Weekly top 5: When will college golf see a 59?

Stanford freshman Mariah Stackhouse set a new NCAA women's scoring record with her 10-under 61.

For those of you who are involved with or closely follow college golf, you might be surprised that we have yet to see a sub-60 round at the collegiate level. Equipment, coaching and the players dedicate to the sport have dramatically improved scoring in the last 15 years, and it’s hard to believe someone hasn’t put up 59 on a college scoreboard.

If anything, one might think that somewhere along the way a coach, tournament director or sponsor might have a favorable course setup in order to have the celebrated score posted in their event. Afterall, the headlines and attention that will come with that groundbreaking score at the collegiate level will garner headlines that reach past those that normally cover the college golf scene.

Seven players have posted a round of 60:

  • Southeastern’s Louisiana’s Matthew Carvell (2008 Aldila Scenic City Invitational)
  • Washington’s Zach Bixler (2007 Alister Mackenzie Invitational)
  • Duke’s Michael Schachner (2007 NCAA Championship)
  • BYU’s Daniel Summerhays (2006 Ping/Golfweek Preview)
  • Washington’s Brock Mackenzie (2003 Oregon Duck Invitational)
  • Georgia Tech’s Bryce Molder (2000 Palmetto Dunes Invitational)
  • Arizona State’s Paul Casey (1999 Pac-10 Championship)

Which leads me to this week’s top 5…

1. Stanford’s Mariah Stackhouse was on a path to the land below 60 last weekend at the Peg Barnard Invitational. Stackhouse, a freshman, found herself at 10-under par after 12 holes on the par-71, 6,084-yard layout at the Stanford Golf Course. However, bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14 derailed her effort to go where no college golfer has gone before. Not all was lost as Stackhouse’s 10-under 61 set an NCAA 18-hole record in the women’s game. Duke’s Liz Janangelo posted a 9-under 62 in 2004. Three players have posted 9-under 63: Pepperdine’s Grace Na and Katherine Hull and Arkansas’ Emily Tubert.

2. I could list a dozen or more players when talking about the player of the year in men’s college golf. One name that seems to be lost in the conversation is North Carolina State junior Albin Choi. Choi won his seventh college title last week in Puerto Rico to pass Tim Clark on the all-time individual victory list at North Carolina State. Choi remains three victories short of Matt Hill’s record of 10. Choi has three victories in six starts this year and has a scoring average of 70.17. He is a cumulative 33-under par in those starts.

3. Ryan Hybl has made an impact in his short time guiding the Oklahoma Sooner men’s golf program. However, at the conclusion of the fall season, more might have been expected. The Sooners had just one player finish better than sixth place last fall, but after a victory at the UTSA/Oak Hills Invitational to start the spring and then a second-place showing in Puerto Rico, the Sooners are climbing.

4. There are several hurdles to clear along the way if a team wants to win a national championship. One of those hurdles is finding a way to finish inside the top eight after 54 holes of stroke play qualifying. My prediction for the top 8 at this point in the season: California, Washington, New Mexico, Alabama, TCU, SMU, USC and UCLA

5. It’s not too early to talk about the magic number yet, is it? Of course not. While a lot of attention is placed on the top teams and top individuals, there also is considerable focus a little further down for those teams trying to stay on the right side of the bubble. The men’s number has averaged very near the No. 70 mark in the rankings and the women’s number has been near No. 61 the last couple of years.

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