NCAA Conference Championships: Men and Women

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 1, 2013, 7:18 pm

The countdown to the NCAA Championship has begun.

Below is a list of the conference champions on the men’s and women’s side, and their respective team and individual winners:

MEN

ACC

Team: Duke

Individual: Anders Albertson, Georgia Tech

The Blue Devils erased a three-shot deficit late on the back nine to capture their first conference title since 2005. Albertson carded a 4-under 68 – the low round of the day – to claim his first college title and finish at a tournament-record 15-under 201, good for a five-shot victory. 

ATLANTIC 10

Team: Charlotte

Individual: Raoul Menard, Charlotte

The 49ers posted a seven-shot victory to capture their seventh league title in the past eight years. Menard, a sophomore, became eighth player in conference history to win two individual titles.

ATLANTIC SUN

Team: North Florida

Individual: M.J. Maguire, North Florida

The Ospreys went back-to-back to win conference titles, winning by 14 strokes over East Tennessee State. Maguire, a sophomore, became the first UNF player to win the league championship.

BIG 12

Team: Texas

Individual: Brandon Stone, Texas

The defending NCAA champions claimed their first conference title since 2004, sweeping both the team and individual titles. Stone, a Hogan Award semifinalist as only a freshman, became the fourth Longhorn to win the conference title. It was his third win of the season. 

BIG EAST

Team: South Florida

Individual: Cincinnati’s David Tepe

The Bulls won the conference title for the first time in program history, finishing four shots ahead of St. John’s. They were led by freshman Chase Koepka, who shot 7-under 209 and finished a shot behind Tepe for medalist honors.

BIG SOUTH

Team: Coastal Carolina

Individual: Mathieu Fenasse, Liberty 

The Chanticleers narrowly won their first team title in three years, clipping Liberty by two shots. Fenasse’s final-round 66 meant that Liberty had the low finisher for the fourth consecutive year.

BIG TEN

Team: Illinois

Individual: Thomas Pieters 

It’s the fifth consecutive title for the Illini, as they finished nine shots ahead of Minnesota. This victory was punctuated by Pieters’ dominating five-shot victory in the individual race.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC

Team: UNC-Wilmington

Individual: Payne McLeod, UNC-Wilmington 

The Seahawks won their third title in a row with a 24-stroke victory over James Madison. It was McLeod’s second career title and first conference championship.

CONFERENCE USA

Team: Houston

Individual: Roman Robledo, Houston

The Cougars captured their first conference title since 2001, when they clipped SMU by three shots. Robledo made a 30-footer on the final hole to finish one shot ahead on the individual race.

HORIZON LEAGUE

Team: Valparaiso

Individual: Thomas Wettstein, Valparaiso

The Crusaders punched their ticket to the postseason for the first time in program history, beating Cleveland State by four strokes. Wettsein, who transferred from Xavier, shot 70 in the final round to win by four shots.

IVY LEAGUE

Team: Princeton

Individual: Greg Jarmas, Princeton

It was the first league title since 2006 for the Tigers, who finished five shots ahead of Yale. Jarmas was three shots clear of Penn’s Max Marsico to become Princeton’s first individual medalist since 2005.

MAAC

Team: Loyola (Md.)

Individual: Steve Burak, Fairfield

The Greyhounds erased a 10-shot deficit on the final day to win its sixth consecutive team title. They edged Iona by a shot. Burak, meanwhile, became Fairfield’s first medalist in 16 years.

OHIO VALLEY

Team: Austin Peay State

Individual: Patrick Newcomb, Murray State

The Governors won the rain-shortened event by nine shots over Jacksonville State, their first conference title since 2009. Newcomb’s 139 total was one shot ahead of Tennesee-Martin’s Brendon Caballero.

PATRIOT LEAGUE

Team: Lehigh

Individual: Chris House, Navy

The Mountain Hawks held off Navy to capture the first league title since 1997. House won the individual championship with rounds of 74-72-73.

SEC

Team: Alabama

Individual: Sebastian Cappelen, Arkansas

The Crimson Tide rolled despite a challenging final round in which the wind gusted up to 30 mph. They finished at 8-over 848, two shots clear of South Carolina. Cappelen closed with 66 to become the first Arkansas player since 1995 to win the conference title.

SOUTHERN

Team: Chattanooga

Individual: Josh Lorenzetti, College of Charleston

The Mocs won their second straight and fifth in the last seven years by beating Davidson by two shots. Lorenzetti made birdie on 17 and par on 18 and finished two shots ahead.

SOUTHLAND

Team: Southeastern Louisiana

Individual: Rhys West, Southeastern Louisiana

The Lions pulled away from the field in the final round, finishing 13 shots ahead of Central Arkansas for their fourth title since 1998. West flipped a one-shot deficit into a two-shot win to earn his first career victory.

WEST COAST

Team: St. Mary’s

Individual: Grant Forest, San Diego

The Gaels became the first team to punch its ticket to the postseason, finishing two shots clear of Gonzaga for their second consecutive title. Forest won the individual title with a 6-under 210. He also captured the Scottish Amateur last summer.


WOMEN

ACC

Team: Duke

Individual: Brittany Altomare, Virginia

The Blue Devils rolled the field at Sedgefield Country Club, racking up a 24-stroke victory over N.C. State. Altomare won by two strokes and became the first Virginia player to capture the title.

ATLANTIC SUN

Team: East Tennessee State

Individual: Ines Lescudier, Kennesaw State 

The Buccaneers won the conference title for the second time in program history, finishing six shots ahead of Kennesaw State. Lescudier shot a sterling 66 in the final round to win the individual title by four shots.

BIG 12

Team: Oklahoma State

Individual: Lauren Taylor, Baylor

The Cowgirls clinched their conference title for the first time since 2009 with a two-stroke victory over Baylor. Taylor’s 3-under 213 was enough to win the individual title by a whopping eight shots. 

BIG EAST

Team: Notre Dame

Individual: Lindsey Weaver and Talia Campbell, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish won their third conference title in the past six years, and making this victory sweeter was that Weaver and Campbell shared medalist honors at 6-under 210.

BIG SOUTH

Team: Coastal Carolina

Individual: Brittany Henderson, Coastal Carolina

The Chanticleers shot a 54-hole tournament record of 16-over 880 to win their third conference title in the past five years. Henderson went back-to-back in winning the individual championship, finishing one shot ahead at 3-over 219.

BIG TEN 

Team: Northwestern, Purdue

Individual: Paula Reto, Purdue

Purdue and Northwestern shared the Big Ten title at 884, after the teams agreed to be co-champions. Reto, meanwhile, became the sixth consecutive Purdue player to earn medalist honors in the individual race.

BIG WEST

Team: UC Davis

Individual: Demi Runas, UC Davis

The Aggies captured their fourth consecutive conference title in dominating fashion, finishing 29 shot ahead of Long Beach State. UC Davis players finished 1-2-3-4 on the leaderboard, led by Runas, who finished at 1 under to capture her first title.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC

Team: James Madison

Individual: Shabrill Brewer, James Madison 

It was the first league crown since 2005 for the Dukes, who finished eight shots ahead of UNC-Wilmington. Brewer, a sophomore, earned her first victory by capturing the individual title, by five shots.

CONFERENCE USA

Team: Tulane

Individual: Nico Engstroem Skuag, East Carolina

It’s the third conference title in the last five years for the Green Wave, who posted a 27-stroke victory over East Carolina. Skuag emerged from a three-man playoff to earn individual honors.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Team: UNLV

Individual: Manon DeRoey, New Mexico 

The Rebels captured their first conference title 2006 with a 12-stroke victory over Boise State. DeRoey won medalist honors for the first time after beating UNLV’s Demi Mak in a playoff.

PAC-12

Team: USC

Individual: Annie Park, USC

The Trojans steamrolled Washington by 24 strokes to capture their fifth consecutive conference title. Park became USC’s third consecutive freshman to earn medalist honors, edging teammate Sophia Popov by two strokes.  

PATRIOT LEAGUE

Team: Lehigh

Individual: Chelsea Michalek, Lehigh 

The Mountain Hawks won the inaugural conference title by three shots over Bucknell. Michalek finished at 17-over 227 to win by five shots.

SEC

Team: Alabama

Individual: Stephanie Meadow, Alabama

The Crimson Tide pulled away in the final round for a 14-stroke victory over Georgia. Meadow became the first Alabama player to win the conference title. It was her sixth career victory, extending her own school record.

SOUTHERN

Team: Chattanooga

Individual: Agathe Sauzon, Chattanooga 

The Mocs won wire-to-wire to capture their fourth league title in a row. Sauzon won the individual title in a playoff, hitting a wedge shot to kick-in range for her first college win. 

SOUTHLAND

Team: Lamar

Individual: Shelby Hardy, Sam Houston State 

The Cardinals erased a four-shot deficit in the final round to win their first conference title since 2006. Hardy ran away with a six-stroke victory in the individual race, finishing with a tournament-record 4-under 212.

SUMMIT

Team: North Dakota State

Individual: Amy Anderson, North Dakota State

NDSU won its first conference title in school history, while Anderson became the league’s first three-time individual champion. It was the first time in Summit League history that a team other than Oral Roberts won the team title.

SUN BELT

Team: Florida International

Individual: Meghan MacLaren, Florida International 

The Panthers captured their first conference title in impressive fashion, winning by 16 shots over Middle Tennessee. MacLaren became FIU’s first individual winner, finishing two shots clear of Middle Tennessee’s Olivia Love.

WEST COAST

Team: Pepperdine

Individual: Grace Na (Pepperdine)

The Waves have now won 12 consecutive titles and 15 of the 17 league tournaments ever contested. This time, they were 17 shots ahead of Gonzaga. Na shot 3-under 213 for a two-stroke victory and a second conference title (2011).

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Europeans out to end the recent American dominance

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 12:59 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In golf’s biggest events, the Americans have left the rest of the world feeling red, white and mostly blue.

If you’re wondering whether the U.S. currently holds a meaningful title, the answer is probably yes.

Golf’s four majors? Yep.

The Ryder Cup? Indeed.

The No. 1 player in the world? Absolutely.

The Presidents, Solheim, Walker, Palmer and Curtis Cups? Uh-huh.

It’s been a popular talking point at the men’s majors, as Europe’s finest players have been peppered about why they’ve all seemingly fallen under Uncle Sam’s spell.

After all, the Americans haven’t ripped off five major wins in a row like this since 1981-82 – when Justin Rose was still in diapers.

“I don’t know what I’d put it to down to,” the Englishman said Tuesday, “other than the American boys in the world rankings and on the golf course are performing really, really well. The top end of American golf right now is incredibly strong.”

Since 2000, the Americans have taken titles at eight of the nine courses on the modern Open rota. The only one they’ve yet to conquer is Carnoustie, and that’s probably because they’ve only had one crack at it, in 2007, when an Irishman, Padraig Harrington, prevailed in a playoff.

Not since Tom Watson in 1975 has a U.S. player survived Carnoustie, arguably the most difficult links on the planet. But Americans ranging from Dustin Johnson to Tiger Woods comprise six of the oddsmakers' top 10 favorites, all listed at 25/1 or better.

“America, there’s no doubt about it, and there’s no other way to put it, other than they have an exceptional bunch of players at the moment,” Tommy Fleetwood said. “It just so happens that it has been a run of American golfers that have won majors, but at the same time, they’ve generally been the best players in the world at the time that they’ve won them.

“You don’t really look at them as a nationality. You just look at them as players and people, and you can understand why they’re the ones winning the majors.”

Indeed, there’s not a fluke among them.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Since this American run began last summer at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka (twice), Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed have hoisted trophies. All were inside the top 25 in the world when they won. All were multiple-time winners on the world stage before that major. And all, most ominously for Europe, were 29 or younger.

“There’s a bit of camaraderie amongst all of them,” Rose said. “I know Brooks and Dustin are incredibly close, and you’ve got Rickie (Fowler) and Justin Thomas and Jordan as a group are all really close. It’s working really well for them. They’re spurring each other on.”

That’s why there’s even more anticipation than usual for the Ryder Cup. The Americans haven’t won on foreign soil in a quarter century, but this band of brothers is better and closer than those who have tried and failed before them. Couple that with a few aging stars on the European side, and there’s a growing sense that the Americans could be on the verge of a dominant stretch.

That should sound familiar.

During an eight-major span in 2010-11, the most common refrain was: What’s Wrong with American Golf? International players captured seven consecutive majors, including six in a row at one point. They took over the top spot in the world rankings. They turned the Ryder Cup into a foregone conclusion. In the fall of 2010, Colin Montgomerie pounded his chest and declared that there’d been a “changing of the guard over to Europe,” and it was hard to find fault in his reasoning.

“European golf was very healthy a few years ago for a long time,” McIlroy said. “It seemed like every major someone from the island of Ireland turned up to, we were winning it. It doesn’t seem that long ago.”

Because it wasn’t.

So even though it’s been more than a year since an International player held any title of consequence, these types of runs are cyclical, and Europe in particular has no shortage of contenders.

Major drought or not, McIlroy is a threat every time he tees it up. Rose turns 38 in two weeks, but he’s playing arguably the best golf of his career, recording a top-10 finish in a ridiculous 17 of his past 21 starts. Fleetwood is fresh off a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, where he closed with 63. Jon Rahm is a top-5 machine. Alex Noren just won on the Ryder Cup course in France.

“I think Tommy, clearly, showed how close the Europeans are to challenging that dominance as well,” Rose said. “So it’s not like we’re a mile behind. It’s just that they’re on a great run right now, and there’s no reason why a European player shouldn’t come through this week.”

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Links to the past: Tiger's return revives Open memories

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 12:51 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods rekindles his love affair with links golf this week at Carnoustie, which seems about right considering his introduction to the ancient ways of the game began here on the Angus coast.

It was here on the most brutal of the Open Championship rota courses that a 19-year-old Tiger first played links golf at the 1995 Scottish Open, an eye-opening and enlightening experience.

“I remember my dad on the range with me, saying, ‘Are you ever going to hit the ball past the 100 yard sign?’” Woods recalled on Tuesday at Carnoustie, his first start at The Open since 2015. “I said, ‘No, I'm just enjoying this. Are you kidding me? This is the best.’”

During this most recent comeback, Tiger has been all smiles. A new, relaxed version of his former self made calm and approachable by age and the somber influence of injury. But this week has been different.

During a practice round with Justin Thomas on Monday he laughed his way all the way around the brown and bouncy seaside layout. Much of that had to do with his return to the unique ways of links golf, the creative left side of his brain taking the wheel from the normally measured right side for one glorious week.

He talked of game plans and strategic advantages on a parched pitch that has seen drives rolling out over 400 yards. At his core, Tiger is a golf nerd for all the right reasons and this kind of cerebral test brings out the best of that off-the-charts golf IQ.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Although there are no shortages of defining moments in Tiger’s career and one can make all sorts of arguments for what would be his seminal moment – from the 1997 Masters to the 2008 U.S. Open –the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool stands out, based on near-perfect execution.

In ’06 at Liverpool, which played to a similar shade of dusty yellow as Carnoustie will this week, Tiger hit just a single driver, opting instead for a steady diet of long irons off tees. For the week he hit 48 of 56 fairways, 58 of 72 greens and rolled the field for a two-stroke victory and his third, and most recent, claret jug.

This Open has all the makings of a similar tactical tour de force. For this championship he’s put a new 2-iron into play that’s more like a strong 1-iron (17 degrees) and imagines, given the conditions, a similar low, running menu.

“It could be that way,” Woods said when asked the similarities between this week’s conditions and the ’06 championship. “I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees, just because I hit a 3-iron on Monday, down 18, I went 333 [yards]. It can get quick out here.”

If Tiger ever needed a major championship confidence boost the Carnoustie Open would be it, an inspiring walk down memory lane to a time when he was the undisputed king of golf.

“[The ’06 Open] is the closest you can compare to this,” David Duval said. “But I struggle to remember that golf course being as fast as this one. It was close, but this one is something else.”

Ernie Els had a slightly different take, albeit one that was no less ominous to the rest of the field this week.

“Liverpool is on a sand hill, this has a bit more run to it,” Els said. “But it’s got the same feel. It’s almost like St. Andrews was in 2000. Very, very fast.”

It’s worth noting that Tiger also won that ’00 Open at the Home of Golf with an even more dominant performance. It is the unique challenges of the links test that make many, even Tiger, consider the Open Championship his best chance to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

More than any other Grand Slam gathering, The Open is blind to age and the notion of players competing past their prime. In 2008 at Royal Birkdale, then-53-year-old Greg Norman flirted with the lead until the very end, finishing tied for third; a year later at Turnberry, Tom Watson came within one hole of history at 59 years young.

“It certainly can be done,” Woods said. “You get to places like Augusta National, where it's just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately. That's just the way it goes. But links-style golf courses, you can roll the ball. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

Whether this is the week Tiger gets back into the Grand Slam game depends on his ability to replicate those performances from years past on a similarly springy course. As he exited the media center bound for the practice putting green on Tuesday he seemed renewed by the cool sea breeze and the unique challenges of playing the game’s oldest championship.

Coming back to Carnoustie is more than a reintroduction to links golf; for Tiger it’s starting to feel like a bona fide restart to his major career.

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”