Spring preview 2018: American Athletic Conference

Golfweek/Tracy Wilcox

Spring preview 2018: American Athletic Conference

College

Spring preview 2018: American Athletic Conference

As the college golf season gets ready to resume, Golfweek will preview each automatic-qualifier conference in Division I, offering picks to win, midseason All-Conference teams and more.

All of our conference previews will reside here.

First up: American Athletic Conference

• • •

Men

Conference championship: April 22-24, Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Palm Harbor, Fla.

Defending champion: South Florida

Team rankings: South Florida (43), UCF (47), Houston (72), East Carolina (82), Cincinnati (113), SMU (121), Memphis (136), Connecticut (152), Temple (198), Wichita State (223)

Midseason All-Conference team: Cristian DiMarco, South Florida (85); Kyler Tate, UCF (135); Michael Perras, Houston (158); McClure Meissner, SMU (182); Austin Squires, Cincinnati (204)

What to expect: South Florida signed the hotshot duo of Joaquin Niemann and Won Jun Lee for one of the top hauls in the Class of 2017. But neither ended up on campus, as Niemann eyes pro golf in the near future and Lee eventually pivoted to the University of Florida (where he’s now a freshman). Minus those star recruits, the Bulls have managed to do just fine this fall – winning twice and finishing the early part of the season the highest-ranked team in the conference and boasting the highest-ranked player in the conference in Cristian DiMarco (Chris DiMarco’s son). This cast is performing even better than last season, which included a 15-shot victory at The American Championship. The Bulls are in fact three-time defending champs of the AAC. UCF does match up decently spot-for-spot and should prove a formidable challenger, but the Bulls are in line for a four-peat.

Pick to win: South Florida

• • •

Women

Conference championship: April 15-17, Hammock Beach Resort (Conservatory), Palm Coast, Fla.

Defending champion: UCF

Team rankings: Houston (24), East Carolina (40), Memphis (53), SMU (62), Tulane (86), UCF (90), Wichita State (135), Tulsa (136), Cincinnati (155), South Florida (167)

Midseason All-Conference team: Leonie Harm, Houston (26); Brigitte Dunne, SMU (50); Megan Thothong, Houston (87); Sydney Colwill, Memphis (117); Faith Summers, SMU (129)

What to expect: The Cougars have fought through for a strong resurgence. After dropping from an end-of-season No. 29 ranking in 2015-16 to No. 47 at the end of 2016-17, Houston is currently at No. 24. That’s despite Hurricane Harvey uprooting the squad prior to the season. But under head coach Gerrod Chadwell, Stacy Lewis’ husband, Houston hasn’t let much get in the way. The program only began competing in team play in 2014-15. In just their second season, the Cougars won the AAC. They’ve qualified for regionals all three seasons and have finished every season ranked in the top 50. With the top-ranked team, two of the conference’s three best players and UCF having a down season, Houston shouldn’t expect much to get in the way this spring.

Pick to win: Houston

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