During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the 2014 spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Big East Conference:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Xavier
• Player to watch: Ariel McNair, Xavier. She’s the Musketeers highest-ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, but not by much. Keep an eye out for her teammate, Shane Crutchfield, as well.
• Freshman to watch: Grace Howie, Xavier. Howie might be the fourth best golfer on her team at the moment, but she’s arguably the top newcomer in the conference, which only has six teams.
• Conference championship: April 17-19, LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla.
• Past champions (since 2009): Notre Dame (2013), South Florida (2012), Notre Dame (2011), Louisville (2009-10)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Xavier (96): Musketeers began fall with three straight top 5s, including a runner-up finish at the Yale Women’s Fall Intercollegiate, before closing with a ninth-place finish at the Hoosier Fall Invitational and an eight-place showing at the Palmetto Intercollegiate. Senior Ariel McNair and sophomore Shane Crutchfield had nearly identical falls, posting scoring averages of 74.86 and 74.93, respectively, and a high finish of T-4. They are also ranked 368th and 389th, respectively, in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
- Seton Hall (139): Other than a seventh-place finish at the Princeton Invitational, the Pirates were fourth or better in every fall start, including at the Sacred Heart Fall Classic, where Seton Hall won the team title. Juniors Erin McClure and Ali Kruse lead this bunch.
- St. John’s (145): Four fall starts produced a victory at the St. John’s Invitational to go along with three other finishes of fourth or better. Seniors Jennifer Neville and Harin Lee give the Red Storm a strong veteran presence atop the lineup.
- Georgetown (172): The Hoyas were no worse than eighth and no better than T-4 in five fall tournaments. Georgetown lacked a standout player as four players, including senior Alice Choi, are ranked in the 800’s by Golfweek entering the spring.
- Butler (190): The Bulldogs had three top 3s in four fall events, including a victory at the Chesapeake Bay Invitational, but just three players posted sub-80 scoring averages. Isabella Lambert and Jenna Peters formed a leading duo with a combined five top 5s during the fall to go along with scoring averages of 76.4 or better.
- Creighton (240): The Blue Jays were not only ranked 50 spots lower than their next closest conference foe in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, but no individual for Creighton was ranked better than No. 1,233.