Notebook: Simsby gets a look at life without golf

Washington's Trevor Simsby on Friday at the Southwest Regional Championship at Jimmie Austin Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma. Washington is in first place after Round 2.

Washington's Trevor Simsby on Friday at the Southwest Regional Championship at Jimmie Austin Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma. Washington is in first place after Round 2.

Men's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Joey GarberGeorgia  68.61 
2Robby SheltonAlabama  68.62 
3Patrick RodgersStanford  68.67 
4Ollie SchniederjansGA Tech  68.81 
5Cameron WilsonStanford  69.05 

Men's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Alabama 68.92 
2Georgia 69.62 
3Georgia Tech 69.62 
4Oklahoma State 69.72  10 
5California 69.81  11 

Nothing like getting a real job to inspire one’s golf game. Washington junior Trevor Simsby didn’t play many tournaments this past summer. He worked as a door-to-door salesman for his stepbrother’s window-and-door company instead. A summer of off-course labor helped him become one of the nation’s top players.

“Working this summer made me realize the other side of what life can be like without golf,” said Simsby, No. 17 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. “We’re really privileged in college. We get to play golf and go to school. It’s not that hard. I got a taste of what it could be like if I don’t choose golf, and it didn’t sit well with me.”

Simsby, a junior from Carlsbad, Calif., was 420th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings as a freshman. He improved to 114th last season.

Now he’s a big reason why Washington checks in at No. 5 in the most recent Golfweek team rankings. The Huskies knew they possessed a strong 1-2 punch in Chris Williams and Cheng-Tsung Pan. Williams is No. 1 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking. Pan ended the fall season ranked first in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

Simsby has been a strong complement to those stars. He had four top-5s in his first five starts this year, including a win and two runners-up. “We’ve always thought Trevor had big potential,” Washington head coach Matt Thurmond said. “He has a lot of toughness in him, but frankly I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player improve as fast as Trevor has.”

Simsby said he played just three tournaments last summer: the Sahalee Players Championship, a U.S. Amateur qualifier and the Canadian Amateur. He finished eighth at the Canadian Amateur, a showing that gave him confidence entering this season.

“I really didn’t practice much before that tournament, but I felt like I played pretty well,” Simsby said. “It let me know that my game doesn’t need to be perfect to play well.”

He’s playing well enough now to consider playing golf for a profession instead of getting a “real” job. “I’ve just tried to see myself at the top of the college golf rankings, and hopefully playing professionally,” he said.

He no longer has to imagine being one of college golf’s top players. He is.

• • •

Augusta State is rallying to get its head-to-head record above .500 and return to the postseason. The 2010 and 2011 NCAA champions have won their past two starts, the Forest Hills Intercollegiate and Cleveland Golf/Palmetto Intercollegiate.

After going 25-0-0 in those two events, the Jaguars sit at 47-54-2. They have two events remaining to get above .500: the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate and their own Insperity Augusta State Invitational.

Augusta State, which entered the Palmetto at No. 59 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, does not have a conference, so it must rely on an at-large bid to make the postseason. Teams must own a .500-or-better record to be eligible for such bids, which usually go to teams ranked in the top 80.

Augusta State has been in a similar position before. The Jaguars were under .500 entering last year’s Augusta State Invitational. The hosts, who ended the season ranked 44th in the nation, tied No. 1 Texas for first place before losing in a playoff to the eventual NCAA champion.

• • •

Abilene Christian’s Alex Carpenter shot a course-record 63 Tuesday at Mission Viejo (Calif.) Country Club to win the Southern California Intercollegiate. It was his 18th career title, and second in a row. Carpenter shot 72-72-63 to win by nine shots over Cal State-Monterey Bay’s Jered Stone. Carpenter, the 2010 Southern Amateur champion, was the 2011 Jack Nicklaus Award winner as Division II’s top player.

• • •

U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox will play in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour. It’s one of the perks of being the U.S. Amateur champion. Fox, a senior at Chattanooga, also is scheduled to play the April 4 Georgia Cup, a match between the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur champions, then the Masters. Fox already has played one PGA Tour event thanks to his U.S. Amateur victory. He shot 70-78 and missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Former Dartmouth player Peter Williamson also is scheduled to be in the Arnold Palmer field by virtue of his win at last year’s Southern Amateur.

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