Conference rivalries could be brewing
OOLTEWAH, Tenn. – There is very little doubt that the Pac-10 Conference has dominated college golf this year. Eight of the 10 member schools made it to The Honors Course for the NCAA Championship after nine played in regional competition. Washington State would have been a 10th team in the postseason, but the Cougars were one of the first teams to get left out of regional selections.
There’s little argument that the SEC is second-best, but only three teams from that league are at the finals. Two of the SEC’s best – Georgia and South Carolina – failed to get out of regional play.
Then there is the ACC. With five teams from the 11-team league playing this week, three are looking like they may find a way into the match play.
“They had to come to our part of their world,” Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler said. “Geography is part of it.”
Heppler was not taking a jab at the two leagues that have been talked about most this year. But he may be right on when he speaks of geography being part of it.
With a weather delay forcing teams off the course midway through the afternoon wave, no Pac-10 schools are inside the top 5. The 7,395-yard Pete Dye-designed Honors Course may be giving the West Coast powers more of an obstacle than the schools East of the Mississippi.
Led by Florida State, the ACC could send three teams into match play. The Seminoles sit alone at the top of the leaderboard after a 9-under 279. Georgia Tech is third and Clemson is tied for seventh.
And with this championship in its second year using match play to determine its winner, that head-to-head battle is what the founding fathers of the new format wanted. We will slowly start to see rivalries born from school-to-school . . . and from conference-to-conference.
Won’t that be fun!