Women's Golf Team Opens Spring And Busy February Monday in Bahamas
BATON ROUGE – For the No. 9 LSU women’s golf team, it will be a busy February that begins on Monday morning with the first round of Nexus Invitational at the Albany Golf Club at Nassau, Bahamas.
Auburn is the host for this event that is played on the same course that the PGA Hero World Challenge is played each December. The course, designed by well-known golfer Ernie Els, is expected to play at some 6,400 yards and a par of 72.
The start of the spring season begins the road to what is hoped to be a third straight national championship appearance in Scottsdale, Arizona in late May, but before that comes defense of the Southeastern Conference championship and the NCAA regional that places the teams that advance to Scottsdale.
Women’s college golf has taken a major step forward in that for the first time 30 teams, the same as men, will advance from regionals to the championship play.
A lot of LSU’s season will be contested in February as after three days of play Monday through Wednesday in the Bahamas, the team will then travel to Melbourne, Florida to prep for its second tournament, the Moon Golf Invitational, hosted by Louisville, Feb. 19-21.
And that’s not all in February. There will be a brief return to Baton Rouge and then it is back for star singer Darius Rucker’s Intercollegiate at Hilton Head, South Carolina, Feb. 27-March 1. That tournament for the second straight year will be televised live on the Golf Channel.
The Tigers are coming off a great fall in which they set a team record with a fall four-tournament average of 283.25, topping by almost two full strokes the fall average of just over 285.17 in the 2019-20 fall portion of the schedule.
LSU had two team wins, the Green Wave Fall Classic in New Orleans to open the fall with a 32-under par 832 and a 14-under 838 score in the Battle at the Beach in Mexico to close the fall.
No. 2 World Amateur senior Ingrid Lindblad added to her school record for career wins with her 10th triumph at the Battle at the Beach, becoming the first LSU golfer to break 200 in stroke play for 54 holes, with an 18-under 195 (67-64-64). Senior Latanna Stone finished second in the Green Wave Classic with a 12-under 204 and Carla Tejedo took second at 8-under 208 in the Jackson T. Stephens Cup.
“I felt like we had very solid and productive fall. We started with a win and ended with a win which is great,” said fifth-year LSU head coach Garrett Runion. “One thing that might be unique and helpful this fall is that we had every player on the roster compete in the tournaments and have at least one counting score. We also had all nine players with a tournament scoring average of 72.83 or lower, which I doubt you will be able to find to many programs that can say that and that’s something I am proud of.”
But the fall is in the books and now the spring schedule will come at the Tigers pretty fast.
“I am excited for the spring for a number of reasons, two of those being the roster we have and the tournaments we are competing in,” said Coach Runion. “We are doing something I’ve never done before in competing in two tournaments back-to-back without coming home. Ideally, I would have liked to space out our tournaments better but part of the reason we are play two back-to-back is because of the ranking these ladies have earned and because of that ranking we have received invitations to some special tournaments. It’s certainly a good problem to have. The spring schedule is strong, as we will only see 6 teams currently ranked outside the top 50.”
It is an elite field of 10 that will tee off in the Bahamas Monday with the first tee times set to begin at 6:45 a.m. (BR time). Joining No. 9 LSU and host No. 16 Auburn in the tournament are: No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 4 South Carolina, No 11 Ole Miss, No. 13 Arizona State, No. 19 Duke, No. 20 Oklahoma State, No. 33 TCU and No. 61 Minnesota.
The rankings are the latest Golfstat performance rankings. The teams will play one-round each day in the play five, count four format for the event.
LSU’s lineup will include Lindblad (68.78 fall average), Stone (71.33), Tejedo (71.92) along with Aine Donegan (72.56) and Edit Hertzman (72.83). Jess Bailey (72.33) will play as an individual in the tournament.
So now play begins again for LSU women’s golf and so does the march to continue the success of the fall.
“Our goals for the spring remain the same,” said Coach Runion. “Be better in April than we were in January; stay healthy and be around it at the end. So far at practice we have had four that have separated themselves from the others. With as tight as their tournament scoring averages are, the fifth spot remains a toss-up which creates great competition at practice. I don’t know if we have too many improvements to make but more just continue to consistently work at it every day, stay healthy and be in position at the end of the SEC Championship, Regionals and Nationals.”
Live scoring for the Nexus event can be found on Golfstat.com.