Monday Top 5: New No. 1 in women's golf

Marta Silva

1.) New No. 1: Georgia’s Marta Silva won the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic and has moved into the top spot in women’s college golf. Silva replaced LSU’s Megan McChrystal atop the latest polls after McChrystal tied for 58th in the same event. Silva, the reigning Spanish Amateur champion, posted rounds of 74-71-67 to win for the first time this season. The junior has five career victories, and she moves within two of Georgia’s all-time win leaders – current Arkansas coach Shauna Estes-Taylor and Vicki Goetze.

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2.) They did it it again: For the sixth time this season, and for the third time without Peter Uihlein in the lineup, Oklahoma State has won a tournament. This time it was the Insperity Augusta State Invitational. Oklahoma State has won each time it has played this season without Uihlein in the lineup. This past weekend, Uihlein was in Augusta, but he was preparing for another event that gets under way this week: The Masters.

The Cowboys took a 10-shot lead into the final round, but needed a birdie from Kevin Tway on his final hole to hang on for a one-shot victory over Tennessee. Tway claimed medalist honors, but it continues to be a total team effort, with four Cowboys placing in the top 12.

The Cowboys continue to sit atop the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, and are the only team in college golf that has not lost to a team ranked outside the top 25.

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3.) Different format: This past weekend, the University of Georgia hosted the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. The format was unique to women’s college golf in that each team played alone as a fivesome and scoring was a best-ball format. A team’s best four scores on a hole counted toward the team score.

In the best-ball format, it was Alabama going home with the trophy after finishing as the only team in red numbers with a 4-under total. The Crimson Tide were eight shots better than second-place Duke. But in the eyes of NCAA official scoring, it was Florida picking up the victory. Here’s why: The NCAA only accepts a five-count-four scoring format, and in this format the Gators finished two shots better than Alabama. In the best-ball format, Alabama was 10 shots better than the Gators.

Now that we have things cleared up, we are likely to see this format again in the future.

“I am still waiting to get feedback from the coaches,” Georgia coach Kelley Hester said. “If I am the only coach in the country that likes it, then I won’t do it because I am providing a disservice, but early indications would tell me I would do it the same way.”

My take would be if we are going to see the women starting to experiment with formats (which we will, because the women’s game is always just behind the men), then try to get the women’s golf committee to recognize these formats. The Big Ten Conference has used a six-count-four scoring format for its conference championship, and the event is forced to designate a sixth player and use a five-count-four format. Let’s not confuse everyone at these events and people who follow these events.

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4.) Player of the Year talk: The top player in college golf is clearly going to come down to the conference championships and the postseason.

Oklahoma State senior Kevin Tway now can be tossed into the pool of candidates. Tway won for the first time this year at Augusta State’s tourney and adds a victory to a resume that includes seven top 10s in 10 starts. Tway jumped to No. 4 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, behind teammate and top-ranked Peter Uihlein, No. 2 Patick Cantlay of UCLA and No. 3 Andrew Yun of Stanford.

Yun tied for fourth last week at the Linger Longer Invitational and improved two spots to No. 3. Florida’s Bank Vongvanij tied for 41st at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate – his worst finish of the season. But the Gators senior has four victories and finished outside the top 10 just twice this year. Also, keep a close eye on Alabama’s Bud Cauley and Georgia Tech’s James White. Iowa’s Vince India has the fewest head-to-head losses in college golf, with an overall won-lost-tie record of 383-17-12.

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5.) Felt like a win: Tennessee finished one shot behind Oklahoma State at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational, but this might have been one time when second was just fine. The Volunteers entered the event with a lot at stake. Tennessee’s overall won-lost-tie record was 52-55-3, and with only the SEC Championship remaining on the schedule, a poor showing could have hurt its bid to play in the postseason.

Jim Kelson’s squad improved to 65-56-3, and now the only way to finish the season below .500 would be to place last at the conference championship. Tennessee climbed six spots this week, to No. 29 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.

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