1.) Kim’s Oklahoma record falls: Oklahoma sophomore Abraham Ancer broke former Sooner standout and current PGA Tour star Anthony Kim’s 54-hole school record with rounds of 66-66-63 to win the Desert Shootout at Palm Valley in Goodyear, Ariz. Ancer’s 21-under 195 total topped Kim’s previous record of 203, which he set in 2005.
Ancer finished six shots clear of teammate Will Kropp, who placed second. The victory was Ancer’s first title this year and saw him improve from No. 265 to 150 this week in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
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2.) Bubble talk: It’s time to start talking about the bubble. The Magic Number on the men’s side has been at 70 the past three years. This year, it is expected to be 70, at worst, but that number can be pushed higher if we have .500 Rule victims; or lower if we see schools such as Georgetown winning the Big East, as it did last year.
This past week, a couple of bubble teams did themselves a lot of good. Central Arkansas went to San Francisco and won the Triumph at Pauma Valley. The Bears were ranked No. 74 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, and after a 19-shot victory have moved to No. 69 this week. Also, the Idaho Vandals improved one spot after nearly beating 59th-ranked Missouri. Idaho is now ranked No. 67.
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3.) Another name at the Division II level: This week, you might hear a little or a lot (depending on how he plays) of Abilene Christian’s Alex Carpenter. Carpenter is the top player in Division II, and will be in the field at the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Carpenter was given a sponsor exemption after winning the Southern Amateur last summer. But there is another freshman making some noise this spring in Division II: Barton College freshman Dermot McElhennon won the 36th annual Pizza Inn-Barton Intercollegiate. McElhennon broke the all-time Barton, tournament and Wilson Country Club competitive course records with an 8-under 64 in the first round. It was one of only two rounds under par in cold, windy conditions (the other was a 71). McElhennon then recorded a 71 for a 9-under 135 total and an eight-shot victory. In five rounds this spring, McElhennon is a combined 20 under par for Barton, which is ranked 10th in the latest Golfstat poll and has posted two victories in two spring events.
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4.) Look who won again: Last week, we saw Oklahoma State’s Morgan Hoffmann insert himself into player-of-the-year talks, along with teammate Peter Uihlein and UCLA freshman Patrick Cantlay, who holds the top spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. However, the buzz around Florida senior Bank Vongvanij slowed. Vongvanij spoke loudly this past week with a big victory at the Schenkel Invitational. Vongvanij, who now has won four times in eight starts this season, posted rounds of 66-68-73 for a 9-under total.
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5.) .500 Rule talk: The .500 Rule has been good for college golf. I still don’t know if I think it was fully needed, because despite what many think, the computer polls have enough data to determine the order of teams very well. It is possible to have an overall won-lost-tie record well below .500 and be a top 50 team, or even better. That said, let’s look at Clemson: Larry Penley’s squad won the Furman Intercollegiate last week, and in doing so added 21 wins and no losses to his team’s 48-48-1 record; Clemson now stands at 69-48-1. Coaches who are concerned about their team being able to finish the regular season on the right side of the rule simply needs to schedule according … at the beginning of the season. That’s something Penly has done well the past couple of years.