College Review: Rahm powers ASU to 3rd title in a row

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 19, 2015, 5:02 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll review the main storylines in college golf. 

Biggest takeaway: Arizona State is not a one-man show

The Sun Devils’ 3-for-3 start this spring has many observers wondering just how far this team can go. ASU was No. 16 in Golfstat’s latest rankings, and it will only continue to rise after its four-shot win Wednesday at PGA West, which came against a top-notch field that included Oklahoma State, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington and Oregon.

By now everyone knows frontman Jon Rahm – the 6-foot-3-inch, ball-mashing junior who recently tied for fifth at the Phoenix Open. (He was T-2 at the Prestige.) But this supporting cast deserves some credit, too. Max Rottluff (T-4) has six top 10s and no finish worse than 19th, while Nicolo Galletti recorded yet another top 25, his third in his last four starts. Coach Tim Mickelson has sent out three different lineups this spring, and each time they’ve returned to campus with a W. “This team is really deep,” he said.

Team of the week: South Florida

The Bulls scored a huge victory earlier this week at the Gator Invitational, knocking off top-5 teams Florida State and Vanderbilt en route to their second team title of the season. Junior Chase Koepka (T-4, pictured) gets much of the attention because of his consistently strong play and his PGA Tour brother, Brooks, but it was a total team effort that led to this win; freshman Claudio Correa earned medalist honors and Trey Valentine racked up a T-11 finish. There is added motivation this year for the 13th-ranked Bulls, who this spring are hosting both the men's and women's NCAA Championship. Host site Concession Golf Club is about an hour from USF's Tampa campus, so this group wants to make sure it is part of the 30-team field. 

Player of the week: Maverick McNealy, Stanford 

The Cardinal sophomore bolstered his Player of the Year candidacy with his third victory of the season Wednesday at The Prestige. McNealy, already No. 4 in Golfstat's rankings, closed with an 8-under 64 to shoot 15-under 201 and capture medalist honors by four shots. The only other players in school history to win at least three times in a season: Tiger Woods, Patrick Rodgers, Zach Miller and Joel Kribel. McNealy’s 64 fueled Stanford’s final-round, 20-under 268, which tied the lowest round in program history. The Cardinal finished second in the team race at PGA West.

Biggest disappointment: Oregon

Yes, the Ducks were missing No. 1 man Brandon McIver – he played in the Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase at Riviera – but they still finished 13th in the 14-team field at PGA West. (USC and UCLA struggled without their top players, as well.) Head coach Casey Martin called it a “disaster,” and for good reason. No Oregon player finished under par for the 54-hole event or inside the top 30 on the leaderboard. Keep in mind the Ducks were a top-three program coming out of the fall, after wins in each of their first four events.

At least the whole week wasn’t a bust: Martin and two amateurs won the best-ball portion of the Collegiate Showcase competition, earning a $50,000 donation to the program.

Keep an eye on: Oklahoma State’s Kristoffer Ventura

The Cowboys were the preseason No. 1 on the strength of players such as Wyndham Clark, Jordan Niebrugge and Zach Olsen, who led OSU to the NCAA finals a year ago. Turns out this year’s difference-maker might be Ventura, a freshman, whose ninth-place finish at PGA West was his fourth top 15 in as many starts. The Norwegian has loads of match-play experience from his junior days and clearly has transitioned well to the college game. Now, it is Ventura’s more heralded teammates who must pick up the slack.

What you may have missed: One of the best stories in college golf is what’s happening with the Furman women’s team. Earlier this week the Paladins shot the best round in program history (281) to steal the Florida State Match-Up, which featured No. 1 South Carolina and ninth-ranked Mississippi State. It was Furman’s third win of the season – remarkable, because prior to this year the Paladins hadn’t won a team title since 2009. The last time they won three in a single season: 1987, when they finished one shot shy of the NCAA title. ... If you missed my long feature on Illinois' rise to No. 1, you can find it here

And finally, this week's College Central, where we discuss Wake Forest freshman Will Zalatoris' spot start at Riviera . . .

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.