NCAA Championships: 10 players to watch
19 May 2012
by Benjamin Larsen of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Jordan Spieth Rankings

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth

The stars were out at NCAA Division I Regional Championship events across the nation the last three days. With a slew of top programs and players making headlines during the regional rounds, and many of those same players bound to make a difference in the NCAA Championship May 29-June 3 at Riviera Country Club here is a look at 10 players likely to be in the mix following stellar regional play:

1.) Patrick Cantlay: The No. 1-ranked amateur in the world and the No. 9 player in the NCAA tied for 19th at the NCAA Division I Bowling Green Regional. With his UCLA Bruins placing a solid 3rd --- clinching a berth into the team championship --- Cantlay was a mediocre 4-over over the course of the three-day event but had played well in Rounds 1 and 2. He entered Saturday's final round at even par, finishing with a 4-over 76. Regardless of his finish in the regional, Cantlay, who finished second in last year's individual championship, will be a player to watch at Riviera.

2.) Patrick Rodgers: The World's No. 3 player was tied for 10th at the Palo Alto West Regional where his Stanford team finished fourth and will be moving on. Rodgers was in contention following a first-round 70 and a 66 on Friday but wasn't able to make up the ground over medalist Josh Anderson of Pepperdine. With the Cardinal a potential threat in the team championship, Rodgers, who won last year's Porter Cup, has the pedigree to make noise in the individual race.

3.) Brandon Hagy: The amateurgolf.com Tournament Series regular fired a terrific 11-under at the Palo Alto regional, finishing alone in third place. His effort helped power the Cal Bears to a six-shot victory in the team competition. The Bears will be among the favorites at Riviera and Hagy very well could be too in the individual competition. He was a consistent 67-66-66--199 in the regional.

4.) Max Homa: Hagy's Cal teammate Homa is among the hottest players in college golf. His season included four Top 5 finishes and five Top 10s and he's ranked 15th in the U.S. amateurgolf.com rankings. He has continued his strong play in the postseason as he finished tied for 10th at the Palo Alto Regional, firing a 4-under 206 over the three-day event.

5.) Chris Williams: The No. 4 player in the U.S. amateurgolf.com rankings (5th in the World) powered Washington to the NCAA Southwest Regional title with his medalist- winning 73-68-68-209 score.

6.) Jordan Spieth: The top-ranked college golfer according to Golfweek and the No. 18 player in the U.S. according to the amateurgolf.com U.S. Rankings was only eight shots off the pace at the Southwest Regional. The Texas ace fired a 2-over 66- 77-74-217 but will absolutely be considered among the favorites at Riviera.

7.) Justin Thomas: The Kentucky native helped lead Alabama to a dominating Southeast Regional victory and garnered medalist honors along the way. His only competition while shooting a terrific 67-67- 70 over the three-day event was teammates Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett, who finished second and third, respectively. Following a stellar regular season and a 25-shot regional victory, expect Alabama and Thomas --- along with Wyatt and Whitsett --- to be making headlines later this month.

8.) Stephan Jaegar: If the Chattanoogga golfer was under the radar entering the NCAA Regionals, consider his cover blown. The 20th-ranked NCAA golfer according to Golfweek fired a 70-67-66--203 to take medalist honors at the Bowling Green Regional, winning by four shots.

9.) Pedro Figueirido: Cantlay gets most of the attention, as expected, but UCLA also has depth. Figueiredo, who was the runner-up behind Jaegar, could use the momentum gained during his Regional run to make another one at Riviera.

10.) Blayne Barber: The 16th-ranked player in the U.S. and No. 8 player in Golfweek's NCAA rankings finished fourth in at the Greensboro Regional. The Auburn ace showed signs of life with a second-round 68. With his pedigree and ability to play well in key events, don't be surprised to see Barber in the mix at Riviera.

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