Welcome to Golfweek’s Midweek 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. North Carolina: The Tar Heels are putting together an impressive mid-season winning streak. With their UCF Challenge victory, they hit the three-in-a-row mark for the first time since 1989. Equally impressive was North Carolina’s 17-shot margin of victory at UCF. After North Carolina pulled away in the second round, no other team could get close on Day 3.
2. UCLA: Perhaps it’s too soon to say the Bruins are officially back, but college golf feels less like the twilight zone when UCLA wins tournaments (this week, the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge) instead of barely finishing inside the top 10. Erynne Lee won her first title of the season, Lee Lopez and Tiffany Lua (fresh off the injured list) finished tied for fifth and freshman Louise Ridderstrom added a top 15. Overall, a very solid performance by UCLA.
3. Alabama: The Crimson Tide ended up 13 shots clear of runner-up Arkansas at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic thanks to top-10 finishes from three players. Freshman Emma Talley (T-5) and sophomore Daniela Lendl (T-16) came up big for Alabama. It was Talley’s best career finish, and Lendl’s final-round 70 was the lowest of her college career.
4. Texas: Last time the Longhorns played a West Coast event, the Stanford Intercollegiate to close the fall, they finished last among 17 teams. Madison Pressel shot a season-low 69 in Round 2 of the Northrop Grumman and helped lead Texas to a fourth-place finish.
5. Washington: The Huskies, No. 1 in Golfweek’s rankings, posted their worst finish of the year at the Northrop Grumman. They were T-9 with Oregon.
1. Tiffany Lua, UCLA: Why is Lua one of the top amateurs and collegians in the game? Because she can come off a nearly six-month stretch on the sidelines with a wrist injury and finish in the top 5. She tied for second lowest Bruin at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. Welcome back, Lua. Her teammate Erynne Lee also deserves a nod for winning medalist honors.
2. Emily Tubert, Arkansas: Before the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, Tubert hadn’t won a tournament since March 2011. That’s too long for a player with this much talent – not to mention sheer length. Tubert is a strong player who can have a big spring if all parts of her game are firing.
3. Kimberly Kaufman, Texas Tech: Proving that her top ranking in the fall was no fluke, the Texas Tech senior finished T-2 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. This South Dakota kid clearly excels at reviving her game in a hurry – winters are long up north.
4. Briana Mao, Virginia: Normally, Brittany Altomare is the go-to player for the Cavaliers. The bubbly Mao got her first career victory at the UCF Challenge, and she credited it to increased attention to her putting. She also was successful in battling the wind at the placement-heavy Red Tail Golf Club.
5. Florida individuals: The streak is over. In five previous events, a Gator had finished with at least a share of the lead, but that ended at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. Camilla Hedberg was the low Florida player, and finished eighth.
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BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared
1. Washington: T-9, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
2. Oklahoma: DNP
3. USC: second, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
4. Duke: third, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
5. Florida: fifth, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
How the top 5 individuals in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared
1. Kimberly Kaufman, Texas Tech: T-2, Lady Puerto Rico Classic
2. SooBin Kim, Washington: T-32, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
3. Lindsey Weaver, Notre Dame: DNP
4. Kelsey Vines, Oklahoma State: second, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
5. Camilla Hedberg, Florida: eighth, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
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Tournament (team champion; individual winner)
• UCF Challenge (North Carolina; Briana Mao, Virginia)
• Lady Puerto Rico Classic (Alabama; Emily Tubert, Arkansas)
• Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge (UCLA; Erynne Lee; UCLA)
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THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
The Match Up
Feb. 15-17, Southwood GC, Tallahassee, Fla.
The field: Florida State/Texas A&M, Oklahoma/Georgia, Notre Dame/Michigan, Tennessee/Texas San Antonio, Furman/Kansas, and UNC Greensboro/UNC Wilmington
The skinny: Among this 12-team field are six teams of two universities. Each team of two universities counts five of its 10 scores – the four best and the worst. The tournament will also be scored in the traditional play-five-count-four format.
Peg Barnard Invitational
Feb. 16-17, Stanford (Calif.) GC
The field: Boston College, California, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon State, Rollins, San Francisco, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Stanford, UC Davis, Washington
The skinny: Stanford, Washington and UC Davis are the teams to watch in this field. Rollins, from Division II, also has the talent to be a factor.
Central District Invitational
Feb. 18-19, River Wilderness GC, Parrish, Fla.
The field: Augusta State, Chattanooga, Denver, Georgetown, Iowa State, Kent State, Michigan State, Minnesota, SMU, TCU, Central Florida, Vanderbilt
The skinny: One of the few women’s tournaments with 36-hole opening day. A few cold-weather schools will be shaking off the rust. TCU is the defending champion, and host Michigan State always is competitive in Parrish. Central Florida coming off a third-place finish at its own event.