Welcome to Golfweek’s Mid-Week Report. We wanted to use this Hump Day to update you on all the latest college news and give you a quick glance at what to look ahead to this weekend.
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THE BIG 5
Stories you need to know now . . .
1. Missouri: The Tigers have gone wire-to-wire in their first two events this year, winning the Golfweek Conference Challenge and Turning Stone Intercollegiate. Could we have a new contender in the SEC?
2. Indiana: The Hoosiers have finished 1st-2nd in their first two starts this year. Could this unheralded Indiana team surprise some this year, and possibly end Illinois’ streak of Big Ten titles at four in a row? The Hoosiers were only three shots back of winner Illinois at Wolf Run.
3. Duke: The rivalry is at its fiercest on the hardwood, but something tells me that the Blue Devils took extra pride in winning the Tar Heel Intercollegiate by six shots over host North Carolina.
4. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons’ runner-up finish at the Golfweek Conference Challenge means the program is still winless since 2010. Things do seem to be looking up for this historic program, though, after finishing 60th in last year’s Golfweek rankings. Wake Forest hasn’t been to an NCAA Championship since 2009.
5. Auburn: The Tigers went from almost-worst to first, finishing 14th (out of 15 teams) at the Carpet Capital Collegiate before winning The McLaughlin by 11 shots at Bethpage’s Red Course.
1. Jace Long, Missouri: He’s 2-for-2 this year, winning the Golfweek Conference Challenge and Turning Stone Intercollegiate. He shot 24 under in six rounds, averaging 68.0 strokes. Now it’s off to Q-School.
2. Albin Choi, North Carolina State: A six-shot win at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate gave Choi his fifth title, allowing him to pass PGA Tour winner Tim Clark on the school’s all-time victory list.
3. Brant Peaper, Indiana: Indiana football may be struggling this year, but Peaper won the Wolf Run Intercollegiate by a touchdown and extra point.
4. Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington: You had to figure that one of Washington’s two returning All-Americans, Pan or Chris Williams, would win at the Husky Invitational. Pan did so impressively, though, beating Williams, the world’s No. 1 amateur, by four shots. Teammate Trevor Simsby also tied for second.
5. Jake Mondy, Auburn: The redshirt freshman won his collegiate debut at The McLaughlin, edging teammate Michael Hebert for the title.
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BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek preseason rankings fared:
• 1. Alabama: DNP
• 2. California: DNP
• 3. Texas: DNP
• 4. Georgia Tech: DNP
• 5. UCLA: DNP
How the top 5 players in the Golfweek preseason rankings fared:
• 1. Justin Thomas, Alabama: DNP
• 2. Jordan Spieth, Texas: DNP
• 3. Chris Williams, Washington: T-2, Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational
• 4. Patrick Rodgers, Stanford: DNP
• 5. Bobby Wyatt, Alabama: DNP
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Tournament (Team champion; individual winner)
• Tar Heel Intercollegiate (Duke; Albin Choi, North Carolina State)
• Wolf Run Intercollegiate (Illinois; Brant Peaper, Indiana)
• Golfweek Conference Challenge (Missouri; Jace Long, Missouri)
• Husky Invitational (Washington; Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington)
• Inverness Intercollegiate (Northwestern; Kevin Miller, Kent State/Jack Perry, Northwestern)
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THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Skokie Country Club, Glencoe, Ill.
The field: Coastal Carolina, DePaul, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Harvard, Indiana, Lamar, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Tennessee, Toledo, UC Davis.
The skinny: Host Northwestern is coming off an 11-shot victory at the season-opening Inverness Intercollegiate. The Windon kicks off a big week around town for the Wildcats. They’ll host the Windon at historic Skokie, watch alumnus Luke Donald compete in the Ryder Cup at Medinah and then play in the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Intercollegiate.
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Capital City Club (Crabapple), Alpharetta, Ga.
The field: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Chattanooga, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kent State, New Mexico, San Diego State, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, UNLV, Washington.
The skinny: The Preview gives teams a chance to get a sneak peek at the NCAA Championship site, Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course, which hosted the 2003 WGC-American Express Championship. Defending NCAA champion Texas, which started its season with victory at the Carpet Capital, highlights the field.
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Graeme McDowell/Shoal Creek Invitational
Shoal Creek Golf Club, Birmingham, Ala.
The field: Alabama-Birmingham, Dartmouth, Houston, Kennesaw State, LSU, Memphis, North Florida, North Texas, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Tulsa
The skinny: It’s always nice when you can attach a major champion’s name to a tournament. LSU and North Florida highlight the field.
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St. Mary’s Intercollegiate
Bayonet & Black Horse, Seaside, Calif.
The field: Cal Poly, Cal State-Northridge, Florida Gulf Coast, Fresno State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Loyola Marymount, Oregon, Sacramento State, Samford, San Francisco, Santa Clara, St. Mary’s, UC Irvine, Western Carolina
The skinny: Bayonet & Black Horse may not be as famous as their neighbors to the south on the Monterey Peninsula, but these two tracks are quite the test.