College Men

Spring primer: NCAA Division I

Toni Hakula
Toni Hakula ( Tracy Wilcox )

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spring pick ’em

Golfweek’s college experts make their predictions:


NCAA champion, Player of Year, Surprise team

Ron Balicki...........................California, Justin Thomas- Alabama, Texas A&M

Sean Martin.........................California, Patrick Rodgers- Stanford, Illinois

Lance Ringler.....................California, Cheng-Tsung Pan- Washington, SMU


NCAA champion, Player of Year, Surprise team

Beth Ann Baldry..............Alabama, Stephanie Meadow- Alabama, Purdue

Julie Williams....................USC, Erynne Lee- UCLA, Campbell

Lance Ringler.....................Florida, Isabelle Lendl- Florida, Michigan State

• • •

Keep an eye on . . .

Three men’s and three women’s teams to watch come the postseason:


New Mexico: Flew under the radar despite a No. 4 fall ranking, but their Arizona Invitational win over No. 1 Cal in the spring season opener raises expectations considerably.

Texas: Can the defending national champions remain a contender without the departed Jordan Spieth?

Liberty: Don’t look now, but last year’s Cinderella team at Riviera is ranked 23rd. Don’t be surprised if the Flames burn a few more teams this spring.


Washington: Everyone is eager to see if the Huskies – a stunning No. 1 this fall – can continue their strong play (15-2 vs. top-25 teams).

Florida: Gators’ top three (Camilla Hedberg, Isabelle Lendl, Mia Piccio) form an explosive trio, but they need a little more help from Nos. 4 and 5 to contend for the national title.

UC Davis: A confident team – and for good reason. The No. 12 Aggies have four players ranked in the top 140.

• • •

On the rise

Teams that will move into the top 30 after less-than-fabulous fall seasons:


North Florida (No. 35): With senior Sean Dale back in the lineup, the Ospreys are bound to improve.

Houston (No. 37): In his third season as head coach, Jonathan Dismuke has Houston heading in the right direction, and with a challenging spring schedule, the Cougars can make their mark.

UNLV (No. 41): The Rebels always perk up in the spring, usually thanks to a good showing at their home event, the loaded Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters.


Pepperdine (No. 31): With one of the best coaches (Laurie Gibbs) and players (Grace Na) in college golf, the Waves should crest higher this spring.

Texas (No. 34): Martha Richards’ Longhorns have made a habit of peaking as the postseason nears.

UCLA (No. 36): The Bruins, who never had their best five together in the fall, are no doubt better than their ranking. A healthy Tiffany Lua will make a huge difference.

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Cinderella stories

Teams that will surprise at regionals and land berths to the NCAA Championship, where a possible glass slipper awaits:

Missouri men: Tigers are used to winning and will be a regional threat thanks to Jace Long, a senior Player of the Year candidate.

Oklahoma State women: After poor regional showings the past two seasons, the Cowgirls will get the job done under second-year head coach Alan Bratton. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.