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.
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THE BIG 5
Stories you need to know
1. USC: If there is a theme to the Trojans’ season, it’s that when the stakes are high, USC delivers. The Allstate Sugar Bowl (at English Turn GC in New Orleans) is the second USC victory this year, after the Stanford Invitational in the fall. In other words, USC has won in two of the toughest fields yet this year. In New Orleans, USC had to beat UCLA in a sudden-death playoff after finishing 36 holes of regulation (the second round was canceled because of weather) at 4-over 580.
2. UCLA: Nearly won its second consecutive event of the spring, but lost to USC in sudden death. While Erynne Lee and Tiffany Lua might be the players you would expect to go low for the Bruins, Lee Lopez was the low UCLA player in New Orleans. Lopez has been an unwavering force for the Bruins throughout her three years on the roster. She finished T-2 at 2-under 142.
3. Tulane: Give the Green Wave credit for putting up one heck of a fight in their backyard. As the host of the Sugar Bowl, Tulane drew in the top teams from the East Coast, West Coast and everywhere in between, then demonstrated how to play through the stormy and windy conditions that plagued the event. Tulane led after Round 1 but fell to fourth after 36 holes, finishing behind USC, UCLA and Duke.
4. Texas Tech: The Raiders won their second team title of the season at the Westbrook Spring Invitational, thanks in large part to top-ranked Kim Kaufman. The senior shot a final-round 6-under 66 that included five birdies in the final nine holes. Texas Tech’s final-round 11-under 277 sets a new scoring record for this program. Texas Tech ended the fall ranked No. 20 by Golfweek, and before the Westbrook victory had climbed to No. 13. A top-10 ranking could be just around the corner.
5. Stanford: After winning its own Peg Barnard Invitational on Feb. 17, Stanford came back with a victory at the Cal Classic. The Cardinal won’t stray far from home in its next start, the Juli Inkster Spartan Invitation in San Jose, Calif., and a third consecutive win would have a nice ring to it.
1. Alice Kim, Gonzaga: By winning the UC Irvine Invitational, the Gonzaga sophomore earned a sponsor exemption into the LPGA’s Kia Classic, to be played March 21-24. Too bad more college events don’t offer such cool perks.
2. Hayley Davis, Baylor: Davis’ first collegiate victory was a significant one. The sophomore birdied the final three holes at the Allstate Sugar Bowl to win by two shots. That’s especially impressive considering the gusting wind the field had to play through in the final round.
3. Sophia Popov, USC: Popov easily gets the award for most clutch player this week. She holed a 7-foot birdie putt on the first hole of Sugar Bowl sudden death. As an individual, Popov tied for second.
4. Noemi Jiminez, Arizona State: Jiminez, a sophomore, won her first collegiate title at the Cal Classic. A stat worth noting: Jiminez is the 78th individual medalist for Arizona State since 1982.
5. North Carolina State players: The Wolfpack won the Sir Pizza Terrapin Challenge after sweeping the top three spots on the individual leaderboard. Lindsay McGetrick won medalist honors at 4-under 212 for 54 holes. Brittany Marchand was one shot behind that and Augusta James was another shot back.
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BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared
1. USC: Won, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate
2. Alabama: T-7, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate
3. Duke: third, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate
4. Oklahoma: DNP
5. Florida: T-10, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate
How the top 5 individuals in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared
1. Kimberly Kaufman, Texas Tech: T-2, Westbrook Invitational
2. Kelsey Vines, Oklahoma State: T-2, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate
3. Erynne Lee, UCLA: T-35, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate
4. Mariah Stackhouse, Stanford: T-6, Cal Classic
5. Kyung Kim, USC: T-20, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate
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Tournament (team champion; individual winner)
Cal Classic (Stanford; Noemi Jiminez, Arizona State)
UC Irvine Invitational (Gonzaga; Alice Kim, Gonzaga)
Allstate Sugar Bowl (USC; Hayley Davis, Baylor)
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THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
March 4-5, El Caballero CC, Tarzana, Calif.
The field: Pepperdine, UCLA, Arizona, BYU, Denver, Hawaii, Long Beach State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, San Diego State, UNLV, USC, Washington State
The skinny: USC and UCLA had to play it off in New Orleans this week, and USC earned the title. They’ll get another chance to go head-to-head this week. Pepperdine and Arizona also will be factors.
Juli Inkster Spartan Invite
March 4-5, Almaden G&CC, San Jose, Calif.
The field: California, Colorado State, Fresno State, Idaho, Kansas State, N.C. State, Oregon, San Francisco, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Stanford, UC Davis, UC Irvine, Washington
The skinny: N.C. State and Stanford enter this tournament with arguably the most momentum after victories this week, but it would be an excellent opportunity for Washington, No. 1 in the fall, to get something going for the spring.