The difference saving one stroke per round could make for college teams

College Golf Did you ever think what saving one shot per round could mean? USA TODAY Network

The difference saving one stroke per round could make for college teams

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The difference saving one stroke per round could make for college teams

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Ever thought about what saving one shot per round could mean?

In professional golf, one shot per round could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, or it could be the difference in having a job next year. In college golf, that one shot per round, per player could be season-defining.

It may not sound like a lot if it’s just one player, but think about a college team on which four players have their scores count towards the team total each round. That’s four shots per round, and in a 54-hole tournament that’s 12 shots for a tournament.

The results could turn heads.

Even for teams ranked near the top, it can make a big difference.

  • The Clemson men’s team would have improved to No. 3 after finishing the fall ranked 10th.
  • The Arizona women’s team, which played the toughest schedule last fall, would have improved from No. 11 to No. 2.

In men’s golf, a ranking in the 60s or 70s puts a team on the bubble for postseason play. San Jose State is considered a bubble team with a ranking of 63rd after the fall season. The Spartans would climb comfortably into a postseason slot with a ranking of 30th by applying this formula.

“I thought the ranking might even improve more than that,” said San Jose State coach John Kennaday. “It just goes to show you how tight and competitive this game is. We are looking at just saving a quarter of a shot here or there, and over the course of a tournament that might be only two shots.”

The Long Beach State women’s golf team ended the fall season ranked No. 100. Saving one shot per player during the fall would have had the 49ers ranking No. 67 entering the spring, and they would be a bubble team for NCAA regional play.

“It’s important to continue to make good decisions on a golf course, and this shows you how important one stroke actually is,” said Long Beach State women’s coach Joey Cerulle.

Take the Yale men’s golf team, a team that played the 210th-ranked schedule during the fall season. If the Bulldogs saved that one shot per round, they would have gone from No. 102 to 63rd and possibly into NCAA regional play as an at-large bid.

There is constant talk from coaches about playing against top-ranked teams and improving their schedules. There is belief that alone will make all the difference.

But it’s not whom you play, it’s how you play, and saving one shot per round per player can easily be the difference of playing in the postseason or not. Gwk

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