We've been waiting all winter for this. The Spring 2017 season is finally here, and over 300 teams in 27 regions will soon begin their journey towards qualifying for the NCCGA National Championship at Hot Springs Country Club in Arkansas. 31 teams and 8 individuals will make up this season's field, with the first ticket already punched by the defending National Champions: University of Georgia.
The beginning of the season also means it's time to unveil the Spring 2017 Preaseason Top 25 college golf rankings! The rankings and team analysis were compiled by the 2017 NCCGA Student Leaders Adam Gracik, Grant Johnson, and Leia Schwartz using information from previous seasons and national championship performances. Take a look below, and let us know what you think of the ratings on Twitter @NCCGA.
Spring 2017 Preseason Rankings
Is this really even a debate? Fall ‘16 Champs… 4 different golfers that fired rounds in the 60s this past fall. I would bet a large number of NCAA Division 1 teams didn’t have 4 golfers fire sub 70 tournament rounds this past fall. It would be shocking to see them drop anywhere outside the top 5 during their title defense at Hot Springs CC in April. Georgia might be the first team to repeat since East Carolina in 2011.
2) Florida State
North Florida Regional champions by 7 strokes, the battle between Florida State and Florida in the road to Hot Springs is one to watch. Florida State was ranked 3rd going into Fall ‘16 Nationals, keeping that spot with a T-3 finish at Disney. With the graduation of former president Brian Eidelbus (T-18 at Fall ‘16 Nationals), there are still many top returning players including Connor O’shaughnessy (T-13) and their new president Jonathan Paulson (T-22).
The Gators have qualified for every National Championship since their founding in 2014, claiming the title in Spring 2015. 2 players were ranked in the top 10 individually this past fall, including freshman Matthew Galluzzo who was ranked 3rd nationally with an average score of 70.5. With a 10th place finish at Fall ‘16 Nationals, they seek to return to the top led by Galluzzo, senior Andrew Scalf, and club president Tyler Segal.
4) South Carolina
Spring ‘16 champs. 8th at fall nationals. Led by club president Evan Rodwell and Wesley Long with a very deep supporting cast. Unfortunately, USC’s spring final schedule wraps right around the weekend of spring nationals (April 29-30) so they will not be able to attend even if they do qualify. They will be playing in one southeast regional and also traveling to play in colonial regional #2 at Glade Springs, the same course where they set the NCCGA championship record with a 2-day score of +27.
5) GAA-Myrtle Beach
Fresh off back-to-back top 5 finishes at nationals in 2016, GAA-Myrtle Beach looks to continue their momentum in the spring. WIth the benefit of South Carolina bowing out, and Georgia’s automatic bid, The Southeast region might be Myrtle Beach’s to lose. Led by Jordan Quinn, who finished just outside the top 25 individually last fall with an average score of 73.5, GAA-Myrtle Beach is excited to get the season underway.
Arguably one of the most consistent teams that the NCCGA saw in 2016, Alabama heads into 2017 looking to make their 3rd straight trip to Nationals. One thing they won’t be lacking this semester is confidence, after two stellar performances at Nationals in 2016, highlighted by a 2nd place finish at Glade Springs. Expect the tide to continue on rolling their way through the South Region and onto Hot Springs CC.
Mizzou will be going for their 7th straight nationals appearance this spring, along with their 3rd straight top 10 at the tournament. Nick Sobba will be leading the way after a top 10 individual ranking this fall.
With their A and B teams taking 1st and 2nd in the Northwest Region, you will most likely see Oregon returning to Nationals this fall. Finishing T-12 at Fall ‘16 Nationals, Club President Charles Sitton V made impressive moves for the Ducks with an individual runner-up finish.
Baylor looks to pick up where they left off in the fall. One of the deepest teams in the NCCGA will be led by club president Lincoln Smith, Bruce Popp, and Patrick Blounian.
Keiser has qualified for the last 3 National Championships, placing 9th at Fall ‘16 Nationals. Narrowly beating out Florida Atlantic University to claim the spot for Disney, Keiser is seeking to earn their 4th consecutive appearance to Nationals at Hot Springs.
11) James Madison
JMU established itself as a national contender in 2016 with a T-4th at Glade Springs and 6th place at Disney World. The Dukes look to continue their hot streak in the Colonial Region this semester and lock up a spot at Hot Springs.
12) UNC Wilmington
UNCW shocked the country last semester with a T-3 finish at Disney world, earning themselves a top-15 preseason ranking.
IU was able to claim 3 out of the 4 Indiana Region tournaments in 2016. Along with a top 15 finish at both national championships (T-6 Glade Springs, T-14 Disney).
Top 25s in both the rankings & nationals last fall, along with a very impressive spring ‘16 campaign locks Wisconsin into the preseason Top 25 rankings.
In their first semester as a club, Tulsa looked liked one of the best teams in the country. The Ozark Region will not be an easy road to nationals but these guys are definitely the favorites.
Not ranked in the Top 15? Play in a pre-season spring break tournament
Ranked 7th last fall along with a 22nd place finish at nationals.
Finished in 11th place at Disney.
Ranked 10th last fall, along with a 25th place finish at nationals.
19) Arkansas Tech
#1 ranked team in the Fall ‘16 regular season, but only played 1 event as a team = no nationals.
Pitt looks to win the Atlantic Region and advance to their 9th straight nationals this spring.
The Fall 2015 champs always seem to be a threat.
Back-to-back national appearances have the terps excited for 2017.
With two impressive national championship finishes in 2016, it looks like the emergence of Canadian School Ecole de Technolgie Superieure is the only thing standing in the way of another nationals appearance.
The 20th ranked team this past fall will be led by ‘16 NCCGA President Matt Hahn in his final semester.
25) Illinois State
ISU looks to make their 5th consecutive nationals appearance this spring.
Others receiving votes: Grand Canyon, GAA-Dallas, Auburn, CSU-Fort Collins, Stanford, UCLA, Clemson, Iowa State, Arizona State, GAA-Carlsbad.
Rankings Quick Facts:
- 19 regions have a team represented on the Preseason Top 25 rankings
- 1 region has three teams ranked (Southeast)
- 4 regions have two teams ranked (North Florida, Ozark, Philly, Texas)
- 14 teams have 1 team represented (Atlantic, Capitol, Central, Colonial, Great Lakes, Indiana, Midwest, North, North Carolina, Northern NE, Northwest, South, South Florida, Twin Cities)