Spring preview 2019: Pac-12

Justin Suh (left) and Head Coach Chris Zambri make up part of a USC crew that may live up to its preseason No. 1 ranking after all.

Spring preview 2019: Pac-12

College

Spring preview 2019: Pac-12

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As the college golf season gets ready to resume, Golfweek will preview each automatic-qualifier conference in Division I, offering picks to win, midseason All-Conference teams and more.

All of our conference previews will reside here.

Next up: Pac-12
• • •

Men

Conference championship: April 22-24, Eugene (Ore.) CC

Defending champion: USC

Team rankings: USC (4), Arizona State (15), California (16), Stanford (28), UCLA (41), Oregon (42), Utah (60), Arizona (64), Washington (73), Oregon State (74), Colorado (81), Washington State (135)

Midseason All-Conference team: Collin Morikawa, California (3); Justin Suh, USC (5); Chun An Yu, Arizona State (7); Kaito Onishi, USC (14); Brandon Wu, Stanford (37)

What to expect: The Trojans earned a 2018 victory at Pac-12s, only to flame out at regionals. This squad is deeper, though. Justin Suh is still dominant, but he’s now joined by three other top-100 players a season after he was the only USC player ranked in the top 200. Cal has the conference’s highest-ranked player in Collin Morikawa and I expect the Bears, like the Trojans, will not surprisingly fall short at regionals for a second straight year. Also keep an eye on Oregon here. The Ducks are on home soil for Pac-12s, and they used this advantage to perfection in 2016 in winning a home NCAA Championship. Still, it makes the most sense to go with a formidable and more balanced USC squad.

Pick to win: USC

• • •

Women

Conference championship: April 15-17, Palos Verdes (Calif.) GC

Defending champion: UCLA

Team rankings: USC (1), Stanford (5), UCLA (8), Arizona State (10), Arizona (11), Washington (17), Oregon State (26), California (33), Colorado (36), Oregon (37), Washington State (73)

Midseason All-Conference team: Patty Tavatanakit, UCLA (1); Albane Valenzuela, Stanford (2); Andrea Lee, Stanford (4); Mariel Galdiano, UCLA (6); Malia Nam, USC (9)

What to expect: If you want individual star power, this conference has it in loads with five of the top eight players in the country (Malia Nam is ranked ninth right now but will bump up a spot when the rankings reflect that No. 7 Lauren Stephenson has turned pro). But it’s a collective of fierce players that pace top-ranked USC. The Trojans only have one player in the top 20, but they boast six in the top 120. USC (2016) and rival UCLA (’17, ’18) have taken the last three Pac-12 titles, but a Bruins three-peat doesn’t seem incredibly likely. While UCLA is ranked a respectable eighth, the program will lose 13th-ranked Lilia Vu ahead of the spring as she turns pro. Stanford, Arizona State and defending national champion Arizona should all be significant threats at Pac-12s. But while USC had legendary head coach Andrea Gaston depart for Texas A&M in the offseason, a young Trojans squad has flourished under first-year head coach Justin Silverstein (a former men’s and women’s assistant at USC). That should continue deep into the spring.

Pick to win: USC

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