Eyes set on trip to College Station
Notes: Central Okla. jumped from fourth to first in latest poll
By next Saturday 48 Division I women’s golf teams will be preparing for summer. Twenty-four, and a handful of individuals, will be setting reservations for the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships May 18-21 in College Station, Texas.
Defending champion Purdue returns all five players and enters the postseason ranked fourth behind Southern California, UCLA and Alabama.
The Boilers, second to surprise Michigan State at the Big Ten Championships, have a pair of players ranked inside Golfweek’s Top 25 – Numa Gulyanamitta (17) and Laura Gonzales (21). Gulyanamitta was the only player under par at the Big Tens.
Purdue will tee it up with No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 California and No. 10 Arizona State at the East Regional in Daytona Beach, Fla., May 5-7.
The top-ranked individual in the East Region is Arizona State’s Carlota Ciganda with Alabama’s Brooke Pancake and Stephanie Meadow also members of Golfweek’s Top 10.
The top-ranked Lady Trojans lead the West Regional in Auburn, Wash. Playing without top individual Lisa McCloskey due to injury during the final round, USC held on to win the Pac-10 Championships with four players. Freshman Sophia Popov, ranked second, shot a final-round 2-under 70 and beat UCLA’s Tiffany Lua in a playoff for medalist honors. USC’s Rachel Morris, after rounds of 76 and 79, turned in a final round 73.
McCloskey, at No. 4, is one of three USC starters ranked in the top five. Lizette Salas is No. 3. Top-ranked Marta Silva of Georgia, 10th-ranked Erica Popson of Tennessee and Auburn’s No. 11 Cydney Clanton are also in the field.
No. 8 Virginia, No. 9 Arizona and No. 11 Tennessee join USC in Washington.
No. 2 UCLA, No. 6 LSU and No. 7 Duke lead the Central Regional field at Notre Dame. The Lady Bruins have three players ranked among the nation’s Top 25 – Stephanie Kono (12), Tiffany Lua (16) and Lee Lopez (20). Lua lost to Popov in a playoff at the Pac-10 Championships.
LSU’s Megan McChrystal is ranked fifth with Duke’s Lindy Duncan at No. 9.
Big 12 champion Texas is also in the field. UT’s Madison Pressel, sister of LPGA touring pro Morgan Pressel, was the medalist at the Big 12 tourney.
Morehead State, in just its third year of competing in DI women’s golf, won the Ohio Valley Conference title to qualify for its first postseason. Butler (Central), Texas-El Paso (West) and Texas-San Antonio (West) also qualified for the first time.
Division II also hits regional play next week with four nine-team tournaments plus four invited individuals at each site. The top-three teams and three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the DII Championships in Allendale, Mich., May 11-14.
Nova Southeastern has won back-to-back titles and also returns 2010 medalist Sandra Changkija. The top-ranked DII female averages 72.33 per round, a full two strokes clear of the second-ranked Melanie Audette of Florida Southern.
On May 2, the Division III Women’s Golf Committee will select 19 teams and seven individuals to compete at the DIII Championships, May 10-13, at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. Methodist has won 11 consecutive DIII women’s trophies.
Need to Know
• The Division II men also tee off in regional play next week (May 2-4). Eight regions at four sites will send the top-five teams and top-two individuals not on qualifying squads to the University of North Alabama for the DII Championships, May 16-20.
• Central Oklahoma jumped from fourth to first in the latest Golf Coaches Association rankings with Lynn, Chico State, West Florida and Abilene Christian rounding out the top-five. Defending champion Florida Southern dropped out of the Top 25 this week. Abilene Christian’s Alex Carpenter is the top-ranked male in Division II, averaging 70.67 every time he tees it up.
• Top-ranked Oklahoma State wrapped up its fifth consecutive Big 12 Conference championship on Wednesday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. The Cowboys, now with 53 overall conference trophies, were clear of second-place Texas A&M by 13 shots on the links-style layout. OSU’s Morgan Hoffman won his second league medalist title finishing at even-par 280. Teammate Kevin Tway, the second-ranked individual in the country, was second at 5-over 285. Tway, the son of PGA touring pro Bob Tway, opened the tournament with a 4-under 66 but could not break par throughout the final three rounds. The top-ranked individual, OSU’s Peter Uihlein, finished eight shots back in a tie for fourth.
• Two players ranked outside the Top 100 – Missouri’s Stuart Ballingall and Texas Tech’s Chandler Rusk – tied with Uihlein at 288.
• Texas Tech’s Will Griffin and Texas’ Toni Hakula, also ranked outside No. 100, tied for seventh in a tournament that saw the 60-player field average 74.8.