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’s Pac-12 competitors: The No. 1 Bears’ winning streak ended at the Arizona Intercollegiate, and then two Pac-12 teams – UCLA and Washington – tied for first against a strong field at the Amer Ari Invitational. UCLA eventually won the title in a playoff, and has won its past two stroke-play starts. The Bruins and Huskies finished seven shots clear of the field. The Pac-12 has three of the top six teams in the country.
2. Florida State: Nothing like going into rival territory and collecting a 15-stroke victory. That’s exactly what the No. 18 Seminoles did at the Gator Invitational, winning the event for the first time since 1981, when Florida State’s Paul Azinger also won the individual title.
3. Florida: The Gators are No. 7 in the nation, but finished fourth at their own Gator Invitational, where they usually dominate. They were 19 shots behind Florida State and also lost to No. 29 North Florida and No. 54 South Alabama. This is the second consecutive year that Florida failed to win the Gator. Auburn won last year, the Gators’ first loss at their home event since 2003.
4. Illinois: Considering they’ve won four consecutive Big Ten Championships, it’s hard to believe that Illinois had never won the Big Ten Match Play Championship. They did just that this week, winning in dominant fashion. The No. 20 Illini went 14-0-1 in 15 combined individual matches.
5. TCU: The Frogs opened the spring season by finishing second at the Arizona Intercollegiate and third at the Amer Ari. A good start for the nation’s No. 13 team, especially considering its sparse fall schedule that saw the team compete just twice.
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1. Daniel Berger, Florida State: The sophomore moved up to No. 4 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings with his Gator Invitational victory. Berger is from Jupiter, Fla., where his instructor, Jeff Leishman, instructs a handful of Tour players. Berger won the Dixie Amateur by 13 shots during the offseason, then opened up his spring by shooting a final-round 65 at the Gator.
2. Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington: His streak of top-3 finishes ended at four after his 10th-place finish at the Amer Ari, but he’s still finished in the top 10 in all five starts this season. He’s No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after finishing the fall in the top spot.
3. Trevor Simsby, Washington: Simsby, No. 5 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, is one of this season’s surprises. He proved that the mid-season break didn’t slow his pace, as he finished second at the Amer Ari behind winner Dominic Bozzelli of Auburn. Simsby has finished in the top 5 in four of five starts, including a win and two runners-up.
4. Scott Fernandez, Iowa State: The sophomore by way of Spain finished third in the UTSA/Oak Hills Invitational. He’s now finished in the top three in all four starts this season, though he hasn’t won. He finished five behind Baylor’s Kyle Jones at Oak Hills.
5. Scott Wolfes, Georgia Southern: The sophomore was runner-up at the gator Invitational. He’s has two wins and two runners-up in six starts this season and is No. 32 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
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BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
• 1. California: DNP
• 2. Texas: T-4, Amer Ari Invitational
• 3. New Mexico: DNP
• 4. Washington: T-1, Amer Ari Invitational
• 5. Alabama: DNP
How the top 5 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
• 1. Michael Kim, Cal: DNP
• 2. Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington: T-10, Amer Ari Invitational
• 3. Brandon Stone, Texas: T-4, Amer Ari Invitational
• 4. Daniel Berger, Florida State: Won, Gator Invitational
• 5. Trevor Simsby, Washington: T-2, Amer Ari Invitational
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Tournament (Team champion; individual winner)
• Gator Invitational (Florida State; Daniel Berger, Florida State)
• Big Ten Match Play (Illinois)
• Amer Ari Invitational (UCLA; Dominic Bozzelli, Auburn)
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THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Puerto Rico Classic, Feb. 17-19, Rio Mar (River), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico