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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Auburn and USC Win the East Lake Cup, But...

In the men's competition, Auburn beat Alabama and, in the women's competition, USC beat Stanford. (Yes, those are links to the GC summaries of the events.) Congrats to the champs!

Golfweek photo

For the winners, this may seem to be a case of deja vu. USC won this event last year against Stanford, and Auburn beat Alabama in the SEC Championships earlier this year. Auburn won 4-1 and USC won 3-2. I don't think is so unusual, as both winning teams have largely the same personnel as they did in their previous wins.

What I find more interesting about this event is the controversial attention the LPGA Q-Series received. (And yes, that's a link to another GC article. When you already have thorough summaries, why re-invent the wheel?) As you probably know, the Alabama women's team wasn't at full strength because their two top players were competing in the Q-Series, having received exemptions from the LPGA. Bear in mind that the LPGA exemptions are "generic," in the sense that they are given to the Top5 college players, whoever they may be, as opposed to specific players asking for an exemption.

In this case, Alabama had the 3rd and 4th ranked players -- Lauren Stephenson and Kristen Gillman -- and their trips to the Q-Series basically decimated the team that went to East Lake. I don't mean that as an insult to the players who competed at East Lake but, even in the pro ranks, the Top4 or Top5 players are generally a step above everyone else.

I'll be interested to see what the fallout from this "publicity" finally is. The colleges and the LPGA have generally gotten along pretty well but this could cause some serious friction, depending on what comes of it.


  1. Andrea Lee almost made the Q-Series before losing to Ruffels.

  2. Stephenson was the top player last season, while Gillman earned exemption into Stage II after winning in Japan (Lee was in Stage II via WAGR)

  3. It will also be interesting to see which seniors will audition for next year's Walker Cup by staying amateur next summer

    1. Agreed. The lure of the tours grows stronger each year.