SCOTTSDALE, AZ. (BRPROUD) – The third-ranked LSU women’s golf team looks to break through to the top eight and advance to match play when the 2023 NCAA Championships begins on Friday at the Grayhawk Golf Club’s Raptor Course in Arizona.
But a lot has to happen for the Tigers while on the road to that Top 8 spot.
This is the third and final year that Scottsdale will host the championship before it moves to California for a three-year stay. LSU is also making its third straight appearance here in Scottsdale, one of 10 teams in this year’s field to advance to the championships all three years.
For LSU, it is the first time the Tigers have made it to the championship tournament in three straight years since 1999-2001.
In fact, another 10 teams are making their second appearance in Scottsdale and the remaining 10 teams are traveling the “Road to Grayhawk” for the first time.
The Tigers are No. 3 in both the Golfstat performance rankings and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association coaches’ poll and will be in the preferred afternoon-morning pairings for the first two rounds of the tournament.
This year’s event is also bigger as 30 teams will take part in the championships, equaling what the men’s field has been for the last several years.
LSU comes in off a somewhat dramatic rally in the final nine holes that qualified them for the championships from the NCAA Regional in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. With five qualifying spots on the line, LSU started the day in a tie for seventh place, five shots off the number.
LSU was eight shots behind the fifth spot entering the final nine holes and slowly rallied with an under par final nine holes to end up getting the fifth spot by one shot.
LSU senior Latanna Stone fired three consecutive rounds of 1-under par 71 to earn co-medalist honors, her second title of the 2022-23 golf season.
Senior Ingrid Lindblad would birdie three of the last six holes in the run for a 1-under round of 71, while junior Carla Tejedo had a 3-under par 69 in the final round.
Lindblad, Stone and Tejedo and grad student Alden Wallace have played the Raptor Course over the course of two years in the NCAA Championships and will have experience with a course that doesn’t look much different other than the rough appears to be more penal, similar to 2021. Lindblad was third a year ago (72-hole score of 1-under 287) and Tejedo has been in the top 25 both years.
Also on the traveling roster for the Tigers is sophomore Aine’ Donegan, who earned second-team All-SEC honors after transferring from Indiana, and All-SEC freshman Edit Hertzman.
Lindblad, the No. 2 ranked amateur in the world, was named this week to the final 10 watch list for the ANNIKA Award, and Stone earned first-team All-SEC honors and is ranked 29th in the World Amateur Rankings, moving up eight spots after her win in the regional.
“We’ve played the par 3s there really well,” said LSU fifth-year coach Garrett Runion earlier this week on the LSU Podcast Play-by-Play as he referenced LSU’s numbers in the previous two visits to Grayhawk. “We’ve played the par 5s okay. We know we need to make our money on the par 5s and play the par 4s a lot better to advance. For us, it’s a lot different. We have some girls who have never seen the desert. So just staring at the desert, some people it looks wide open, and some people make it more narrow for them. It’s a good course, it’s a fair course. You have to watch how the ball flies, especially in the afternoon.”
“You’ve got the mountains out there. You know it is going to be hot. You have to drive it well. One year, they had a lot of rough and it was mowed in really narrow. You have to play well no matter where you go and have all aspects of your game,” said the 2023 SEC Coach of the Year.
LSU will play in the first group off the 10th hole in the afternoon wave of 15 teams on Friday in an all-star pairing with top two seeds Stanford and Wake Forest. The wave will begin at 1:30 p.m. CT and will feature seven of the 30 golfers in the Golfstat rankings.
The three teams will play together again at 8:10 a.m. CT on Saturday morning.
Teams will be trying to make the first cut after 54 holes when the field is cut in half to 15 teams for Monday’s nationally-televised final round of stroke play when the Top 8 teams for match play and the national individual champion will be crowned. The match play quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday and for two teams the national championship match is set for next Wednesday.
Live scoring updates for the tournament can be found at Golfstat.com under the NCAA D1 Championship block and updates for the LSU team will be available @LSUwomensgolf. Notes during the round and the “Geaux Lowe” column throughout the tournament can be found @LSUKent.
First Round Tee Time Waves (Friday, May 19)
No. 1 Tee
8:10 a.m. CT— Arizona, Oklahoma State, Virginia
9:27 a.m. CT— TCU, Tulsa, New Mexico
No. 10 Tee
8:10 a.m. CT— Clemson, SMU, Duke
9:05 a.m. CT— Georgia, Texas Tech, Michigan State
10 a.m. CT— NC State, Oregon State, Augusta
No. 1 Tee
1:52 p.m. CT— South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M
2:47 p.m. CT— Texas, Baylor, Northwestern
No. 10 Tee
1:30 p.m. CT— Stanford, Wake Forest, LSU
2:25 p.m. CT— San Jose, Florida State, USC
3:20 p.m. CT— Pepperdine, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)