DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The three women’s regionals kick off around the country Thursday, so consider this your primer for the beginning of postseason play:
1.) Missing from action: Danielle Kang is out of the Pepperdine lineup. The 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion became academically ineligible at the conclusion of the spring semester.
Kang, ranked 14th by Golfweek, was the team’s best player. She has been replaced in the lineup by freshman Danielle Gillaspy. The Waves are the sixth seed in the NCAA West Regional.
“Pepperdine is in the past for me,” Kang wrote in a text. “I’m focusing on the future. Turning pro after the (Amateur).”
When asked if she was disappointed not to be playing with her team this week in Washington, Kang said “Nope, everything happens for a reason.”
Kang is eligible to play in all three remaining LPGA majors based on her Amateur victory. She defeated Jessica Korda last August at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club.
Also in the West, USC junior Lisa McCloskey will be absent from the roster as she recovers from a rib injury suffered during the Pac-10 Championship.
2.) Big boost: Michigan State rallied around its lone senior, Aimee Neff, and vowed that she would not be part of a team that finished runner-up to Purdue at the Big Ten Championship all four years of her career.
“Believe it or not, that served as big motivation,” head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll said.
State defeated Purdue, which didn’t lose a single player from its NCAA Championship, by five strokes April 24 at the conference championship.
Slobodnik-Stoll said her team was on the cusp of putting it together all season and couldn’t have timed it better. The Spartans also won the Lady Buckeye Invitational the week prior.
Michigan State enters the East Regional at LPGA International seeded sixth. The Spartans are adjusting to Florida’s warm temperatures and hard fairways, something they haven’t seen much of this spring.
Now that Michigan State has played against a championship Purdue team for four rounds and come out on top, Slobodnik-Stoll said her players must believe they can beat any school, any given week.
Note: Only the 2011 spring season results were used to compile these rankings.
- Southern California
- Wake Forest
- Arizona State
- Iowa State
- Michigan State
- Texas A&M
- North Carolina
- Florida State
- UC Davis
- Notre Dame
3.) Regional exams: Kelly Shon has been known to bring her study guides out to the course during a 36-tournament round. When you’re a freshman at Princeton taking classes such as neuroscience, downtime is precious. The campus is in the midst of its “reading period,” otherwise known as dead week.
“Even today I was making my outline in my head,” said Shon, who has two lengthy papers due next Tuesday and a pair of final exams on Thursday and Friday.
4.) Looking for a team that may be playing really well this spring? Using results only from the spring season, there are a few trends that are worth mentioning.
• Out of all the teams that will be playing in the postseason, Portland State has had the most successful spring when compared with the fall season. Portland State is a long shot to advance to the national championship, but the Vikings’ spring season is much better than their overall ranking. The winners of the Big Sky Championship check in at No. 43 in the spring rankings – 27 spots better than where they currently sit at 70th.
• Oklahoma State, which lost its top two players during the winter break (Victoria Park and Courtney McKim) was selected as an at-large bid and used the fall season to build its strength. Oklahoma State was ranked No. 63 this spring.
• During March Madness, the question of, ‘What have you done lately?’ is a popular one. If that were the case in women’s golf, Long Beach State should be playing this week. The 49ers, who probably would have been one of the next teams selected for regionals, are ranked 40th in the spring-only rankings. Florida International is just the opposite. FIU – which received an at-large bid – is ranked No. 68 in the spring-season rankings, and is No. 69 overall.
• Stanford is better this spring than its overall ranking suggests. The Cardinal are No. 17 this spring. NCAA Championship host Texas A&M is playing better this spring also, checking in at No. 20.
• Many would still predict LSU to advance, but the Tigers are not playing as well this spring as their overall ranking suggests. LSU is No. 14 in the spring-season rankings and is the No. 3 seed in the Central Regional.
• Sometimes teams get neither better nor worse in the spring. Eighteen teams are ranked the same using their spring-season ranking compared with their overall ranking.
5.) Here we go, Blue Devils: Duke enters the postseason in unfamiliar territory after going winless this season. The Blue Devils, No. 7 in Golfweek‘s rankings, own the best regional record of any team in the country as they’ve claimed seven regional titles in school history.
Duke drew the No. 2 seed in the Central Regional, but all seven regional titles were won in the East.
– Lance Ringler and Julie Williams contributed.