Solid Final Round Leads Women's Golf to LSU/Cleveland Championship
BATON ROUGE — A mental attitude shaped by head coach Karen Bahnsen helped make the final day of the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic a simple march down the fairway to the championship.
A couple of hours of rain? No problem. A slight delay in the start of the day? No problem. Worrying about giving up the lead? No problem whatsoever.
“It could have really affected it and we got so fortunate with the weather because it rained early on (in the round),” said Bahnsen. “We’re the type of team that we feel like we play good in bad weather. You could tell when it started out that it didn’t phase them one bit. We practice a lot and we make sure that when there is bad weather we have the proper gear and we’re prepared for it. That way we’re prepared for it not only with our equipment, but mentally.”
LSU posted the best round of the day for the third consecutive day to make it a wire-to-wire finish as the 13th-ranked Lady Tigers posted a 15-over par score for 54 holes of 879. The win was LSU’s third at the University Club in the 24-year spring tournament has been held on the Tigers’ home course, but it was LSU’s first in the event since 2001.
LSU’s 879 ties for the fourth lowest 54 hole score in school history and the second lowest score LSU has shot this season. The Tigers posted a nine-over 873 in winning the opening Cougar Classic, sponsored by the College of Charleston in the fall.
The win was Coach’s Karen Bahnsen‘s 28th team victory in her 21 years as the head coach of the Lady Tigers and it marked the first time since the 1996-97 season that LSU has won multiple tournaments during the season.
The Tigers final margin was 17 strokes ahead of 12th-ranked Tulane at 896 (302-297-297). The Green Wave was eight shots better than North Carolina State at 44-over 908 (303-301-304). Defending SEC champion Vanderbilt rounded out the top four at 50-over 914, one shot better than Mississippi State (915).
“I think the girls really handled themselves very well,” said Bahnsen of her team’s focus. “Again, they didn’t focus on what they were trying to accomplish by winning. They stayed focused on playing the golf course and not trying to win. When you lose focus and start trying to win, that’s when you do make mistakes. They did a good job of handling themselves mentally and emotionally, and they fought through it.”
Chris Brady of Vandy followed her second round 68 with a one-under 71 to finish at five-under par 211 for the 54-hole competition and a three-stroke win in the individual competition. Brady’s 211 score ties for the second lowest ever shot in women’s college tournament competition at the U-Club.
“Last year I played here at the SEC Championships and I came in fourth individually and (Vandy) won as a team. So, I hadn’t won individually here. It’s really exciting. I love the course and it’s good to come back and win some more hardware,” Brady said.
Brady edged out freshman Rebecca Kuhn of Miami, who finished second at two-under par 214 (72-70-72). It was Kuhn’s second consecutive top five finish, finishing fifth last week at South Carolina.
“With Rebecca playing as a freshman and coming in here and being able to handle herself in that position is really outstanding. She started off with a birdie on the first hole, and then she stumbled and had a couple of bogeys. She kind of got frustrated with herself, and then she was able to regroup and get her mind back on the right things. As a freshman to show that poise really says a lot. I think she’s got a great future ahead of her. I’m just really proud of her,” said Bahnsen.
“It’s hard being a freshman because you look at all of these people being so much older and maybe a little better than me. I’m just really proud of myself that I could accomplish this. This is my lowest score for three rounds ever, so I’m really proud of how I finished. I knew I was capable and it was just a matter of time before I was able to do this,” said Kuhn.
Alison Walshe of Tulane finished third at one-over 2317 and LSU senior Brooke Shelton had her third top 10 finish in the Cleveland Classic in four years, finishing in a tie for ninth at six-over 222.
There isn’t much rest for the Lady Tigers as they will travel to Athens, Ga., for the Liz Murphey Intercollegiate which begins on Friday at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
LSU/CLEVELAND GOLF CLASSIC — FINAL ROUND
TEAM RESULTS (Par 288-864)
1. LSU 296-290-293 — 879 +15; 2. Tulane 302-297-297 — 896 +32; 3. N.C. State 303-301-304 — 908 +44; 4. Vanderbilt 305-302-307 — 914 +50; 5. Mississippi State 312-295-308 — 915 +51; 6. UNC-Wilmington 311-303-302 — 916 +52; 7. College of Charleston 309-297-311 — 917 +53; 8. Birmingham Southern 305-304-311 — 920 +56; t9. James Madison 313-306-302 — 921 +57; t9. Kentucky 311-303-307 — 921 +57; t9. Louisville 308-310-303 — 921 +57; 12. Ole Miss 307-307-309 — 923 +59; 13. North Carolina 313-302-312 — 927 +63; 14. Alabama 318-305-309 — 932 +68; 15. Kansas 325-307-302 — 934 +70; 16. Augusta State 321-311-304 — 936 +72
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 72-216)
1. Chris Brady, Vanderbilt, 72-68-71 — 211 -5; 2. Rebecca Kuhn, LSU, 72-70-72 — 214 -2; 3. Alison Walshe, Tulane, 69-75-73 — 217 +1; t4. Amanda Mathis, Mississippi State, 76-67-75 — 218 +2; t4. Adrienne White, Louisville, 73-74-71 — 218 +2; t6. Lorraine Ballerano, N.C. State, 75-72-74 — 221 +5; t6. Katie Miller, North Carolina, 73-71-77 — 221 +5; t6. Garrett Phillips, Augusta State, 76-74-71 — 221 +5; t9. Ashlee Dean, N.C. State, 75-73-74 — 222 +6; t9. Mary Ellen Jacobs, Tulane, 79-70-73 — 222 +6; t9. Meghan Little, Louisville, 72-72-78 — 222 +6; t9. Brooke Shelton, LSU, 73-73-76 — 222 +6
2. Rebecca Kuhn 72-70-72 — 214 -2
t9. Brooke Shelton 73-73-76 — 222 +6
t13. Melissa Eaton 78-73-72 — 223 +7
t13. Kimberly Meck 73-74-76 — 223 +7
t19. Nicola Eaton 74-77-74 — 225 +9*
t19. Vicky Meyer 78-74-73 — 225 +9
t77. Rebecca Struthers 82-82-81 — 245 +29*
* – denotes player who competed as an individual