Weekly top 5: Stanford's impressive win in Illinois
Friday, September 23, 2011
College golf takes Thursday's off from competition, which allows me to give you my college golf weekly top 5.
1. Impressive victory: I doubt there were too many people surprised Stanford won its season-open event at the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational. But, how many of you raised your eyebrows when you saw the Cardinal finish 16 shots better than second place? I did.
"This was one of the largest winning margins in my career," said Stanford coach Conrad Ray. "It was a great team win."
No doubt about that. A win that will most likely vault Stanford to the top spot in college golf.
2. More frosh talk: Living up to all the hype is exactly what this year's freshmen class is doing early in this 2011-12 season. Last week, it was Alabama's Justin Thomas winning the Carpet Capital Collegiate. This week it was Stanford's Patrick Rodgers. Rodgers posted a final-round, 2-under 68 to win the individual title at the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational with a 4-under total.
3. Coaching staff: The North Carolina State women's team has started the season with a tie for fourth place at the Cougar Classic and then won the Wild Eggs Cardinal Cup. While the good play is garnering attention for Page Marsh, who has been at North Carolina State for 12 seasons, it's the staff she assembles that has people talking.
She may have the most head coaching experience of any college golf staff in the country. Marsh's assistant is former SMU head coach Todd Selders and the volunteer assistant is former North Carolina boss Sally Austin. Selders spent seven years at SMU and Austin was in charge at North Carolina for 16 seasons.
4. Playoffs: The Colorado men's golf team started the season hot, holding a 2-0 record. UNLV and Colorado tied for first place after 54 holes at the Gene Miranda Air Force Falcon Invite and the two schools were sent into a playoff to decide the team champion. UNLV would win the title on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. However, according to NCAA, the result is recorded as co-champions.
The individual standings also ended in a tie with Ball State's T.J. Carpenter and UNLV's Kevin Penner each posting 7-under 209. But because of Ball State's travel schedule, no playoff was contested. Scratching my head here.
In college golf, playoffs should only be conducted to decide conference champions, which teams advance out of regional competition and which team advances into the final eight at the NCAA Championship.
It's not consistent or is it fair that a team can say no to a playoff because of travel and be called tournament co-champs, but a team that stays and plays a playoff and loses is called runner-up. No more regular-season playoffs!
5. Respect: Something we are getting more comfortable with is when we see a Div. II team defeat what is consider a top Div. I program. That may be why we did not hear a whole lot about West Florida winning The McLaughlin. The Argonauts, considered one of the elite programs in Div. II golf, finished one shot better than TCU and bettered another 14 Div. I schools to take home the hardware.
Sure the Horned Frogs are regrouping, but they have been a top 25 program for most of the last decade and this win by West Florida just continues to tell us the very best at the Div. II level just might fit in as a top 50 Div. I program.