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. Cal: The Bears received plenty of praise in the preseason. They’re showing why. After a season-opening victory at the Gopher Invitational, they tied for first at the Ping/Golfweek Preview. Three Bears – including runners-up Michael Weaver and Max Homa – placed in the top-10. This after the Bears placed three players in the top 4 at the Gopher.
2. Georgia Tech: It was quite the rebound for the Yellow Jackets, Golfweek’s fourth-ranked preseason team. The Yellow Jackets opened the season with an 11th-place finish at Carpet Capital. They tied for first at the Preview with a final-round 276, matching the tournament’s low round.
3. Virginia Tech: The Hokies are 2-for-2 to start the season, winning the Marshall Inviational and VCU Shootout. Could they be this year’s sleeper team? They qualified for last year’s NCAA Championship, as well.
4. Alabama: What’s up with the Crimson Tide? The preseason No. 1s have finished third and ninth in their first two events this year, Carpet Capital and the Preview. Not the start they expected, but one thing is certain: Jay Seawell isn’t panicking.
5. Northwestern: The Wildcats started the season by finishing 1st-2nd, winning the Inverness Intercollegiate and finishing second at the Windon Memorial. Even better news for the Wildcats? They’ve had individual medalists in both events. Jack Perry was co-medalist at Inverness, while John Callahan won at Windon while playing as an individual. The Wildcats could’ve used his scores. They finished one shot behind Ohio State.
1. Tom Berry, San Diego State: The senior from New Haw, England, picked a good place to pick up his first career title. He shot a 2-under 208 at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course to beat an elite field at the Preview by two shots.
2. Washington’s “Big 2”: Chris Williams and Cheng-Tsung Pan are among top 1-2 punches in college golf, and they’ve shown it. They haven’t finished outside the top 2 yet this season. They both were runners-up at the Ping-Golfweek Preview. This came after Pan won the season-opening Husky Invitational and Williams was runner-up.
3. Max Homa, Cal: The senior from Valencia, Calif., is off to a strong start, leading the best team of this early season. He was runner-up at both the Gopher Invitational and Ping-Golfweek Preview.
4. Curtis Thompson, LSU: The sophomore from the famous golfing family not only picked up his first collegiate title at the Graeme McDowell-Shoal Creek Invitational. It also was his first career top-10. Thompson tied for first with teammate Stewart Jolly and North Texas’ Rodolfo Cazaubon. LSU also won the team title.
5. Ben Geyer, St. Mary’s: How’s this for a final-round comeback? Geyer started the final round of the St. Mary’s Invitational in 19th place, seven shots off the lead. He responded with a 7-under 65, the low round of the day by three shots, to win by a stroke. Geyer, the 2012 West Coast Conference champion, helped his team to a seven-shot win.
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BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek preseason rankings fared:
• 1. Alabama: T-9, Ping-Golfweek Preview
• 2. California: T-1, Ping-Golfweek Preview
• 3. Texas: T-3, Ping-Golfweek Preview
• 4. Georgia Tech: T-1, Ping-Golfweek Preview
• 5. UCLA: T-5, Ping-Golfweek Preview
How the top 5 players in the Golfweek preseason rankings fared:
• 1. Justin Thomas, Alabama: T-26, Ping-Golfweek Preview
• 2. Jordan Spieth, Texas: T-35, Ping-Golfweek Preview
• 3. Chris Williams, Washington: T-2, Ping-Golfweek Preview
• 4. Patrick Rodgers, Stanford: DNP (The Cardinal is on a trip in Scotland. Consider me jealous.)
• 5. Bobby Wyatt, Alabama: T-35, Ping-Golfweek Preview
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• Ping-Golfweek Preview (Cal/Georgia Tech; Tom Berry, San Diego State)
• Mark Simpson-CU Invitational (Oregon State; Kirby Pettitt, Colorado State)
• Graeme McDowell-Shoal Creek Invitational (LSU; Thompson, LSU/Jolly, LSU/Cazaubon, North Texas)
• D.A. Weibring Invitational (Illinois; Pep Angles, Central Arkansas)
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THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
William H. Tucker Intercollegiate
University of New Mexico Golf Course (Championship), Albuquerque, N.M.
The field: Arizona, Baylor, BYU, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, San Francisco, Texas-El Paso, UC Irvine, Utah, UTSA, Wyoming.
The skinny: Host New Mexico is coming off a solid seventh-place finish among 15 teams at the Ping-Golfweek Preview. The Lobos were led by long-hitting Gavin Green, who tied for second.
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Olympia Fields CC/Fighting Illini Invitational
Sept. 30-Oct. 2
Olympia Fields (Ill.) CC
The field: Arkansas, Auburn, Augusta State, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, Stanford
The skinny: This is one of the premier events on the college golf calendar, but this year conflicts with the World Amateur Team Championship. This means that host Illinois will be without its star Belgians, NCAA champ Thomas Pieters and freshman Thomas Detry.