No. 1 Alabama
2011-12 Golfweek rank: 2
Go-to girl: Stephanie Meadow
Season outlook: The bottom of the Crimson Tide’s roster must continue to deliver if Alabama is going to defend its national title. Alabama has its impact players in Stephanie Meadow (Curtis Cup heroine, Ladies British Amateur champ, Northern Ireland wunderkind) and Jennifer Kirby (reliable Canadian with an uncanny ability to score), but they don’t have to carry the team on their shoulders. That much was obvious at last year’s NCAA Championship, when No. 4 player Hannah Collier helped deliver a national title with her final-round 70. A player who had struggled to break 90 one year previous, Collier ended last season with a 74.31 stroke average. That’s the thing about Alabama: It’s a great place to improve. With that trio, plus touted freshman Emma Talley, head coach Mic Potter again plans to use every start as preparation for the NCAA finals. Look where that approach got the Tide last year.
Potter says: Liken this year’s squad to the Alabama football program, which has won two of the past three national titles. “There’s the thing we’ve got to battle: Everyone wants to beat us. . . . My philosophy is we are preparing for that pressure situation we had at the NCAAs every time we play.”