Top 5: McCready wins Battle at the Beach
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
1) Unlikely winner: With many of the top players in the country in the field at the Battle at the Beach, University of San Diego senior Kenneth McCready may not have been the most popular pick to win. However, that’s why they play the game.
McCready opened with a 5-under 65 and backed that up with a 67 to build a lead before closing with a 71 to claim the individual trophy at the Battle at the Beach. McCready finished two shots clear of UCLA freshman Patrick Cantlay. The win saw McCready vault 225 spots to No. 174 this week in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
2) Cyclone warning: Iowa State nearly pulled off what could have been one of the biggest upsets in women’s college golf regular-season history. The No. 27-ranked Cyclones had the lead on the back nine at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic before slipping into second place behind top-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide finished at 11-over 875 to win by five shots over Iowa State.
Alabama has now won three times this year – the NCAA Fall Preview, the Tar Heel Invitational and the Lady Puerto Rico Classic – in five starts.
3) Big Three back? Traditionally many of the top teams gather early in the spring at Palos Verdes Golf Club for the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. This year the field was a bit smaller, with 13 teams and not as many East coast schools making the trip, but the event provided a down-to-the-wire finish with the Big Three at the top of the team standings.
USC topped Arizona State by two shots and UCLA finished third, landing another two shots back. Led by two-time Golfweek first team All-American Carlota Ciganda, the Sun Devils nearly won the event. In just ASU’s second start of the year, we may be able to add this team, which now ranks No. 9 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin numbers, into talks of being a national contender.
4) UCLA pushing Oklahoma State for top spot: Heading into the final round at the Battle at the Beach, the University of San Diego was in position to make a big statement for the little WCC school. However, it was the powerhouse UCLA that stepped into the lead and won for the second time this year, recording its fifth top 3 in five starts. The Bruins, which remain in the No. 2 slot behind Oklahoma State in the rankings, finished with a 54-hole total of 7-over, three shots better than San Diego. With six Bruins ranked inside the top 200, this squad is a series threat to win it all.
5) Kohles continues to win tournaments: Virginia’s Ben Kohles made a six-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the John Burns Intercollegiate. The victory is Kohles fifth career title during his career at Virginia. The junior opened with a 71 and then closed with rounds of 68-67 for a 10-under 206 total to share the top spot on the leaderboard with Texas A&M’s long-hitting John Hurley and California’s Max Homa. Kohles, who finished his sophomore season ranked No. 33, climbed to No. 41 this week.