Lady Tigers Fall Short, Finish 12th at NCAA Regionals

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Lady Tigers Fall Short, Finish 12th at NCAA Regionals

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. — While the final scoreboard showed the LSU women’s golf team finished 12th Saturday in the NCAA East Regional Women’s Golf Tournament, the qualifying chances of the 22nd-ranked Lady Tigers may have been decided earlier in the week.

The Lady Tigers on Saturday, for the second straight day, shot the eighth best score of the day, a 306 after shooting 305 Friday. But it was Thursday’s 31-over 319 which put the Tigers down in 16th place and looking up at the top eight qualifying spots.

“We just seemed a little scared at first,” said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen of the youngest Tiger teams to go to NCAA regionals since 1995, the last time LSU had three freshmen in the lineup for regionals. “They didn’t react with the same confidence they did earlier in the year, but after the first round, they were determined we were going to do better.”

Saturday’s round even saw LSU in a position where a round, similar to what the Lady Tigers shot in the SECs could have got them into the top eight. The leaders played first on Saturday and by the time LSU teed off, they had actually moved up to seventh place.

But there were precious strokes to spare and at the turn, LSU had fallen to ninth at 10-over par and plus-58 for the tournament, two shots out of eighth place. The Tigers remained in mathematical contention until the final few holes when LSU went six-over as a team on 16, 17 and 18 to finish at 18-over par 306 and a 66-over par 930.

“You wouldn’t believe the putts we had even at the end that could have been birdies, but we just couldn’t get them to go,” Bahnsen said. “We had people a little worried. They held the playoff for eighth spot up over two hours because they still thought we were right there.”

Duke easily won the event at 5-over par 869 for the 54-holes and the No. 1 team, along with West regional champ UCLA will be the heavy favorites for the Division I women’s championships in two weeks. UNLV was second, 22-shots back at 891. North Carolina was third (28-over), followed by Florida State (+40), Wake Forest (+42), Furman (+43) and Tennessee in seventh at +54. There was a tie for the eighth spot with Oklahoma State and Florida finishing at +56 and once LSU had dropped safely out of the picture, the Oklahoma State team won the sudden death playoff to advance, dropping Florida to ninth.

Tulane finished 10th, two shots ahead of LSU at 64-over and Auburn will not be able to play in the championships at Opelika, Ala., after shooting a 315 on Saturday to finish at 65-over par.

Melissa Eaton had the best round on the final day for LSU at 1-over par 73 to finish at 12-over 228. Eaton was four-over over the final 36 holes. Brooke Shelton finished the final day with a 4-over 76 and also finished at 12-over 228 and the pair finished in a group tied for 24th in the individual competition.

LSU also counted on the final day a 4-over 76 from Vicky Meyer and a 9-over 81 from Nicola Eaton.

“We’ll be better for this experience next year,” said Bahnsen. “They all come back and know what to expect when you get to an event like this. It was a still a good year for us. We won a tournament, played well and finished second in the SECs, hosted two great tournaments and put ourselves back into the NCAA picture. I feel very good about the big picture of this team and where we go next year from here.

Meaghan Francella of North Carolina won the individual crown with a 7-under total of 209, five shots better than LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic winner and her teammate Ashley Prange of North Carolina at 2-under. Tulane’s Mary Ellen Jacobs was the top Louisiana school finisher in a tie for 20th at 10-over 226.

Southern finished in 20th position in the 21-team field at 143-over 1,007. The Jaguars top golfer was Josephine Ainley at 33-over 249, in 88th position.

Final Team Results (Par 288-864) — Top Eight Qualify for Nationals
1. Duke 286-292-291 — 869 +5; 2. UNLV 297-297-297 — 891 +27; 3. North Carolina 303-294-295 — 892 +28; 4. Florida State 308-300-296 — 904 +40; 5. Wake Forest 310-297-299 — 906 +42; 6. Furman 312-300-295 — 907 +43; 7. Tennessee 307-306-305 — 918 +54; 8. Oklahoma State 298-309-313 — 920 +56 (won playoff); 9. Florida 310-295-315 — 920 +56; 10. Tulane 301-313-314 — 928 +64; 11. Auburn 302-312-315 — 929 +65; 12. LSU 319-305-306 — 930 +66; 13. Miami 309-310-319 — 938 +74; 14. Campbell 319-312-316 — 947 +83; 15. North Carolina State 316-317-317 — 950 +86; 15. South Carolina 316-320-314 — 950 +86; 17. North Carolina Wilmington 320-317-321 — 958 +94; 18. Alabama 311-318-332 — 961 +97; 19. Ole Miss 338-326-325 — 989 +125; 20. Southern 337-325-344 — 1006 +142; 21. St. Francis PA 338-341-347 — 1026, +162.

Top 5 Individuals (Par 72-216)
1. Meaghan Francella, North Carolina, 69-71-69 — 209 -7; 2. Ashley Prange, North Carolina, 74-71-69 — 214 -2; 3. Elizabeth Janangelo, Duke, 72-76-69 — 217 +1; 3. Brittany Lang, Duke, 71-72-74 — 217 +1; 5. Leigh Anne Hardin, Duke, 71-72-75 — 218 +2; 5. Sunny Oh, UNLV, 72-73-73 — 218 +2; 5. Jenny Suh, Furman, 75-70-73 — 218 +2.

LSU Results
T24. Melissa Eaton 80-75-73 — 228 +12
T24. Brooke Shelton 80-72-76 — 228 +12
T48. Nicola Eaton 80-75-81 — 236 +20
T61. Vicky Meyer 80-83-76 — 239 +23
T91. Alexis Rather 79-89-83 — 251 +35

Tulane Results
T20 Mary Ellen Jacobs 73-76-77 — 226 +10
T32 Liliana Alvarez 70-79-81 — 230 +14
T48. Carolin Landmann 79-76-81 — 236 +20
T61. Lindsay Hulwick 80-82-77 — 239 +23
T74. Alexis Wooster 79-84-79 — 242 +26

Southern Results
85. Danielle Sells 84-78-84 — 246 +30
88. Josephine Ainley 80-83-86 — 249 +33
T97 Annie Tu 87-84-82 — 253 +37
102 Cassie Jemison 87-80-93 — 260 +44
108 Nicole Joseph 86-95-82 — 273 +57