NEW YORK, N.Y. – The preseason Golf World/Nike Golf Division I College Coaches’ Poll has been released, combining the resources of Golf World magazine, Nike Golf and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). The complete results, including results from Divisions II, III, NAIA and NJCAA will appear in the September issue of Golf World.
Alabama claims the No. 1 spot in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I preseason coaches’ poll. NCAA Player-of-the-Year Justin Thomas and All-Americans Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett will return for the Crimson Tide in the 2012-13 college season.
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Alabama, hard-luck runner’s up at last year’s NCAA Championship, earned 13 of the 23 available first-place votes. It’s the first time the school has been ranked atop the Golf World polls since the close of the 2007-08 season and the first time since the polls were revived in 2001-02 that the team is No. 1 to start the fall.
Defending-champion Texas, with eight first-place votes, claimed the No. 2 spot in the ranking. The Longhorns won the national championship last June at Riviera CC, the first time the school had claimed college golf’s top prize in 40 years.
Pac-12 champion California, an NCAA semifinalist in 2012, earned the third spot. The Golden Bears had four players reach match play at the recent U.S. Amateur Championship, including runner-up Michael Weaver.
Rounding out the top five are UCLA and Washington. The Bruins must replace Patrick Cantlay, the 2011 NCAA Player-of-the-Year who turned pro this past summer. The Huskies are led by senior Chris Williams, the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.