Wildman is hitting the road today, and headed up north to Maryland. I’ll be checking out the Navy Invitational as well as doing some fun U.S. Open stuff for golf fans to view later.
In the mean time, it’s time for thumbs up, thumbs down.
Texas Tech (women) – The Red Raiders won their first tournament of the year at the Baylor Spring Invitational – only their third top-5 finish of the season. Individual medalist Alex Gibson helped lead the team to victory with her 3 over performance, and both Gabriella Dominguez and Kimberly Kaufman also chipped-in with top 10 performances. Texas Tech defeated North Texas by ten shots, but more impressive was that they defeated conference rival Oklahoma by 20. Iowa State has played really well this spring, but the Big 12 seems wide open this year. Next up for Texas Tech will be the Big 12 Championship, where they will try to win back-to-back events to close out the year.
USC (men) – The men of Troy needed a top finish at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, and they did better then that with a 14-stroke victory over San Diego State. Jeffrey Kang, Steve Lim, Martin Trainer and Sam Smith all finished in the top seven. Entering the tournament with a record of 45-46-2 the Trojans were in dire need of wins to avoid falling victim to the .500 rule. With the victory USC picked up 12 wins and pushed their record to 57-46-2.
Duke (men) – Not only can Duke win match play tournaments (Callaway Collegiate Match Play), the Blue Devils can win stroke play events as well. Duke defeated Wake Forest by seven shots at the Irish Creek Collegiate giving the team its second victory of the year. This spring the Dukies have played exceptionally well with four top 3 finishes and have climbed up the rankings to number 19. Georgia Tech appears to be the favorite heading into the ACC Championship, but with the way Duke has played this spring the team may be peaking at the right time. Perhaps the Blue Devils can put a sting in the Yellow Jackets’ plan of winning the ACC crown this year.
North Carolina (men) – It’s time to hit the panic button in Chapel Hill. With a T-9 finish at the Irish Creek Collegiate the Tar Heels saw their record fall to 49-55-3 on the regular season. UNC will have one more regular tournament to play in before heading to ACC’s and that is at the Wolfpack Intercollegiate. If the Tar Heels fail to pick up some needed W’s, the only thing that could save them would be to win the ACC Championship and earn the conference’s automatic bid. The Tar Heels have gotten to this point with finishes of T-9, 12th, T-7, ninth and seventh this spring and have seen their ranking drop to 77 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
Hogan Snubs – Each year there is always a player or two that is left off the Hogan semifinalists list. This year those two players are Florida’s Bang Vongvanij and Abilene Christian’s Alex Carpenter. This year Bank has won three prestigious tournaments: Isleworth, the JU Invitational and the Schenkel. Division II standout Alex Carpenter has had one heck of a year as well. In the past year Carpenter has won seven tournaments as well as won the Southern Amateur last summer. When you see the accomplishments these two players have achieved it makes you wonder how they could get left off a list that awards the best college/amateur golfer of the year?
Arkansas-Little Rock (women) – The Trojans played the first 75 percent of their schedule really well, helping their ranking reach as high as No. 50. However, with an 8th-place finish at their own event and a T-12 at the Baylor Spring Invitational, UALR is heading in the wrong direction before playing in their conference championship. With a ranking right now that stands at No. 64, the Trojans can not afford a slip up when they play at the Sun Belt Conference Championship. Earlier in the year it was looking like this team could be a Cinderella and sneak their way out of a regional and into nationals. First, this team needs to regroup and get back to what they were doing earlier in the year, so that they can enter regionals with confidence so that they can compete with the best.