Staff picks: NCAA Women’s Championship
Winner: Southern California. The Trojans have been in a good spot all year. They have not been the favorite and are now heading to Wilmington, N.C., with no pressure - if they play to their talent level, they will win. USC got a good postseason start by winning the Central Regional by eight shots over Arizona State. All five Trojans finished in the top 16.
Individual winner: Caroline Hedwall, Oklahoma State. Having quietly climbed to No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, Hedwall, who has won three times this year, has placed in the top 4 in all seven starts this spring.
Winner: Arizona. I’m going to ride the hottest team in the country into the national championship. It’s not like me to pick a West Coast team traveling to the East Coast, but the Wildcats have won two in a row. I’m bringing a hat to throw on the 18th green for the hat trick Arizona would have by closing out the season with three victories in a row.
Individual winner: Cydney Clanton, Auburn. The junior won the Fall Preview by five shots with a 6-under 210 total. I don’t see why Clanton can’t have the same success as she also tries to win Player of the Year.
Winner: Arizona. The Wildcats are the hottest team in women’s golf right now. Their win at the Pac-10s showed they could play with the big dogs, and their West Regional victory proved it wasn’t just a one-time thing.
Individual winner: Carlota Ciganda. The Arizona State sophomore always seems to be near the top when the big tournaments come around. She’s already won two Pac-10 titles and last year’s West Regional. A national title is the natural progression.