Notebook: A look at the season's best players

Duke's Lindy Duncan

Duke's Lindy Duncan

Women's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Alison LeeUCLA  69.59 
2Annie ParkUSC  69.73 
3Yu LiuDuke  69.81 
4Stephanie MeadowAlabama  70.00 
5Gaby LopezArkansas  70.01 

Women's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Southern California 70.32 
2UCLA 70.60 
3Duke 70.79 
4Stanford 71.49  10 
5Arkansas 71.52 

Now that the regular season is all but over, the race for Player of the Year is heating up. Duke’s Lindy Duncan has the lead, but here is a look at the stats and personalities of the next nine players in the Golfweek rankings (player listed in order of ranking):

1.) Lindy Duncan, Duke

Season victories: 3

Starts: 6

Top 10s: 6

Worst finish: Eighth, Sun Trust Gator Women’s Invite

The skinny: A very steady player with an incredible amount of drive. Able and willing to spot a weakness and work hard on it. This season’s victories bring her career win total to five.

2.) Giulia Molinaro, Arizona State

Season victories: 1

Starts: 8

Top 10s: 6

Worst finish: T-14, NCAA Fall Preview/Stanford Intercollegiate

The skinny: The “old gal” on Arizona State’s team, and thus the leader. The only senior, Molinaro of Italy has filled those shoes well, leading the team nearly every week.

3.) Erynne Lee, UCLA

Season victories: 0

Starts: 7

Top 10s: 5

Worst finish: T-25, Stanford Intercollegiate

The skinny: Burst into her freshman year by winning team qualifying, and thus playing the No. 1 spot in the Bruins’ first start at the NCAA Fall Preview. A good bet for Freshman of the Year.

4.) Lee Lopez, UCLA

Season victories: 1

Starts: 8

Top 10s: 7

Worst finish: T-20, NCAA Fall Preview

The skinny: Lopez is a low-key player who might be described as sneaky good. Doesn’t call a lot of attention to herself but has played every tournament for top-ranked UCLA, and currently has the lowest scoring average on the team.

5.) Brooke Pancake, Alabama

Season victories: 0

Starts: 8

Top 10s: 4

Worst finish: T-34, SEC/Pac-12 Challenge

The skinny: Good head on her shoulders, always can be counted on to contribute for the team. How driven is Pancake? Check her grades. She won the the Edith Cummings Golf Award last year, given to the NCAA upperclassman with the highest GPA who also is an NGCA All-American.

6.) Sophia Popov, USC

Season victories: 1

Starts: 6

Top 10s: 3

Worst finish: T-51, Ping/ASU Invitational

The skinny: Has battled a wrist injury, but the long-hitting Popov is an asset to the Trojans. Seems to be on the rise after winning the Battle at Rancho Bernardo.

7.) Cassy Isagawa, Oregon

Season victories: 0

Starts: 8

Top 10s: 6

Worst finish: T-39, SEC/Pac-12 Challenge

The skinny: Here’s a freshman just waiting for the inevitable break-through. Her list of top 10s is impressive, which shows her consistency from week-to-week. Said recently there isn’t one particular thing holding her back from victory -- expect it to happen soon.

8.) Tiffany Lua, UCLA

Season victories: 0

Starts: 8

Top 10s: 7

Worst finish: T-24, SEC/Pac-12 Challenge

The skinny: Not a long hitter (though she’s increased her distance and reigned in her misses in her three years at UCLA), but makes up for it with a very precise short game. A boisterous player who is good for team morale.

9.) Emily Tubert, Arkansas

Season victories: 0

Starts: 7

Top 10s: 4

Worst finish: T-20, Darius Rucker Intercollegiate

The skinny: Not nearly as explosive as she was during her freshman year, but Tubert’s ability to score (set up mostly by her extremely long tee ball and good temperament) make her a player to watch week in, week out.

10.) Stephanie Meadow, Alabama

Season victories: 2

Starts: 8

Top 10s: 4

Worst finish: T-49, NCAA Fall Preview

The skinny: Landed on the Alabama roster and found immediate success, recording three wins last spring that included the NCAA East Regional. A player who obviously knows how to get the job done (five career titles in less than three years more than proves that, and that doesn’t even consider her junior golf record). Don’t be surprised to see a postseason victory, or two, out of Meadow.

• • •

Tis the season: Conference play picks up this week, and we're keeping track of results. Find that page here

• • •

Five questions with Duke junior Lindy Duncan, who won the third title of the season April 8 at the Bryan National Collegiate. Duncan also is Golfweek’s top-ranked player.

1. You had a few bogeys, struggled a little to start the final round but rebounded well. How did you hold it together to win another tournament?

It was a really interesting round actually, I still can’t put my finger on it. I was hitting my driver really straight, I hit almost all the fairways and I was hitting it really long so I had a lot of short clubs into the greens and it took me a little bit to get adjusted, the greens were actually really firm. I was hitting a lot of wedges that would land pretty good but then they would just take a hard bounce and kind of go over the green so I was really forced to get a lot of up-and-downs. Luckily I just stayed really patient and I’ve been working so hard on my short game and putting that I had quite a bit of confidence. I birdied 17 and 18, that gave me a little bit of a breather. I felt like I was probably pretty close to the lead if not in the lead so I just focused on hitting fairways and greens from there on out.

2. This is the third title this season, the fifth of your career. Are they all different in your mind?

I think that the (NCAA Fall) Preview was a really special one just because there were so many good players there, so many good teams, probably the best field of the fall so winning that one was really special and it was also my first one of this year. Every win is just really special and really cool. Any time you can win is just a really grateful experience. I would say that the Preview was a big step for me because it was such a big field and it was a little bit of a break-through for me.

3. You’re starting to flirt with some of the Duke individual records (sixth most career wins, currently maintains lowest scoring average). Is there a Duke player that you consider your hero or who sticks out to you?

When I was being recruited, Amanda (Blumenhurst) was the queen of college golf so I was always very interested in her story. I kind of learned a lot about her from Coach (Dan) Brooks. I don’t know her very well, I saw her at the (U.S. Women’s) Open a little bit. Also, Jennie Lee is really cool, and then also I don’t know Brittany Lang. She only went here for two years but she does really well on the LPGA so those are the three most current players. I keep track of all of them.

4. You’re the top-ranked player in Golfweek’s rankings right now. How does that feel?

It’s realy cool. I just feel really lucky. There’s a lot of great players out there right now and we’re all just kind of pushing each other to get better and I think a lot of us want to play professionally so we see Yani Tseng and all those girls out there are doing amazing. We really are being pushed to get better.

5. Your team kicked the winless streak this season, is there less pressure on you as an individual now?

Every tournament I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and then if the team plays well and then I play well, then it’s just a great combination. I try not to worry about it too much and everybody has to take care of business themselves. I think that after the win we all were just kind of like, finally we got that win. That was definitely a big boost of confidence, but every tournament no one is going to give you anything. You have to play well in every tournament.

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