College golf notebook: Wake Forest tops women's, men's rankings; Arizona State top five

Taylor Britton/ANNIKA Foundation

College golf notebook: Wake Forest tops women's, men's rankings; Arizona State top five

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College golf notebook: Wake Forest tops women's, men's rankings; Arizona State top five

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It’s Wake Forest’s world and we’re all living in it.

While we’re just a few weeks into the 2019-20 college golf season, the Demon Deacons have been dominant in the early stages. Both the women’s team and men’s team are No. 1 in our first college rankings of the season.

Last season’s NCAA runner-up, Wake Forest’s women’s team started the season with a second-place finish at last week’s Cougar Classic behind No. 2 Vanderbilt. They followed that performance with a dominant 14-shot victory this week at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, the strongest field in women’s college golf.

Freshman Rachel Kuehn failed to qualify for the Cougar, then went on to win the ANNIKA wire-to-wire by five shots in her collegiate debut. Because of that, Kuehn sits No. 1 in our women’s collegiate individual rankings.

Golfweek/Sagarin rankings: Women | WGCA | Men
Golfweek/Sagarin: Women’s individual | Men’s individual

On the men’s side, Wake Forest won their season opener last week at Duke’s Rod Myers Invitational. The Demon Deacons turned a six stroke deficit into a three shot win thanks to a final round 7 under on Sept. 15. On his 21st birthday, junior Parker Gillam finished fourth. Senior Eric Bae joined Gillam in the top 10 at T-5, along with sophomore Alex Fitzpatrick and freshman Mark Power who were T-9.

Arizona State is the only other school to have both golf teams in the top five, with the men in third and the women in fifth. More on that later.

Golfweek takes a loop around the country to update you on all the latest news in the college game.

Men

Last season’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Cameron Sisk got his sophomore campaign off to a hot start with the individual title at last week’s Maui Jim Intercollegiate, leading his Sun Devils to the team title as well. That’s five wins in their last nine tournaments for the ASU men, if you’re counting.

The Sun Devils’ lineup will look a little different this week in Dallas at the Trinity Forest Invitational. Chun An Yu, Won Jun Lee and James Leow will all be competing in the Asia-Pacific Amateur in Shanghai, China. The champion will earn an invitation to the 2020 Masters and 149th British Open at Royal St. George’s.

Notre Dame wasn’t in Golfweek’s preseason men’s rankings, but after winning their first two events, John Handrigan’s squad is now No. 5. The Fighting Irish won the Windon Memorial by five shots a week after winning their season-opener at the Badger Invitational by 14.

Ball State cruised to the 11th Golfweek Conference Challenge title this week at Cedar Rapids Country Club, winning by 15 strokes as the only team in the 16-team, 16-conference field in red figures.

Women

The ASU women finished fourth at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, but the big story for the Sun Devils in Minnesota came in Monday’s opening round. Sophomore Alessandra Fanali had the shot of the tournament with an ace on the par-3 16th hole.

Former Arkansas legend Maria Fassi paid a visit to her beloved Razorbacks in Minnesota and was honored with another ANNIKA Award before a Twins game as the top women’s college golfer for the second-consecutive year. Fassi claimed back-to-back ANNIKA Intercollegiate individual tiles in 2016-17 and won last season’s NCAA individual title.

More: Silverstein’s unique approach brings out best in USC

One of the coolest stories of the week also comes from the ANNIKA, courtesy of Duke and their highly-touted freshman. The Blue Devils returned four of five starters, and Erica Shepherd – who was destined for Duke at a young age – seamlessly worked her way into the defending national champions’ lineup. In their season-opener on her first collegiate hole, she made a birdie. But it doesn’t stop there. Shepherd is also head coach Dan Brooks’ first lefty in his 36 years with the program. How crazy is that?

Keep up with all the latest college golf tournaments via our scores page and the Golfstat Live app.

While I’d like to think I’ve got a respectable handicap when it comes to my job, I could always use a good read. There are so many great stories that don’t get enough attention, so if you know of any, I’m all ears. You can find me on Twitter @AdamWoodard or via email at adwoodard@golfweek.com.

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