No. 45: Oregon State men, San Diego State women
College golf is just a few short weeks away. To get you ready, Asher Wildman is breaking down the top 60 men's and women's teams. Today, it's No. 45 on the board with the Oregon State men and San Diego State women.
OREGON STATE MEN
2010-11 final ranking: 45
Coach: Jon Reehoorn (second year)
Top returnees: Alex Moore, Nick Sherwood
Top newcomers: Junior Nick Chianello (transfer from Portland), junior Matt Rawitzer (transfer from Idaho) and freshman Brian Jung of Canada
Projected starting 5: Alex Moore (Sr.), Nick Sherwood (Jr.), David Fink (So.), Brian Jung (Fr.), Matt Rawitzer (Jr.) or Nick Chianello (Jr.)
Key losses: None
Key fall tournament: The Prestige at PGA West
2010-11 recap: When Jon Reehoorn took over as head coach at Oregon State in fall 2010, the former Idaho coach inherited a program that lacked depth. On his roster was only one starter that had made it to the 2010 NCAA Championship, where the Beavers finished 16th.
In his first year back coaching in the Pac-10 since being an assistant coach at Washington in 2007, Reehoorn was impressed. “It’s a deep conference, and it’s crazy how good so many of these kids are.”
Despite the depth issues, Reehoorn guided Oregon State to five top-5 finishes and an NCAA regional berth, and the Beavers nearly advanced before finishing seventh, only five shots shy of a return trip to nationals.
Player to watch: David Fink. “He won back-to-back Hawaii state match-play championships. He kind of flew under the radar last year but had a scoring average around 72 as a freshman, which was impressive. He has a lot of potential, and could end up being a No. 1 for us for three years.”
2011-12 preview: There is a buzz in Corvallis for the upcoming season. The Beavers now have talent up and down their lineup and could be in for a breakthrough season. “I’m super excited and cant wait to get them on campus,” Reehoorn said. “Nobody graduated last year, and the new guys joining us are excited to be a part of the program.”
Oregon State is adding two transfers with plenty of experience. Nick Chianello set a season scoring-average record at the University of Portland last year, and Matt Rawitzer was the medalist at last season’s Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate while playing for Idaho.
On the flight home from regionals last year, Reehoorn asked his players if they knew where nationals were going to be this season. “No one knew,” Reehoorn said. “I told them Riviera, and nationals is where they should believe they are headed to every year.”
Oregon State will be tested early and often. The Beavers start the season at the Husky Invitational and follow with a trip to the Husky Invitational in Washington. Also on the docket are appearances at the Amer-Ari Invitational, Prestige at PGA West and Bandon Dunes Collegiate. One advantage the Beavers will have in the spring is hosting the Pac-12 Championship on their home course, Trysting Tree.
Bottom line: On paper, Oregon State may have one of the most-difficult schedules in the country. That could either be a good thing – and earn them a high ranking – or a dangerous one, because of the .500 rule. Reehoorn believes his team has the talent and depth to compete with anyone. If Oregon State plays to its abilities and the new players mesh nicely with the returnees, expect to see the Beavers at Riviera.
SAN DIEGO STATE WOMEN
2010-11 final ranking: 45
Top returnees: Christine Wong
Top newcomers: Sophomore Tessa The (transfer from Colorado)
Projected starting 5: Christine Wong (Jr.), Gina Clark (Jr.), Malin Enarsson (Sr.), Alessia Knight (Jr.), Jessica Schneider (So.)
Key losses: Stephanie Arcala, Samantha Roberts
2010-11 recap: After guiding the Aztecs to back-to-back postseason appearances, former LPGA player Emily Klein resigned as head coach. The decision seemed a bit odd after San Diego State had moved up in the rankings for consecutive years.
Last season, the Aztecs posted a victory at the Gold Rush and finished fifth at the Mountain West Conference Championship. The team earned a trip to the NCAA West Regional, where it ended the season with a 17th-place finish.
2011-2012 preview: Whoever takes over the program will face a bit of a challenge. The team has no player who finished in the top 180 individually in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings last season.
Christine Wong, who finished last season ranked No. 182, will be asked to lead a relatively experienced team, but one that failed to beat top teams. A year ago, the Aztecs were only 1-36 against teams ranked inside the top 25.
Joining the squad this year is sophomore Tessa The, a transfer from Colorado. It’s unclear how much The will contribute initially. For the Buffalos last year, she played in six events and finished the year ranked No. 715.
Bottom line: The next coach will have his or her hands full. The Aztecs do not have a lot of depth and lack talent at the top of the lineup. It’s tough to see the Aztecs matching their ranking of a year ago and making a third consecutive trip to regionals.