Men's Midweek Report: Cal rolls to 7th victory
Welcome to Golfweek’s Midweek Report. We wanted to use this hump day to update you on all the latest college news and give you a quick glance at what to look ahead to this weekend.
THE BIG 5
Stories you need to know now . . .
1. Cal: The Bears have now won seven of eight starts this season and have started another winning streak. The Bears’ 37-shot victory at the Fresno State Lexus Classic was their second in a row. They won five consecutive starts in the fall. The Bears had the top three finishers at Fresno State.
2. Illinois: A nice eight-shot victory for the No. 20 Illini over 14th-ranked LSU in the Tigers’ home state. Illinois’ win at the Louisiana Classics was its first stroke-play victory of the year. The Illini also won the Big Ten Match Play.
3. North Carolina State: The Wolfpack, No. 79 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, picked up some quality head-to-head wins in their victory at the USF Invitational. N.C. State finished one shot ahead of 40th-ranked South Carolina and three shots ahead of No. 21 Florida State.
4. Auburn: The Tigers, No. 19 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, won the Samford Intercollegiate by 11 shots over No. 36 Vanderbilt. Auburn started the final round five shots behind the Commodores, but shot a tournament-low 286 in the final round. This was Auburn’s second consecutive victory after it also won the Mobile Bay Classic.
5. South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ runner-up at the USF Invitational was the team’s third consecutive top-three finish. The Gamecocks closed the fall with a win at the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic, and opened the spring by finishing third at the Bayou City Classic.
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1. Michael Kim, California: Kim’s six-shot victory at the Fresno State Lexus Classic was his third first-place finish in his past four starts. Kim, No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, has finished in the top-10 in all eight starts this season.
2. Albin Choi, North Carolina State: Choi picked up his fourth win of the season, and third in a row, at the USF Invitational. It was the eighth win of Choi’s career. Choi, No. 15 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, finished three shots ahead of sixth-ranked Daniel Berger of Florida State and South Carolina’s Dykes Harbin.
3. Thomas Pieters, Illinois: A final-round 68 at the Louisiana Classics moved the junior from 20th to fifth place. It was Pieters’ best finish of the year in a team event (he was fourth at the Western Refining College Golf All-America Classic). Pieters, the reigning NCAA champion, is turning pro at season’s end.
4. Brandon Hagy, Cal: Hagy, who won earlier this year at the Alister Mackenzie Invitational, had a tough start to the spring. He finished 57th at the Arizona Intercollegiate and failed to qualify for the lineup at the Amer Ari Invitational. The U.S. Amateur semifinalist finished second at the Fresno State Lexus Classic in his first start back in the lineup.
5. Zach Wright, LSU: The freshman won the individual title at the Louisiana Classics. He’s the fourth Tiger to earn medalist honors this year. Stewart Jolly and Curtis Thompson shared the title at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate, and Andrew Presley won the David Toms Intercollegiate. Wright, who played as an individual, won by three shots and finished seven shots ahead of his closest LSU teammate. Methinks he’ll be in the lineup for the team’s next event.
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THE BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared
1. California: Won, Fresno State Lexus Classic
2. Texas: DNP
3. Alabama: DNP
4. Washington: DNP
5. New Mexico: DNP
How the top 5 individuals in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
1. Brandon Stone, Texas: DNP
2. Joel Stalter, Cal: T-7, Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic
3. Michael Kim, Cal: Won, Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic
4. Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington: DNP
5. Julien Brun, TCU: DNP
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Tournament name (team winner; individual winner)
• Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic (Cal; Michael Kim, Cal)
• USF Invitational (North Carolina State; Albin Choi, N.C. State)
• Louisiana Classics (Illinois; Zach Wright, LSU)
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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
March 7-10, Las Vegas
The field: Alabama, California, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, UNLV, USC
The skinny: One of the strongest fields of the year is gathered at one of the toughest tracks. Only three players broke par last year. UNLV swept the team and individual titles, shooting 8 over as a team while the Rebels’ Blake Biddle won the individual title with a 4-under 212 total.