Men's Notebook: Player-of-the-year watch

Texas senior Dylan Frittelli

Texas senior Dylan Frittelli

Men's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Joey GarberGeorgia  68.61 
2Robby SheltonAlabama  68.62 
3Patrick RodgersStanford  68.67 
4Ollie SchniederjansGA Tech  68.81 
5Cameron WilsonStanford  69.05 

Men's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Alabama 68.92 
2Georgia 69.62 
3Georgia Tech 69.62 
4Oklahoma State 69.72  10 
5California 69.81  11 

Jordan Spieth is the clear favorite for this year’s player-of-the-year awards, but he doesn’t have the award locked up. There’s still a lot of golf left to be played, starting with this week’s Southern Highlands Collegiate, one of the year’s major events. A victory for any of the top contenders would help them catch Spieth. Here’s a look at the top 10 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, and what they need to do to catch Texas’ super freshman (Note: Todd Baek, No. 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, has turned pro). Players listed in order of Golfweek ranking:

1. Jordan Spieth, Texas

Golfstat ranking: 1

Strength of schedule: 1

Events: 5

First-place finishes: Isleworth Collegiate Invitational; Amer Ari Invitational*

Top-3s: 3

Top-10s: 4

Worst finish: 15th, Western Refining All-American

The skinny: Spieth hasn’t finished worse than sixth in a team event (the Western Refining is for individuals), all while playing the nation’s toughest schedule. It’s his award to lose. He’ll be tough to catch if he wins once more this season.

*lost playoff

2. Dylan Frittelli, Texas

Golfstat ranking: 3

Strength of schedule: 4

Events: 7

First-place finishes: 0

Top-3s: 3

Top-10s: 6

Worst finish: 12th, Puerto Rico Classic

The skinny: Frittelli’s steady play, including three runners-up, has been impressive, but he’ll need some wins to catch his teammate. He’s 2-3 against Spieth this season.

3. Eugene Wong, Oregon

Golfstat ranking: 2

Strength of schedule: 90

Events: 5

First-place finishes: Alister Mackenzie

Top-3s: 3

Top-10s: 4

Worst finish: 23rd, Amer Ari

The skinny: Wong already has won the Nicklaus Award once (in 2010). He lost to Spieth by eight strokes in their only common meeting, at the Amer Ari.

4. Justin Thomas, Alabama

Golfstat ranking: 11

Strength of schedule: 19

Events: 5

Wins: Carpet Capital, Puerto Rico

Top-3s: 3

Top-10s: 3

Worst finish: 22nd, Olympia Fields

The skinny: His two victories probably give him the best chance of catching Spieth. The two freshmen are the only players in the top 5 with multiple victories.

5. Patrick Rodgers, Stanford

Golfstat ranking: 5

Strength of schedule: 31

Events: 6

Wins: Olympia Fields

Top-3s: 2

Top-10s: 5

Worst finish: 17th, San Diego Intercollegiate

The skinny: Spieth and Rodgers were teammates at the Walker Cup, winning a dramatic half-point after Spieth holed a lengthy putt. Now they’re among the favorites to be the national player-of-the-year. Rodgers’ finest finish – his win at prestigious Olympia Fields – came in his collegiate debut. His worst, at the San Diego Intercollegiate, came in his most recent start.

6. T.J. Vogel, Florida

Golfstat ranking: 4

Strength of schedule: 296

Events: 7

Wins: JU Invitational, Charleston Shootout

Top-3s: 5

Top-10s: 6

Worst finish: 15th, Olympia Fields

The skinny: Vogel’s strength of schedule, the worst among players in the top 10, hurts his chances. He has finished 1-2-1 in three starts this spring, though.

7. Julien Brun, TCU

Golfstat ranking: 7

Strength of schedule: 222

Events: 6

Wins: Turning Stone Intercollegiate, John Hayt Invitational

Top-3s: 3

Top-10s: 5

Worst finish: 13th, Amer Ari Invitational

The skinny: Like Vogel, he’s hurt by a poor strength of schedule. Brun might be the country’s most underrated player because of his lack of experience in the U.S. before coming to Texas. He’s No. 12 in the R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.

8. Chris Williams, Washington

Golfstat ranking: 14

Strength of schedule: 44

Events: 7

Wins: Husky Invitational

Top-3s: 2

Top-10s: 4

Worst finish: 17th, The Prestige

The skinny: Williams, a member of the U.S. Walker Cup team, is hurt by the fact that his only victory came in an event shortened to 18 holes by weather. He’ll have to make a postseason run to contend for top player honors.

9. Talor Gooch, Oklahoma State

Golfstat ranking: 23

Strength of schedule: 22

Events: 5

Wins: 0

Top-3s: 1

Top-10s: 2

Worst finish: 25th, Olympia Fields

The skinny: Gooch and Frittelli are the only top-10 players without a victory. He’s come on strong lately, though, with two top-5s in his past three starts (Isleworth, Puerto Rico).

11. Corbin Mills, Clemson

Golfstat ranking: 25

Strength of schedule: 49

Events: 6

Wins: Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate

Top-3s: 1

Top-10s: 1

Worst finish: 23rd, Bank of Tennessee

The skinny: The U.S. Amateur Public Links champion has played steady golf this season, finishing in the top 15 in all but two starts, but having just one top-10 hurts his candidacy.

• • •

Coming up

Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters

March 9-11

Southern Highlands, Las Vegas

The skinny: This is one of the year’s major events. The field includes Texas (No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings), Alabama (3), USC (4), UCLA (5), California (10), UNLV (11), Stanford (12), Texas A&M (15), Duke (16), Oklahoma State (24) and Florida (25).

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