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Pepperdine Ranked as one of top Women's Golf Colleges

Aug. 2, 2006

Malibu, Calif. - An NCAA Championship and two other Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships within the span of 10 years by its men's team and six Top 10 showings at the nationals in the last eight years by its women's program has helped catapult Pepperdine into one of the nation's Top 10 colleges for golf, according to a poll by Golf Digest.

It marks the second straight year that Pepperdine's men's and women's golf teams have been ranked in the Top 10.

Pepperdine is one of seven schools to have both its men's and women's teams ranked in the Top 10, joining Duke, Rollins, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Wake Forest. Duke, which won the 2006 NCAA title, was named the top women's college while UCLA was selected the best men's program.

Head coach Laurie Gibbs' women's team, which finished third at the 2006 NCAA Division I Championships in May, was ranked No. 10 while head coach John Geiberger's men's squad, which advanced to the NCAA Championships this past spring, was ranked third.

"This is a great honor for both of our golf teams and is a tribute to both John and Laurie for all of their tireless efforts and dedication to their programs," John Watson, Director of Athletics, said. "They both run first-class programs and recruit outstanding student-athletes who excel both on the course and in the classroom."

Since 1998, the Pepperdine women's golf team has won eight West Coast Conference (WCC) titles, advanced to the NCAA Championships seven times and five different players have received All-American honors a total of 12 times, including Katherine Hull, who was a three-time All-American and selected the 2003 "College Player of the Year."

The women's program has finished in the Top 14 at the NCAA Championships in all seven of its appearances, including second in 2003, fourth in 2005 and third in 2006.

In his first season as head coach, Geiberger guided the men's team to the 1997 National Championship when the Waves posted a three-shot victory over Wake Forest at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Since 1997, the Pepperdine men's program has captured eight WCC titles in 10 years, made nine NCAA West Regional appearances and advanced to the NCAA Championships on five occasions. In 2004, the Waves finished 10th at the NCAA Championships at The Cascades Golf Course in Hot Springs, Virginia.

The men's team has produced seven All-Americans, including Jason Gore who helped the Waves win the national championship in 1997 and was the big story at the 2005 U.S. Open where he entered the final round in second place.

Pepperdine also has had two players win the prestigious Byron Nelson Award as Jason Allred was the first recipient of the award in 2002 and Michael Putnam was the 2005 winner.

The rankings and College Golf Guide package provides a blueprint for high school students with dreams of playing golf in college and professionally ("Golf First" ranking), as well as students focused on education who still desire to play competitive golf ("Academics First" ranking).

"Our purpose with the College Golf Guide is to promote the idea of playing golf during the college years," said Jerry Tarde, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Golf Digest. "Technology today has given students the ability to have complete control over the college search process, and for the 225,000 boys and girls playing high school golf, our guide offers a crash course in getting started."

Five criteria form the basis of the rankings: a college golf team's adjusted scoring average, player growth while on the team, academics, climate and coaches/facilities.

This year's academics numbers come courtesy of U.S. News & World Report's respected "America's Best Colleges" guidebook. The climate numbers were provided by Longitudes Group and measure each school's 30-year average of playable days from September 1 to May 31.

The player-growth category is a refinement to Golf Digest's rankings this year and is based on two measurements: the number of players on the roster during the last four seasons who lowered their adjusted scoring average on a year-over-year basis, as well as the team's combined improvement or decline.

UCLA took the top spot in the men's "Golf First" ranking, being the only school to rank in the top-10 percent in three of the five categories--scoring, climate and coaches/facilities. Rounding out the top 10 are: No. 2 Georgia Tech, No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 4 Rollins, No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Wake Forest, No. 7 Southern Cal, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Duke and No. 10 North Carolina.

In the women's "Golf First" ranking, Duke, the two-time defending NCAA champ, is No. 1, followed by No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Rollins, No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Southern Cal, No. 8 Cal-Berkeley, No. 9 Wake Forest and No. 10 Pepperdine.

In the "Academics First" ranking, Princeton is No. 1 for both men and women, providing the best education with an opportunity to play competitive golf. On the men's side, Division III Trinity University is the No. 2 team in "Academics First" and Yale is No. 2 among women.

In Division II, Rollins College (Winter Park, Fla.) earned the No. 1 "Golf First" ranking for men and women. In Division III, University of Redlands (Calif.) is the No. 1 men's team, and Methodist College (Fayetteville, N.C.) is No. 1 for women.

In establishing the rankings, Golf Digest rated 772 NCAA men's programs and 500 women's programs in the five categories mentioned above, grading each category on a 100-point scale to determine overall scores:

• Team adjusted scoring average: (Golf First: 40%; Academics First: 15%). Spans last four seasons and applies the formula used by NCAA committees to select postseason teams. (Source: golfstat.com).

• Player growth: (Golf First: 19.5%; Academics First: 7%). A new judging category, player growth determines whether players on a program's roster during the last four years lowered their adjusted scoring average on a year-to-year basis and the team's combined improvement or decline. (Source: golfstat.com).

• Academics: (Golf First: 14%; Academics First: 58%). Overall score from U.S. News & World Report's 2006 guidebook America's Best Colleges. (Source: usnews.com).

• Climate: (Golf First: 12%; Academics First: 10%). A 30-year average of number of playable days between September 1-May 31. Allows for play in poor weather but not in extreme, dangerous or snow-covered conditions. (Source: Longitudes Group).

• Coaches/facilities: (Golf First: 14.5%; Academics First: 10%). Measures coaches' experience and past performance; quality of campus-affiliated or available courses and practice facilities. (Source: Information provided by colleges and Ping American College Golf Guide.)

The following is a listing of the Top 10 men's and women's golf colleges.

Women
1. Duke
2. UCLA
3. Rollins
4. Vanderbilt
5. Virginia
6. Stanford
7. USC
8. California
9. Wake Forest
10. Pepperdine

Men
1. UCLA
2. Georgia Tech
3. Pepperdine
4. Rollins
5. Florida
6. Wake Forest7. USC
8. Stanford
9. Duke
10. North Carolina