Midweek Report: Thomas, Alabama roll along
Welcome to Golfweek’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.
THE BIG 5
Stories you need to know now . . .
1. Alabama: The No. 2 Crimson Tide has won two of three starts this spring after claiming the Schenkel Invitational, and finished second at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. Alabama’s runner-up was to No. 1 Cal. The question, of course, is can Alabama beat Cal come the NCAA Championship. Alabama beat Cal in last year’s semifinals.
2. New Mexico: The Lobos, No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, won their third title at the Don Puckette NIT. It’s their most wins in a single season since they won four in 2004-05. The Lobos overcame a six-stroke deficit to win the Don Puckette National Invitational Tournament by one stroke over eighth-ranked TCU.
3. Florida State: No. 20 Florida State has won twice in three spring starts after claiming its own Seminole Intercollegiate, and finished no worse than third.
4. Houston: The No. 31 Cougars’ win at the Border Olympics was their second of the season. This is the first time they’ve won multiple titles since 2005-06.
5. Indiana: The No. 56 Hoosiers got a well-timed win at the 18-team Mission Inn Spring Spectacular. It was Indiana’s second win of the season, but they entered the event with a 44-46-2 record. Teams must have a .500 or better record to be eligible for an at-large bid.
1. Justin Thomas, Alabama: Justin Thomas bounced back from the worst finish of his college career to record his second victory of the season and re-insert himself in the Haskins Award conversation. Thomas had finished 39th at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters before claiming the Schenkel Invitational. The victory was Thomas’ sixth in 20 collegiate starts. He is trying to become the first player since Phil Mickelson to win the Haskins Award in consecutive season.
2. Julien Brun, TCU: Brun won his third title of the season at the Don Puckette NIT, matching his own single-season school wins record. His six career wins are three more than any other golfer has recorded while playing for TCU.
3. Daniel Berger, Florida State: The sophomore bolstered his player-of-the-year candidacy with a victory at his home event, the Seminole Intercollegiate. Berger, who entered the event at No. 5 in Golfweek’s rankings, was the highest-ranked player in the field, leading his coach, Jeff Leishman, to tweet, “The toughest battles are the ones you're expected to win.” Berger has finished no worse than fifth in his past five starts, including two victories and two runners-up.
4. Cory Whitsett, Alabama: Whitsett has finished in the top-7 in all four spring starts after his seventh place finish at the Schenkel Invitational. He has a T-1 at Southern Highlands and runner-up in Puerto Rico during that span.
5. Sean Dale, North Florida: The Ospreys have to be happy to have Dale back. The Jones Cup champion has finished in the top-5 in all three starts this spring, including a runner-up at the John Hayt Invitational and third-place finish at the Schenkel Invitational.
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THE BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared
1. California: DNP
2. Alabama: Won, Schenkel Invitational
3. New Mexico: Won, Don Puckette NIT
4. Texas: 2nd, Schenkel Invitational
5. Washington: DNP
How the top 5 individuals in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
1. Michael Kim, California: DNP
2. Joel Stalter, California: DNP
3. Brandon Stone, Texas: 2nd, Schenkel Invitational
4. Julien Brun, TCU: Won, Don Puckette NIT
5. Daniel Berger, Florida State: Won, Seminole Intercollegiate
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Tournament name (team winner; individual winner)
Don Puckette NIT (New Mexico; Julien Brun, TCU)
Seminole Intercollegiate (Florida State; Daniel Berger, TCU)
Schenkel Invitational (Alabama; Justin Thomas, Alabama)
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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Linger Longer Invitational
Great Waters Golf Course
The field: Alabama, Charlotte, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Mercer, Michigan State, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, South Florida
The skinny: Led by No. 2 Alabama, the depth of this field could allow some teams to get some quality head-to-head victories.