Duke. After a rough 13th place finish to start the year at Olympia Fields, the Dukies rebounded nicely with a win at their own Rod Myers Invitational. The Blue Devils earned a nine-shot victory over a sneaky good Baylor team, and picked up impressive head-to-head wins over Charlotte, Iowa, Tulsa, and Tennessee. Junior Julian Suri won the individual race with a two-shot win over Iowa’s Steven Ihm. Brinson Paolini, Tim Gornik and Spencer Anderson all were also key contributors for Duke with strong top-10 finishes. Jamie Green and his squad will try to make it two in a row next week at the Prestige at PGA West, where they will face several top 25 teams from across the country.
Texas. We knew the Longhorns were going to be impressive, but a 20-shot win at the Jerry Pate over Alabama is one heck of a way to make a statement. With Jordan Spieth making his college debut with a T-6, this kind of performance might become the usual for John Fields’ squad. Dylan Frittelli, the Co-Big-12 player of the year in 2010, was the top Longhorn finisher, coming in two shots behind Clemson’s Corbin Mills. Texas’ Cody Gribble tied for fifth, and teammate Julio Vegas had a strong showing with a T-11. For the week, Texas shot 838 and was the only team to finish under par at the event. With a team score of 4 under, Texas defeated Alabama in the Crimson Tide’s backyard in convincing fashion. Next up for Texas will be the Jack Nicklaus Invitational at the end of the week.
Oklahoma State (women). After starting the year with a win at the Dale McNamara Invitational, the Cowgirls followed it with a one-shot victory over Arizona at the Windy City Collegiate. The Cowgirls are now off to a perfect 2-0 start. After a disastrous season a year ago, Alan Bratton seems to have quickly turned things around in Stillwater. Lead by co-medalist Kelsey Vines, Oklahoma State also counted top-15 performances from Amy Ruengmatakhun and Jayde Panos. The Cowgirls will be looking for the hat trick when they tee it up at the Stanford Intercollegiate in a couple weeks. Last season, Oklahoma State earned only one win and two other top-5 finishes. At the rate they are going now, this could be a breakout year for the Cowgirls.
N.C. State. The Wolfpack struggled to a seventh-place finish at their home event, the Wolfpack Intercollegiate. In the third and final round, N.C. State posted one of the worst rounds of the day, a 19-over 303. Graham Bailargeon was the school’s top finisher, but he played the event as an individual. The team’s top scorer was Albin Choi, who tied for 17th. Chad Day was the next best finisher at T-26. What makes this one sting so much is the fact that the Wolfpack were playing on their home golf course. N.C. State took a couple head-to-head losses that will hurt them in the rankings, not to mention in-state recruiting. Memphis, UNCG, Louisiana-Lafayette, East Carolina, Campbell, and Richmond all finished higher on the leaderboard than the Wolfpack.
Purdue (women). What is going on with the Boilermakers? After starting the year finishing last out of 18 teams at the Fall Preview, Purdue followed it up with a T-12 finish out of 15 teams at the Windy City Collegiate. Laura Gonzalez, who was the top finisher for the Boilermakers in a tie for 11th, had little support from her teammates. Paula Reto was the next best finisher for Purdue at T-21, but Aurora Kan and Jam Vilairatana failed to finish in the top 50. Purdue’s schedule will not get any easier to close out the fall. At the end of the month, the Boilermakers will play at the Landfall Tradition, which traditionally features one of the toughest women’s fields in the country. Purdue will have to get its game turned around quickly, otherwise it could be a long winter break for last year’s runner-up at the NCAA Championship.
Iowa State (women). Last year the Cyclones had their best year in school history, but this year they may be looking for the restart button. Iowa State started the year with a fourth-place showing at the Dale McNamara Invitational, but after that it has only gotten worse. At the end of September the Cyclones finished seventh at the McGuire Invitational, and then placed 14th out of 15 teams at the Windy City Collegiate Classic. With a score of 44-over 909 the Cyclones finished 26 behind tournament champion and conference rivals Oklahoma State. At the Windy City, Iowa State only had one player finish in the top 45 on the leaderboard. If Iowa State hopes to make it back to the postseason this year, the team will have to turn things around very quickly. The team has two more tournaments this fall, and next up is the Hoosier Invitational before closing out the fall at the Landfall Tradition.