LSU Gold

No. 4 LSU Tees Off Friday In SEC Women's Golf Championship At New Location

No. 4 LSU Tees Off Friday In SEC Women's Golf Championship At New Location

BELLEAIR, Florida – The annual Southeastern Conference women’s golf championships get underway Friday as the tournament moves to a new date and location on the college golf schedule.

SEC officials moved the event to this area just outside the Tampa-Clearwater area at Pelican Golf Club for this year and the next two championships. Pelican hosts the LPGA’s The ANNIKA in the fall each year.

Pelican Golf Club was built in 1925. It was designed by legendary architect Donald Ross and updated by Beau Welling in 2018. Pelican hosted one of TNT’s “The Match” when Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy took on Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in Dec. 2022.

The course will play at 6,150 yards and par of 70. The majority of the players saw the course for the first time and Thursday’s practice round was stymied first by steady 25-30 miles per hour winds and then halted after six or seven holes after a storm front that featured a tornado warning in the nearby Clearwater area took players off the course for about 2.5 hours.

Tournament officials were able to get the players back on the course mid-afternoon to get their final look at the rest of the course in preparation for Friday’s start.

“You have to understand everyone is in the same situation,” said LSU Coach Garrett Runion, who will be coaching the No. 4-ranked LSU team for the sixth time in an SEC championship. “We are all in the same boat and you just have to make the best of it. We’ve done a lot of research before we came here. We’ve talked with (LSU alum, LPGA player) Madelene Sagstrom and other players that have seen the course and given us notes. We’ve put that in the book.

“The biggest thing we know is it is going to blow (Friday) and it will be the opposite wind from what today was and we have a rule we don’t say the ‘W’ word which is wind because it’s going to be there. It’s going to be a factor and the team that is tough-minded and handles it the best is going to be near the lead,” he said.

Although the course has been redone in the last six years, the green complexes are very old school with large valleys and uneven surfaces.

“They are very undulating,” he said. “A lot of it a lot in many ways like the University Club (in Baton Rouge). I think that may play into our advantage. They have the pin hammocks off the tee. Our ladies are used to seeing that. They are used to hitting off it and it has a similar weather, grass, chipping off the end of the greens.

“We used our chipping green which is very big and has a lot of slope, and we did a lot of practice over there before we came here in preparation for that. Speed will be the big thing and which side of the hole do you want to be on coming in. There are lot of false fronts and there’s some spots where you can hit a good shot and it make you look very silly rolling off the green.”

The tournament will be a mini-version of the national championship experience with three days of stroke competition through Sunday that will determine the eight qualifying teams for match play. The individual champion will also be determined at the end of play on Sunday.

LSU has had success in the event the last three years getting to the match play semifinals in 2021, capturing its first championship in 2022 and reaching the semifinal match in 2023.

The Tigers will have in its lineup three players that have been in the lineup for those three tournaments – LSU graduates Ingrid Lindblad and Latanna Stone and senior Carla Tejedo. All have huge moments for LSU in the 2022 championship, the first team championship in 30 years, and Lindblad was the individual winner in the event after an eagle putt on the 54th hole at Greystone.

Lindblad, the No. 1 ranked player in both the World Amateur Golf Rankings and the Scoreboard.clippd NCAA rankings, is coming off a third-place finish in the ANWA after a final round of 3-under 69 at Augusta National Golf Club.

Stone is ranked No. 33 in the WAGR rankings after making her third appearance in the ANWA. Stone had her third career individual victory in the 2023-24 season and has shown her mettle in match play for LSU and for the United States in the Curtis Cup.

Also in the lineup is junior Aine Donegan who is 86th in the latest WAGR rankings and the Irish star, who made the cut in the 2023 Women’s U.S. Open, was a part of the 2023 SEC semifinal team in her first year at LSU after transferring from Indiana.

Rounding out the lineup is sophomore Taylor Riley, whose mother played for the Tigers in the 2005-08 seasons. Taylor’s father is former PGA pro Chris Riley, who is presently head coach of the University of San Diego men’s golf team.

Edit Hertzman, who recently won the individual title at the ULM Invitational with a 7-under par 54-hole score, will serve as the alternate.

LSU is ranked No. 5 in the latest performance rankings which this year emphasizes the following points:
Stroke differential matters; A modest premium for better finishes: Positive points for all finish positions; No advantage or disadvantage for playing in weak or strong events.

The rankings of the teams at present in the SEC is like this: No. 2 South Carolina; No. 4 LSU; No. 9 Arkansas; No. 10 Auburn; No. 13 Ole Miss; No. 15 Florida; No. 16 Texas A&M; No. 20 Vanderbilt, No. 23 Georgia; No. 29 Mississippi State; No. 33 Kentucky; No. 34 Alabama; No. 40 Tennessee; and, No. 76 Missouri.

Individually, 13 SEC golfers are ranked in the top 50 of the performance rankings with four-of-the-top-10 from the league: Lindblad, LSU (1); Maria Jose Marin, Arkansas (2); Julie Lopez Ramirez, Mississippi State (5); Maisie Filler, Florida (6).

South Carolina, LSU and Arkansas will go off in the first wave Friday at 8 a.m. ET (7 a.m. Baton Rouge time) off the first hole. Live scoring for the event is at Updates will be available during the round on Twitter @LSUKent and/or @LSUwomensgolf.

The match play quarterfinals and semifinals will be determined on Monday and the championship match will be on Tuesday. The semifinals will be available on SECN+ and the finals over-the-air on the SEC Network.

Pelican Golf Club – Belleair, Florida
First-Round Tee Waves (Eastern Time)
No. 1
8 a.m. – South Carolina, LSU, Arkansas
8:50 a.m. – Florida, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
9:40 a.m. – Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri

No. 10
8:20 a.m. – Auburn, Ole Miss
9:10 a.m. – Georgia, Mississippi State, Kentucky