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LSU Women's Golf Season Comes To An End In NCAA Quarterfinals

Ingrid Lindblad Off The Tee In Her Final NCAA Match At LSU

by Kent Lowe
LSU Women's Golf Season Comes To An End In NCAA Quarterfinals

CARLSBAD, California – The season run of the No. 3 ranked LSU women’s golf team came to an end Tuesday, falling in the match play quarterfinals of the NCAA D1 Golf Championships at the OMNI La Costa Resort & Spa North Course.

The Tigers lost to Oregon, 3-2, in the best-of-5-player match that came down to the final match on the 18th green.

For LSU it concludes one of their most successful seasons that included a first-time appearance in the match play quarterfinals.

The season ending match also ended the spectacular career of fifth-year players Ingrid Lindblad, Latanna Stone and four-year player Carla Tejedo. The trio rewrote the record book in many spots over their careers and are just three of six players to have appeared in four NCAA Championships.

The match had a lot of the volatility that was hoped for in the renovation of the North Course at La Costa.

“That’s match play,” said LSU Coach Garrett Runion. “They (Oregon) played well and we had two matches come down to the 18th hole. If one of those flips or goes the other way, it’s a different story and maybe we have tears of joy instead of tears of sadness. I think it was a closing of a window with our three seniors, and that makes it a little tougher to swallow. But I’m super proud of how we played. Carla (Tejedo) was 3-down with three to go and got it to the 18th hole. Aine (Donegan) 2-down with two to go and got it to the 18th hole. I’m just proud of the way they fought. It’s match play and there’s only one team that is kind of happy at the end of this thing. I’d like to look at the big picture of the whole season, and we did some pretty cool things this year and should be very proud of what we accomplished.”

It appeared early on that the three final matches could be the deciding factor in the proceedings as Taylor Riley of LSU dropped a 7&6 decision to Minori Nagano who was rolling in long putts all over the course.

Both Stone and Lindblad were able to gain early advantages in their matches with Stone going 3UP after eight holes and Lindblad taking a 1UP advantage with a birdie on the fourth hole.

Tejedo and Ching-Tzu Chen went back and forth with the match all square after six holes, before Chen was able to win the sixth with a par, the 10th with a birdie and the 11th with a par to go 3UP for the Ducks.

With the match heading down the stretch and the match appearing to near an end, Tejedo made a tremendous final run, chipping in for a birdie on the par 4 15th and then a birdie on the par 3 16th to cut the Oregon margin to 1Up. But Tejedo couldn’t get part the Oregon golfer on either 17 and 18 as both players parred both holes to give Oregon a 2-0 advantage in the match with the 1UP win.

Quickly then, the third and fourth matches fell LSU’s way. Stone, after seeing her lead drop to 1UP after the 12th hole, used a par on 15 and then a birdie to 16 to get the margin back to 3UP with only two to play to win over Oregon’s Ting-Hsuan Huang, 3&2.

Lindblad advanced her margin to 3UP after birdies on the 11th and 12th holes against Oregon’s Karen Tsuru. Tsuru cut the margin to 2UP on the next hole but Lindblad came right back to birdie the 14th and the 15th holes to end the match 4&3 to make it 2-2.

That left it up to Aine Donegan and Kiara Romero who had a highly competitive match with lots of big putts and shots throughout. Donegan won the first two holes but Romero was able to come back and tie the match as the pair headed to the final nine holes.

A bogey by Donegan gave Romero and Oregon a 1UP lead after 10 holes, and while not winning holes 11 and 12 the junior from LSU made an up and down for bogey on 11 after having to take an unplayable from the rocks behind the green. On the par 3 12th, she again got up and down from the green’s edge to keep the Oregon advantage at one hole.

A par on the par 4 13th tied the match but Oregon took the lead back on 14th. Donegan made a long birdie putt on 15, but Romero dropped hers in to halve the whole. Romero would win the 16th with a birdie two and put the match dormie with two to play.

But there were still fireworks remaining on the par 4 17th when Donegan rolled a birdie putt in from some 20 feet to give LSU life going to the final hole. Donegan was unable to make her long birdie putt and the hole was halved in pars giving Oregon the 1UP win and advanced the Ducks to the semifinals.

It ended up an all-Pac 12 semifinal as in other matches UCLA defeated Texas A&M, 3-0; Stanford defeated Auburn, 3-0; and, USC defeated Clemson, 3-1.

While the day ended in sadness for LSU, the 2023-24 women’s golf season was one of a lot of joy for a program that will end up finishing in a tie for fifth with the loss in the quarterfinals.

“We won three times including a NCAA Regional, which those don’t come easily and they don’t hand those things out,” said Runion. “We made it to the semifinals of the SEC Match Play. I’ll remember those times and I’ll remember the wins. We’ve got a very good team and we’ll probably finish in the top-five in the country (in the final rankings), and that’s not easy to do. I think there’s a lot of positives to take from this season. I told Ingrid (Lindblad) that I couldn’t hug her, Latanna (Stone) or Carla that long or I would probably start to cry, and I’m not a big crier. They mean so much, and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for this program to help us become a mainstay in the top 10.”

Runion also discussed the new home for the NCAA Championships, which will continue at La Costa for the next two years.

“We had a great experience here,” he said “It was nice staying on property. It was a tough championship golf course that tested your driving ability, your approach shots were very key, and your putting and chipping. I think you saw you could make some birdies, but you could also make some big numbers. Because of that, there was a wide range of scores. It definitely was a championship test and we had a great time here.”

The LSU Tigers men’s team will have their practice round on a much longer layout at La Costa on Thursday before they make their first national championship appearance since 2019 starting on Friday.