Next up on our women’s 2014 fall countdown, No. 28 Clemson:
Editor’s note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Julie Williams, as he looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won’t be available until a couple of the weeks into the fall season.
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Preseason rank: 28
Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 22
2013-14 in review: In its inaugural season, Clemson established itself as one of the top programs in women’s college golf. The Tigers never finished outside the top 5 in their first eight tournaments as standout Ashlan Ramsey won twice and was runner-up twice. Clemson lost momentum to end the spring season, finishing 13th at the NCAA West Regional to miss the NCAA Championship.
Notable departures: Ashlan Ramsey
Key returners: Sloan Shanahan, McKenzie Talbert
Newcomers of note: Marisa Messana
Circled on fall calendar: Stanford Intercollegiate
Fall outlook: The key for Clemson is to find a way to replace Ramsey, who turned professional at the end of her freshman year. Ramsey was a reliable low scorer, but Shanahan or Talbert could step into that role. A young Tiger team will take a year of experience into this season, a luxury it didn’t have a year ago. Head coach J.T. Horton also has expanded the schedule to include stops outside the Southeast, including trips to the Stanford Intercollegiate and the Puerto Rico Classic. Those will be learning experiences, but don’t be shocked if Clemson contends in both.