Weekly Top 5: Austin Peay wins big; Bama lurks
1. AUSTIN PEAY'S BEST WIN EVER? Austin Peay has won a few Ohio Valley Conference titles, which certainly are at the top of the list in terms of notable wins in program history. However, the Governors’ victory at the Memphis Intercollegiate on March 26 might be the biggest in program history. Senior Dustin Korte won individual medalist honors as Austin Peay, ranked No. 103 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, topped a field that included No. 25 Texas Tech and three teams in the top 50. The victory was Austin Peay’s fourth this season and will likely make them the favorite to win the OVC this spring.
2. TIDE LINGER IN BACKGROUND: Normally, Alabama would figure prominently into college golf conversations this time of year. This year, however, California has stolen some of the spotlight from Jay Seawell’s team, largely because the Golden Bears have won eight of nine events this year. The Crimson Tide have won half of their starts this year and haven’t gotten much attention for it, but that could change during the next few weeks. With four players ranked in the top 16, this squad appears to be peaking at the right time. Alabama won its past two starts – the Schenkel Invitational by 10 shots, and the Linger Longer Invite by 16 shots.
3. BRUINS SPRING FORWARD: UCLA has made a huge turnaround this spring. The Bruins finished no better than eighth in four fall events, then put senior Tiffany Lua back into the lineup this spring (she was out with a sore wrist in the fall). Even as Kyle Roig left the team, the results have been polar opposite for the Bruins. They have three victories and a runner-up finish in four spring starts, including last week’s win at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Hawaii.
4. RARE REPLICATION: Holes-in-one happen infrequently, but it’s something we don’t always report or get too excited about unless it means a little something extra. Last week at the St. James Invitational in Southport, N.C., two West Chester University players (a Division II school in West Chester, Penn.) made an ace on the same hole in the same round. That qualifies as a little extra. Playing in the No. 5 spot in the lineup, Michael Ashcraft made an ace on the 169-yard third hole and then about an hour later his teammate and the No. 1 player in the lineup, Connor Lefever, matched the feat.
5. AVENUE TO ALPHARETTA: Playing the NCAA Championship in Alpharetta, Ga., could be a big advantage for teams from the ACC or SEC, but how many of those teams will find a spot on the match-play board? I think it’s time to update my prediction on the top eight teams to make it to the match-play portion of the NCAA Championship: California, Alabama, New Mexico, Washington, Duke, TCU, Florida and Georgia Tech.