Monday Top 5: Iowa State rallies back

Iowa State after winning the Central District Challenge.

Iowa State after winning the Central District Challenge.

1.) This time the storm was real

Last week the sirens were sounded for that Cyclone Warning in Puerto Rico, but this week it was the real thing. Iowa State posted a final-round best 4-under 284 to win the Central District Challenge topping teams such as LSU, Texas A&M, TCU, Ohio State, Michigan State and Arkansas. This win is arguably the best in program history and it caused the Cyclones to storm to No. 16 in this week’s Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.

Iowa State will look to continue its hot start at the Sun Trust Gator Invitational March 6-7.

2.) Under the radar

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The spring talk in women’s college golf has been focused on Alabama and Arizona State’s sudden rise. You will also hear about USC and UCLA. And what’s women’s golf talk without mentioning Duke? But, like they often do, the California Golden Bears are creeping up the rankings.

After an 18-shot win over Stanford at the Peg Barnard Invitational, California is now the No. 5 team in women’s college golf.

3.) Starting five

Now that the final putts have dropped at last week’s Puerto Rico Classic, I feel like we can now draw a line to designate the top five teams in the country.

Oklahoma State, UCLA, Florida Alabama and Georgia Tech are the teams with the targets on their backs. Not to say there are not others (keep an eye on the defending NCAA champion Augusta State Jaguars, which have an asterisk by their name because of a DQ in California to close the fall season). But it appears clear to me that those five squads and the body of work they have put in up to this point puts them in the elite group.

Alabama won in Puerto Rico with Georgia Tech finishing second, ahead of top-ranked Oklahoma State. UCLA and Florida recently won events as well.

photo

Jason Millard

4.) Is he a senior yet?

Middle Tennessee State has had a familiar name, Jason Millard, carrying a Blue Raider bag for what seems like a lot longer than four years. Millard was a standout freshman on Whit Turnbow’s squad that played the Cinderella role at the 2008 NCAA Championship hosted by Purdue.

Millard has had a lot to do with Blue Raider golf’s staying power. And this past week Millard posted one of the second-best scores in college golf this year – 9-under 63 en route to winning the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate by seven shots. The victory help Millard, who is from Murfreesboro, Tenn., climb to No. 51 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.

5.) Missouri is doing it again

Last year head coach Mark Leroux guided his Tigers into postseason play despite playing one the easiest schedules for an at-large bid. Mizzou rolled through the 2010 spring season with five top three finishes in five starts. The level of competition last spring was not very regional-like, however Leroux’s schedule proved that it’s not always who you play, rather how you play, when you play.

Missouri was ranked 69th at the conclusion of the 2011 fall season, which places the Tigers directly on the bubble for postseason play this year. Leroux must be looking at his notes from a year ago. The Tigers roared out of the gates in the same style as last spring with a victory at the WSU Snowman Getaway – finishing 25 shots better than runner-up Idaho. The victory helped Missouri improve from No. 69 to No. 55 this week in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.

Missouri’s remaining schedule is very much like last spring. If it worked once, why not twice?

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