No. 48: UC-Davis men, Wisconsin women
Believe it or not, the start of another college golf season is just a few short weeks away. To get you ready, Asher Wildman will break down the top 60 teams for both the men and women. Today, it's No. 48 on the board with the Missouri men and UNLV women.
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2010-11 final ranking: 48
Coach: Cy Williams (18th year)
Top returnees: Matt Hansen, Tyler Raber
Top newcomers: Freshman Luke Vivolo of Carmel, Calif., freshman Will Scarlett of Woodland, Calif.
Projected starting 5: Matt Hansen (So.), Daniel Covrig (So.), Matt Seramin (So.), Tyler Raber (Sr.), Andrew Haggen (Jr.)
Key losses: Austin Graham
Key fall tournament: The Prestige at PGA West
2010-11 recap: For a mid-major, the Aggies held their own against top competition, playing the nation’s 41st-toughest schedule. UC-Davis won the Big West championship by 16 shots over Pacific before seeing their season come to a close with an eighth-place finish at NCAA regionals. “We wanted to get to nationals but fell short,” coach Cy Williams said. “We were competitive throughout the year, and got a lot of great things accomplished.”
UC Davis lost a big part of their program in Austin Graham – a two-time Big West Conference Player of the Year – to graduation, and it will be interesting to see who steps up in his place. “You can’t just replace an Austin Graham,” Williams said. Despite the Aggies not making it to nationals as a team, Matt Hansen was the NCAA regional medalist as a freshman and earned a trip to the NCAA Championship as an individual.
Player to watch: Andrew Haggen. “He has gotten better and was our most improved player (last year),” Williams said. “This may be the year he blossoms into a top level player. He hits it far, and his short game is getting a lot better. He has the ability to manage a round of golf, and if he can continue to develop a short game he could be an elite-level player.”
2011-12 preview: Up-and-comer Matt Hansen won the NCAA regional title as a freshman, and his coach believes that may have been his coming out party. “He staked his claim to be our next (great) player,” Williams said. “He will be a leader of this year’s team with Tyler Raber.”
Williams is hoping that the Aggies’ younger players took advantage of working alongside Austin Graham last year. For UC Davis to be successful, the lesser-experienced players on this roster will have to perform immediately. “Guys like Daniel (Covrig) and Matt (Seramin) need to step up their games,” Williams said. “They saw great leadership last year and know what it takes if they want their games to develop.”
UC Davis will have a young lineup, which could be a nice preview of things to come the next several years. How much the back end of the lineup developed over the summer could make or break the Aggies’ season. UC-Davis will again have a tough schedule, and there will not be time for a lot of growing pains. The younger players need to start fast and not let up.
Winning an NCAA regional is no fluke, and with Graham gone, Matt Hansen will assume the role as the team’s new No. 1. “He’s a stud,” Williams said. “He wants to be a great player, and people will be hearing his name a whole bunch.”
Bottom line: UC-Davis will be the favorite to win the Big West Conference and, as such, should make another NCAA regional appearance. But the Aggies may again come up short in their bid to make it to nationals.
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2010-11 final ranking: 48
Coach: Todd Oehrlein (ninth year)
Top returnees: Lindsay Danielson, Kris Yoo
Top newcomers: Aaren Ziegler from Canby, Oregon, Jesse Jordan from Urban, Ohio,
Projected starting 5: Lindsay Danielson (Jr.), Kris Yoo (So.), Alexis Nelson (So.), Alyssa Elliott (Jr.), Jessie Gerry (Sr.)
Key losses: Carly Werwie
Key fall tournament: Cougar Classic
2010-11 recap: The Badgers continue to get better under the direction of Todd Oehrlein. For the past few seasons, Purdue and Michigan State have controlled the Big Ten, but the gap is closing after the Badgers finished fourth at the Big Ten Championship. “A few years ago, those two could play poorly and still beat us,” Oehrlein said. “I don’t think they can just show up and beat the rest of us anymore.”
Wisconsin won two tournaments last year: the Badger Invitational in the fall and the BYU Entrada Classic in the spring. The Badgers made it to the NCAA Central Regional, where their season came to a close with a 16th-place finish.
Player to watch: Kris Yoo. “She’s ready to take that next step and started to figure out how to end rounds strong last year,” Oehrlein said. “She can get off to a quick start, but she’s starting to learn how to finish.”
2011-12 preview: The Badgers return four starters but lacks a true No. 1 in their lineup. Of the four returnees, Lindsay Danielson was the highest-ranked at No. 170 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. The four returning starters had a combined 2-58 mark against top-25 players, and was only 41-246-5 against players inside the top 100.
Entering the season, Oehrlein is putting a lot of hope in junior Lindsay Danielson and sophomore Kris Yoo to lead the way. “Those two have done a great job with the ability to put up lower numbers,” Oehrlein said. “They are consistent and steady players for us, and I hope their consistency can rub off on to our other players.”
Wisconsin will tackle a tougher schedule then the one it had a year ago. The Badgers’ depth – which will be strengthened by the addition of freshman Aaren Ziegler, who won the Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur this summer – should help them against tougher fields. They will find out early where they stand against teams that finished ahead of them in the rankings last season.
“Gaining confidence will be key,” Oehrlein said.
Bottom line: This program has gotten better the past few years, and has the core to continue to do so. If Danielson or Yoo can emerge as a true No. 1, then this team threaten Michigan State’s and Purdue’s annual dominance in the Big Ten. Expect Wisconsin to reach regionals, but struggle against teams ranked ahead of them.