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Women's Golf Preview: Nationally-Ranked Tigers Open Season Monday

Women's Golf Preview: Nationally-Ranked Tigers Open Season Monday

BATON ROUGE – When the LSU women’s golf team, ranked No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 in the three major preseason golf polls, tees off Monday in the Cougar Classic in Charleston, South Carolina, there will be a bit of Déjà vu for head coach Garrett Runion.

For the start of his sixth season as women’s coach at LSU, Runion has one of the most experienced teams in college golf on his roster this season.

“I can’t believe we are entering year six for me,” he said. “As we head to our first tournament of the year, I can’t help but think about how far we have come and what all we have accomplished over the last five seasons. The Cougar Classic was the first tournament I went to as the women’s head coach and we haven’t been back since. Five years ago, we had a young raw team and did not have our best performance in the hurricane shortened event. I remember being nervous and excited at the same time.

“Since then, we have been able to accomplish some pretty incredible things and going back this time is a little bit of a full circle moment. This year we are heading back to the Cougar Classic with a very senior laden team that has a ton of experience and high expectations for the season.”

With a team that has been to the NCAA Championship the last three seasons, won the Southeastern Conference championship in 2022 and been to the league semifinals in the other two seasons, LSU will be led by two first-team preseason All-American selections in graduate students Ingrid Lindblad and Latanna Stone.

Both Lindblad and Stone elected to return for their fifth year of play after the 2020 pandemic (a season cut short in which LSU was headed to another NCAA Championship appearance), and they will be joined by senior Carla Tejedo, who has started almost every tournament the last three seasons.

“I am very proud of how consistent our program has been over the last four years finishing ranked inside the top 15 in the country and twice ranked in the top 5. Our three oldest returning players have played and finished in the top 15 at the National Championship the last three years which only four other programs in the country can say that. It’s one thing to have a good team but I think it’s harder to have a consistent program that competes for a National Championship and these upper classmen have done that.

“I don’t know what the future will hold but (assistant coach) Alexis (Rather) and I are looking forward to one last season with Ingrid, Latanna and Carla to see what we can accomplish. Every one of our players had a highlight this summer playing amateur golf and I know they are looking to carry that over to college golf this fall.”

Rounding out LSU’s starting lineup for the Cougar Classic will be junior Aine Donegan, who is in her second season with LSU, and sophomore Taylor Riley, whose mother played for the Tigers in another strong era for the program in the mid-1990s.

The Tiger players after a strong 2022-23 campaign also had individual moments during the summer with the highlight being’s Stone’s play in the USGA Women’s Amateur where she advanced all the way to the championship match. Riley also had success in that event, advancing to the round of 16.

Lindblad, who won the McCormack medal from the USGA as 2023’s top amateur, made the semifinals of the R&A (British) Women’s Amateur and was third in the European Ladies Amateur Championship. Tejedo was in the top 10 in that competition and led Spain to the Gold Medal in the European Ladies Team Championship.

Donegan won fans here and in her home country of Ireland as she qualified and made the cut in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach in July.

The field for the Cougar Classic which features 36 holes of play on Monday and the final 18 holes on Tuesday, features 17 teams. Joining LSU and host College of Charleston will be UCF, Clemson, Florida, Furman, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Ole Miss, North Carolina State, Penn State, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Live scoring for the event will be at The first of the two Monday rounds begins at 7:30 a.m. CT. Live updates will be available on “X” @LSUwomensgolf during the day.