA Championship just two years ago.

The Boilermakers must think winning is the only option when playing at Landfall, because nobody could have predicted a Purdue win prior to the start of the event. Purdue, which had placed last at the Mason Rudolph NCAA Fall Preview and T-12 at the Windy City Collegiate, had beaten only two teams in its only other starts this fall.

Purdue took the lead after 36 holes and then coasted to a 14-shot victory in the 18-team tournament.

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