Midweek Report: Tide men claim SEC; Choi shines
Welcome to Golfweek’s Men's Midweek Report. We wanted to use this hump day to update you on all the latest men's college news and give you a quick glance at what to look ahead to this weekend:
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THE BIG 5
Stories you need to know now . . .
1. Alabama: The Tide won their second consecutive SEC Championship with a two-shot victory over South Carolina. Alabama, No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, has won its past four starts, and five of its six spring events.
2. Davidson: No, the Wildcats aren’t among the many teams that will lift a conference championship. But they provided some dramatics in their last-ditch effort to make the postseason. The No. 95 Wildcats, needing to win the conference title to earn a postseason bid, finished two shots short of 50th-ranked Chattanooga, which won its fifth conference title in seven years. Davidson’s No. 5 player, Todd Eckstein, just missed a 15-foot birdie putt that would have forced playoffs for the team and individual titles. Eckstein, playing in the final group of the day, missed the par putt to finish two shots back in the individual race as well. He is No. 830 in the Golfweek rankings. It was Davidson’s highest conference finish in 40 years.
3. Houston: College golf’s one-time dominant program is back on the upswing. The Cougars won their first Conference USA title since 2001. Houston, No. 26 in the Golfweek rankings, finished three shots better than 20th-ranked SMU.
4. North Florida: The No. 18 Ospreys won the Atlantic Sun Conference title by 14 shots over No. 77 East Tennessee State to become the first back-to-back A-Sun champions since Jacksonville State in 2002-03.
5. St. Mary’s: The No. 24 Gaels won back-to-back West Coast Conference titles for the first time in school history.
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1. Albin Choi, North Carolina State: Choi won his home event, the Wolfpack Spring Open, for his fifth victory of the season. He’s No. 7 in the Golfweek rankings. He made a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole for the one-stroke victory. He’s finished outside the top 6 in just one of his 11 starts this season.
2. Sebastian Cappelen, Arkansas: He won the SEC Championship with an 8-under 202 total. His bogey-free 66 at Sea Island Golf Resort’s Seaside Course was the low score of the day by three strokes, and one of only two rounds in the 60s. He was named a captain’s pick to Europe’s Palmer Cup team the next day.
3. Cory Whitsett, Alabama: He moved to No. 3 in the Golfweek rankings after finishing third at the SEC Championship. Whitsett has finished in the top 3 in five of six starts this spring, including three wins and a runner-up. His worst finish this spring is seventh at the Schenkel Invitational.
4. M.J. Maguire, North Florida: The sophomore shot a final-round 68 to win the Atlantic Sun Championship for his first collegiate title. His final-round 68 was the low score of the tournament and the only sub-70 round. He’s No. 31 in the Golfweek rankings.
5. Steven Ihm, Iowa: He became the first Hawkeye to win back-to-back medalist honors since 1970 after his title at the Boilermaker Invitational. He shot 211 to win, the same score he shot in winning the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational. He is No. 51 in the Golfweek rankings.
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BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
1. Cal: DNP
2. Alabama: Won, SEC Championship
3. Texas: Big 12 Championship under way
4. New Mexico: DNP
5. UCLA: DNP
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1. Michael Kim, Cal: DNP
2. Sean Dale, North Florida: T-16, Atlantic Sun Championship
3. Cory Whitsett, Alabama: T-3, SEC Championship
4. Brandon Stone, Texas: Big 12 Championship under way
5. Julien Brun, TCU: Big 12 Championship under way
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West Coast (St. Mary’s; Grant Forrest, San Diego): Read more here.
SEC (Alabama; Sebastian Cappelen, Arkansas): Read more here.
Conference USA (Houston; Roman Robledo, Houston): Read more here.
Big South (Coastal Carolina; Mathieu Fenasse, Liberty): Read more here.
Southern (Chattanooga; Josh Lorenzetti, College of Charleston): Read more here.