In preparation for the upcoming college season, Golfweek is breaking down the rosters of each of its preseason top 30 teams.
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2011-12 Golfweek rank: 4
Go-to girl: Madelene Sagstrom
Season outlook: The last image of LSU at the end of the spring was a huddle of purple off the side of No. 18 at the Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Tenn. As Alabama and USC were losing shots to par coming down the home stretch of the national championship, LSU was in position to overtake them without lifting a club.
The Tigers finished third for the second consecutive year under head coach Karen Bahnsen – a program best. But much of that team is gone.
Heads turned when Austin Ernst, the 2011 NCAA national champion as a freshman, announced she wouldn’t be coming back for her junior season. She will attend LPGA Qualifying School this fall, then turn pro or transfer to Clemson, depending on her Q-School performance. In addition, Tessa Teachman (T-3 at the NCAA Championship) and Jacqueline Hedwall have graduated.
The responsibility to go low now falls squarely on sophomore Madelene Sagstrom’s shoulders. Her debut season in Baton Rouge shows the Swede can take it. She paced LSU at four events last season, including a fourth-place finish at the SEC Championship. Other returnees with experience are junior Lindsay Gahm, who won the Kentucky Open wire-to-wire this summer, and senior Katrina Hegge. Newcomers include Ali Lucas, a junior transfer from Louisiana-Monroe, plus freshmen Elise Bradley, a three-time Louisiana Junior Amateur champion, and Nadine Dreher, a member of the Austrian national team.