Men's spring preview: Pac-12 Conference
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the spring season for each conference. Today, we look at the Pac-12 Conference:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: California
• Player to watch: Brandon Hagy, California. The most consistent player for the Bears this fall with five top-10 finishes, including a win at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational.
• Freshman to watch: Jim Liu, Stanford. In his first tournament for the Cardinal, Liu finished T-10 at the Erin Hills Intercollegiate, and it looks like he’s made himself a regular in the lineup.
• Conference championship: April 25-27, Gallery GC, Marana, Ariz.
• Past champions (since 2009): California (2013-12), USC (2011), Washington (2010-09)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- California (No. 4): It’s not like the 2012-13 season, but the Bears managed to capture three wins – the St. Mary’s Invitational, the Jack Nicklaus Invitational and The MacKenzie – during the fall in five tournaments. The team finished third at the Isleworth Collegiate, one of the season's top-ranked tournaments. The Bears were led by senior Brandon Hagy, who is ranked third by Golfweek. The team has some depth in seniors Michael Weaver, Pace Johnson and Joel Stalter, but they lost the 2012-13 POY Michael Kim to the pros over winter break.
- Stanford (No. 9): The Cardinal won the Erin Hills Intercollegiate in the team’s second tournament of the season. They also captured a runner-up finish at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate. The team has decent finishes at two more high-profile events, as well – the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational (fifth) and the U.S. Collegiate Championship (T-7). Junior Patrick Rodgers won the Erin Hills Intercollegiate and finished the fall ranked 26th by Golfweek. Senior Cameron Wilson finished the fall with a scoring average of 70.33 and ranked 21st.
- Washington (No. 13): The Huskies started off the season strong with a runner-up finish at the Topy Cup and a victory at their home tournament – the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. The team finished 10th at the 15-team U.S. Collegiate Championship. Junior Cheng-Tsung Pan won the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational, but did not play in the U.S. Collegiate Championship due to playing in the Asian Pacific Amateur. Freshman Corey Pereira stepped in nicely to begin the season and sophomore Tyler Salsbury has continued to perform for the Huskies.
- UCLA (No. 16): The Bruins finished second at the Erin Hilsl Intercollegiate, fifth at the U.S. Collegiate Championship and sixth at the Gifford Collegiate in the team’s three fall tournaments. Sophomores Lorens Chan and Jonathan Garrick each had two top-10s to open the fall and cracked the top 30 in the Golfweek rankings. Chan had a 70.4 scoring average, while Garrick had a 70.7. No other player played in all three tournaments for the Bruins, but Jake Knapp played in the Gifford and collected a top-10 finish.
- USC (No. 22): The Trojans best finish came at the Gifford Collegiate Championship at the end of the fall season (second). In the team’s three other tournaments this fall, it recorded only one top-5 finish, at the William H. Tucker Invitational (third). Freshman Rico Hoey won his first collegiate event at the Gifford, while junior Anthony Paolucci finished in second. Another junior, Paul Smith, had a top-10 finish at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. Hoey led the team with a 70.91 scoring average.
- Arizona State (No. 34): The team didn’t finish worse than fifth in five tournaments this fall, but did not collect a win. Sophomore Jon Rahm, No. 62 in the Golfweek rankings, finished inside the top 10 in all five tournaments this fall, picking up where he left off last season. Rahm’s fall included a runner-up finish at the Bill Cullum Invitational. Sophomore Alberto Sanchez picked up a top 10 at his first tournament of the fall at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational and then three more top-25 finishes.
- Oregon State (No. 49): Three third-place finishes highlighted the fall for the Beavers. Junior Alex Franklin led the team in its first two tournaments, including a top-10 at the Kikkor Husky Invitational, and finished inside the top 25 in all four tournaments. Senior David Fink was the runner-up at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational and was the low finisher for the team at the Erin Hills Intercollegiate.
- Oregon (No. 60): The Ducks finished second at the St. Mary’s Invitational and sixth at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational. The team averaged 290.17 throughout the first four tournaments. Freshman Thomas Lim had a scoring average of 71.5 to lead the team during the fall, and added a win at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. Sophomore Brandon McIver and Zach Foushee played in all four tournaments and had scoring averages lower than 74.
- Washington State (No. 70): The Cougars won the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate and tied for first at the Mark Simpson CU Invitational. They also placed second at the Firestone Invitational. Senior Blake Snyder tied for first at the team’s first tournament – the Itani Quality – and finished second at the Mark Simpson Invitational.
- Colorado (No. 83): The Buffs tied for first at its home, Mark Simpson CU Invitational, tournament and finished third at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational for its best finished of the fall season. Freshman Jeremy Paul, sophomore Philip Juel-Berg and junior David Oraee played in all four fall tournaments, while freshman Yannik Paul and sophomore Drew Trujillo played in three tournaments. Juel-Berg and Y. Paul each had top-5 finishes this fall. A very young team in that the Buffs have no seniors on the roster.
- Arizona (No. 153): Best finish was eighth at the Herb Wimberley Intercollegiate. Senior Erik Oja from Sweden finished eighth at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate and ninth at the Wimberley and the William H. Tucker Invitational. Junior Alex McMahon finished tied for third at the Golfweek Conference Challenge.
- Utah (No. 190): Finished fourth at its home event, the Utah Invitational, which highlighted the fall. The top finish of the fall – individual – came from sophomore Jonathan Thomas, who finished fifth at the Utah Invitational. Senior David Engle tied for 10th at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational. The team shot the low final round at the UTEP Price’s Give 'Em Five Invitational.