Men's fall countdown: No. 26 Oregon
Next up on our men's 2014 fall countdown, No. 26 Oregon:
Editor's note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Lance Ringler, as he looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won't be available until a couple of the weeks into the fall season. Our staff of Andy Zunz, Cassie Stein and Brentley Romine are writing the individual profiles of the teams.
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Preseason rank: 26
Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 37
2013-14 in review: The Ducks won once last season and ended up eighth at the Pac-12 Championship. But then Casey Martin’s young squad finished runner-up at the NCAA Eugene (Ore.) Regional before placing 14th at the NCAA Championship. The Ducks’ final round at Prairie Dunes was a good one, too – a 9-under 271, the second-best round of the championship and the best final-round score by six shots. "One of the best rounds of the year," Martin said. "It was an eye-opener for our guys that we can really play at the top level."
Notable departures: None
Key returnees: Sophomore Thomas Lim, juniors Brandon McIver and Zach Foushee, and senior Jonathan Woo
Newcomers of note: Freshmen Aaron Wise and Hurly Long
Circled on the fall calendar: Nike's Swoosh Invitational, Oct. 6-7, Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Fall outlook: Oregon returns its entire lineup from last season, including Lim, who led the Ducks in scoring average as a freshman (71.86) and won the Oregon State Amateur during the summer. McIver had quite the summer, playing in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, where he missed the cut, and winning a second straight Montana State Amateur title. McIver also competed in the U.S. Amateur along with Woo, Lim, Wise and Oregon sophomore Brandon Baumgarten, and was one of two Ducks players (Woo being the other) to make the cut – McIver then lost to Nathan Smith in the Round of 32. Oregon might not be the favorite to win the Pac-12 at this point, but the Ducks have the potential to be a national contender.
Coach's perspective: "I’m optimistic, especially with the way we finished last season. . . . And we didn’t lose anybody." - Martin