No. 1 Purdue wins its first NCAA title – Not only was it a maiden NCAA title for the Boilermakers, but it was a darkhorse victory that should inspire cold-weather schools for years to come. With its single-shot victory, Purdue became just the third team east of the Mississippi (joining Duke and Georgia) to win a national championship on the women’s side.
No. 2 Alabama is the team to beat – Last spring’s NCAA Championship provided some pretty significant foreshadowing for Alabama’s reign at the top of the rankings this fall. Purdue might have had the underdog story locked up, but it was Alabama that outpaced the rest of the field in the final round, scoring a program-best third-place finish. Alabama won two of its four events this fall – flying out of the gate with a win at the NCAA Fall Preview – and never finished worse than sixth.
No. 3 Arizona State competes without a team – The Sun Devils lost Juliana Murcia Ortiz to graduation after a fourth-place finish at the national championship, then saw freshman Jennifer Johnson and junior Jaclyn Sweeney jump ship to join the pro ranks during the summer. Only Carlota Ciganda and Giulia Molinaro remained for the fall season, but head coach Melissa Luellen has since signed five players for spring 2011.
No. 4 Crazy Pac-10 Championship – Conference golf doesn’t get much more unpredictable than the 2010 Pac-10 Championship, where Arizona State had to play without Johnson and sophomore Giulia Molinaro because of illness, UCLA’s Belen Mozo was disqualified for mistakenly playing lift, clean and place, and Arizona won the whole thing without its head coach.
No. 5 Speaking of Arizona… – As former head coach Shelly Haywood attended to a personal family matter for much of the spring season, the Wildcats marched to a stellar postseason that included wins at the Pac-10 Championship and West Regional, and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championship. Former assistant coach Laura Ianello was named head coach soon after the end of the 2009-10 season.
No. 6 Brophy DQ’d for reporting fake scores – Notre Dame senior Annie Brophy was disqualified from the NCAA Central Regional after reporting inaccurate scores to Golfstat volunteers during the final round. Brophy reported a front-nine 30 that made her a hero for the Irish before going the opposite direction and reporting a quadruple-bogey/triple-bogey/bogey on Nos. 10-12.
No. 7 McChrystal emerges as the player to beat – The last anybody heard of Megan McChrystal at the conclusion of the 2009-10 golf season, she had put up a final-round, 8-under 64 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C., to set a school, course and NCAA Championship scoring record. After a quiet summer that included more summer school than tournament action, McChrystal burst onto the scene at the beginning of the fall with a win at the NCAA Fall Preview. The LSU senior finished out the season with a T-4 at the Mason Rudolph and a runner-up finish at the Tar Heel and will take the top ranking in the Golfweek/Sagarins into the spring.
No. 8 Freshman Tubert ties NCAA scoring record – Arkansas’ Emily Tubert posted a first-round 9-under 63 at Boulder Creek (Nev.) Golf Club during the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown that included seven birdies and an eagle. The round tied the NCAA 18-hole scoring record, and it was just Tubert’s third collegiate event. She finished at 11-under 205 to win by five shots.
No. 9 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship drains college field – While certainly an honor for any college player to have the opportunity to represent her country at the WWATC, the event also made for a quiet week in the college game at the end of October. As the four-day team competition raged on in Buenos Aires, Argentina, women’s college golf all but shut down. A total of 38 college players made the trip.
No. 10 Daytona State redefines JUCO golf – The Falcons won their first three events, beating such Division I programs as Stetson, Xavier, Augusta State and Miami as well as defending Division II national champion Nova Southeastern. They ended the season with a second-place finish and another tie for first.