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.
Next up: Big West
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Conference championship: April 29-May 1, Pacific Palms Resort, City of Industry, Calif.
Defending champion: UC Santa Barbara
Team rankings: Cal State-Fullerton (86), UC Davis (89), Long Beach State (104), UC Santa Barbara (105), Cal Poly (160), UC Irvine (170), UC Riverside (176), Cal State-Northridge (208), Hawaii (255)
Midseason All-Conference team: Derek Castillo, Cal State-Fullerton (144); Matt Moomjian, UC Santa Barbara (236); Felix Mory, Cal State-Northridge (243); Joe Fryer, Long Beach State (244); Evan Knight, UC Davis (270)
What to expect: The quality of golf in the Big West is much better than a season ago. Cal State-Fullerton has made the biggest improvement, and much of that can be attributed to the addition of Castillo, a Yorba Linda, Calif., native who transferred from UNLV this summer. The other Big West contender, UC Davis, is the more balanced team and played the 40th toughest schedule this fall compared to Fullerton’s 116th schedule rank. However, neither team finished better than T-6 at last year’s Big West Championship, so there is much to prove still.
Pick to win: Cal State-Fullerton
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Conference championship: April 15-17, Strawberry Farms Golf Club, Irvine, Calif.
Defending champion: Cal Poly
Team rankings: Long Beach State (85), UC Davis (89), Hawaii (98), Cal Poly (102), UC Irvine (112), UC Riverside (119), Cal State-Fullerton (138), Cal State-Northridge (176)
Midseason All-Conference team: Samantha Hutchison, UC Davis (215); Christine Danielsson, UC Davis (216); Jamie Binns, Cal Poly (290); Jakeishya Le, UC Riverside (348); Maria Davis, Long Beach State (367)
What to expect: Cal Poly held on to win last year’s Big West title by a shot despite shooting 12 over in the final round. Five of the conference’s seven other teams finished within 12 shots of Cal Poly, and that type of parity is present again this season. Six teams are ranked between 85-119 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, led by Long Beach State, which boasts a deep squad. However, UC Davis, winner of six Big West titles since 2010, is better at the top.
Pick to win: UC Davis