Nationally-Ranked LSU Women's Golf Team Opens Spring In Puerto Rico
BATON ROUGE – The LSU women’s golf team enters the spring semester of play with dreams of one final push with its current lineup of stars and to add to some of the amazing numbers the team has posted since the start of the 2019-20 season.
The Tigers, ranked 11th in the country in the confusing and confounding fall rankings that finally were produced by the second company charged with handling NCAA rankings in 2023-24 (Scoreboard by Clippd), will debut on Sunday in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico for the Purdue hosted Puerto Rico Classic.
The event will be held at the par 72 Grand Reserve Golf Course, home of the PGA Puerto Rico Open which will be held in March. The course was designed by noted PGA winner Tom Kite.
This will be the final semester of play for graduate students Ingrid Lindblad of Sweden and Latanna Stone of Riverview, Florida and senior Carla Tejedo. The trio has been part of three NCAA Championship appearances, an SEC Championship, two SEC semifinal appearances and numerous team titles.
Stone has been a part of 12 team titles, Lindblad 11 and Tejedo eight.
Individually, Lindblad is believed tied for the most individual titles in SEC women’s golf history (along with Stacy Lewis of Arkansas) with 13 collegiate wins (including two in the fall). Stone has three wins (including one in the fall) and Tejedo has a co-medalist honor in the prestigious Stephens Cup.
“Here we are with Latanna (Stone), Ingrid (Lindblad) and Carla (Tejedo),” said LSU Coach Garrett Runion. “Latanna and Ingrid in their 10th semester and Carla in her eighth. It’s kind of hard to believe. I think back on everything they’ve accomplished over that time, with the SEC Championship. You mentioned the 12, 11 and eight wins. That’s pretty incredible. I think back to where the state of the program was five years ago to where it is now and the tournaments we’re playing, the tournaments we’re getting invited to, the finishes we’re having and the reputation and ranking we have had a lot to do with what they’ve done.
“I’m very appreciative of them coming to LSU, putting in the hard work and representing LSU and their family and their teammates extremely well. Not only in college tournaments but also in big amateur tournaments with Latanna playing the Curtis Cup, the Palmer Cup, the U.S. Amateur; with Ingrid playing the Palmer Cup and professional majors.”
Of the final trip around the college season, Runion said. “Looking forward to this week to start this last semester off for them, the right way, I know they are motivated. We’ve talked about all the stuff they’ve accomplished, but there’s one thing they haven’t accomplished and that’s obviously the National Championship. They want to look back at the end of this semester and whether we win it or not, they want to look back and say they did everything they could to give it a shot and have our best chance to get it done and win the big one.”
Those three will be joined by junior Aine Donegan from Ireland who is in her second year in the LSU program and freshman Jordan Fischer of Germany by way of Florida.
Edit Hertzman, Taylor Riley and Elsa Svensson will also be on the trip and playing in the individual competition which runs through Tuesday in the 54-hole event.
Lindblad in nine fall rounds averaged 68.11 with Stone at 70.67 (12 rounds) and Donegan at 70.78 (9 rounds). Tejedo finished the fall at 72.33 and the foursome combined for 32 rounds at par or under during the fall.
Joining host Purdue and the Tigers in the event are teams from Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Furman, Georgia Southern, Mercer, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas A&M.
Arkansas is third in the current rankings with Ole Miss in ninth, LSU 11th, Texas A&M 12th and Auburn is in 17th.
“We’ve got the whole team down here, which is unique,” Runion said. “We will get to see everybody play a little bit in competition. We had a good week of practice. We had a ton of rain the week before so we didn’t get as much accomplished, but other teams around the country are dealing with same weather or maybe a little bit worse with the ice and snow. (Players are) always a little nervous the first tournament of the semester to see where your games at and to get back to the tournament butterflies and competition. I think our ladies are ready. We had some good competition in practice. We are looking forward to starting this Spring 2024 season.”
The first round gets under way with a shotgun start at 6:30 a.m. CT with live scoring at Golfstat.com.
The remainder of the LSU spring regular season schedule is very familiar with a trip to Melbourne, Florida for the Moon Golf Invitational, Feb. 18-20; the nationally-televised Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, March 4-6; and the Clemson Invitational in Sunset, South Carolina, March 22-24.
The Southeastern Conference championship moves after several years in Birmingham to Belleair, Florida and the home of the LPGA The ANNIKA at Pelican, on April 12-16 at Pelican Golf Club.
Regionals as had been the case the last couple of year will be held on six locations in early May with the NCAA Championships moving to Carlsbad, California and the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, May 17-22.