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I have been enthralled with the Golf Channel's coverage of the NCAA Championships for the last several years, and I imagine this year will be no different. This year, they are hosting it at Eugene Country Club (just off the campus of the University of Oregon). For those who haven't watched, here's a quick rundown of the format: Days 1-4 - 72 hole individual stroke play to determine the individual National Champion, as well as (and more importantly) the eight teams who will compete in the team match play finals. Each team has 5 players competing and the 4 best scores for each day count towards the cumulative team total. Day 5 - Quarterfinals and Semifinals of the team match play. 5 singles matches. Day 6 - Team match play finals. First the women, who started Friday, with the first day of TV coverage being yesterday, or the final day of the individual. The individual championship is one thing (a Freshman from Duke ran away with it this year - winning by 7 or 8 shots), but the team fight for the final eight is the most intriguing. It's so easy to make up or lose one, two, three strokes in a matter of minutes. Yesterday there were 4 or 5 different teams holding down that 8th spot throughout the day, which ultimately went to home team Oregon after Oklahoma State and Arizona had chances on the last few holes to catch or pass them but fell short. The final totals from yesterday: Anybody who is watching, feel free to discuss it here (I'll probably disappear until late tonight because I'm recording it all and will watch later) ... and if you weren't planning on watching, I recommend you give it a try. It's a lot of fun! Here's a few random photos: Individual champion, Virginia Elena Carta (will also be competing in team match play) The #4 seeded Washington University team. This was the pivotal moment in OK State missing out - that girl went bunker-bunker-bunker on her last hole, leading to a triple (I believe) and they fell 3 shots short.
My men's golf team won the AMCC Championship this past weekend with a two-day score of 637 (keeping the best four out of five scores). That works out to 79.625 on a fairly difficult layout at Avalon Lakes Golf & Country Club. ALGCC is a Pete Dye course that, like many Pete Dye courses, is very target-golf oriented. Dye seems to love to use visual trickery to goad players into going for more than they can handle. Sure, it rewards the long drive into the very narrow alley way between water and bunkers, but it punishes a slight miss more heavily than the reward of being 20 yards closer to the green for the approach shot. So, my guys worked their butts off during the practice round(s) to learn a few things: How far was it to the various hazards and things.What lines should they take off the tee that kept them short of those kinds of things.Which side of the hole do you favor with your second shot, even if you're going for the green.How did the greens react to shots:From around the greens.From the fairway.From the rough.That's all we did. We didn't keep a score. We didn't talk about which pins to attack, or which holes to attack. In our minds, every hole presented the same opportunity: a chance to get a Green in Regulation (GIR is King, after all) and a chance to make a two-putt par. Occasionally they'd hit one close (even if aiming for the center of the green), and occasionally they'd reach a par five in two, and sometimes they'd make a longer putt for a birdie. When they were out of position, I stressed getting an nGIR and playing to give themselves a reasonable par putt. Sometimes reasonable was 30 feet. Other times it was four or five. I don't think that my team necessarily hit the ball too much better than the other players on the other top two or three teams. I got to see a fair amount of their players, and they hit a lot of good shots, too. They certainly weren't 21 strokes worse (nearly three shots per player per round), or worse - the winning margin the men created for themselves. I think it came down to the GamePlan, and that is the only credit I'll take in helping them win their fifth straight AMCC Championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA finals in May (in Rochester, NY).