Golfweek’s preseason top 10 teams: Women

Stephanie Kono

Stephanie Kono

Women's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Alison LeeUCLA  69.59 
2Annie ParkUSC  69.73 
3Yu LiuDuke  69.81 
4Stephanie MeadowAlabama  70.00 
5Gaby LopezArkansas  70.01 

Women's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Southern California 70.32 
2UCLA 70.60 
3Duke 70.79 
4Stanford 71.49  10 
5Arkansas 71.52 

1.) UCLA

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 2

Go-to girl: Stephanie Kono

Can win national title if . . . The Bruins mirror last year’s national champions. Four players from the victorious 2011 team return to L.A. this fall, along with a pair of touted freshmen (Erynne Lee and Kyle Roig) and a benchwarmer (Brianna Do), who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links over the summer. This might be head coach Carrie Forsyth’s deepest team yet. Even better, they all get along. As head of one of the best programs in the country, Forsyth has the luxury of passing on a talented player who doesn’t have the right personality to match. The competition on this squad will be intense, but they have the right chemistry to make it work in their favor.

Forsyth says: “I try to find players who really enjoy competition and want to be part of something bigger than themselves. I don’t always get the No. 1 recruit in the country; nobody does. There’s not enough No. 1s to go around. It’s about having a good mix of players. . . . We’re lucky we’re at a place now where we can be picky.”

2.) USC

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 1

Go-to girl: Sophia Popov

Can win national title if . . . The Trojans’ two freshmen, Doris Chen and Kristen Park, deliver the kind of depth crosstown rival UCLA boasts.

3.) Alabama

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 3

Go-to girl: Stephanie Meadow

Can win national title if . . . The bottom of the lineup pulls its weight. Meadow and senior Brooke Pancake provide a strong 1-2 punch.

4.) California

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 6

Go-to girl: Joanne Lee

Can win national title if . . . Lee steps up big in May, and the Bears find a consistent fifth player. They welcome two freshmen, including Jo Ee Kok of Singapore, this fall.

5.) North Carolina

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 12

Go-to girl: Catherine O’Donnell

Can win national title if . . . It’s a team effort. The Tar Heels don’t have a superstar, but they’re loaded with potential. Senior Allie White holds the key.

6.) Duke

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 8

Go-to girl: Lindy Duncan

Can win national title if . . . Junior Courtney Ellenbogen rediscovers the swing that made her an AJGA first-team All-American. She’s so much better than No. 236, her year-end ranking.

7.) Tennessee

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 10

Go-to girl: Erica Popson

Can win national title if . . . The Vols show up to play in Nashville. Tennessee turned in one of its worst performances last year at nationals (13th). With everyone back, they should have learned something.

8.) LSU

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 5

Go-to girl: Austin Ernst

Can win national title if . . . A couple of transfers (Lindsay Gahm of Indiana, Katrina Hegge of San Francisco) make themselves at home in Baton Rouge, and Ernst’s confident swagger rubs off.

9.) Virginia

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 7

Go-to girl: Brittany Altomare

Can win national title if . . . Everyone not named Altomare has a career week. The Cavs add three freshmen to the roster. Someone needs to replace Calle Nielson, who graduated.

10.) Arizona

2010-11 Golfweek rank: 9

Go-to girl: Isabelle Boineau

Can win national title if . . . Everything clicks at nationals. Another team that lacks a big name but is solid throughout, with four seniors and two promising freshmen (Paige Spiranac and Andrea Vilarasau).

• • •

Nos. 11-30, with final 2010-11 Golfweek rank:

11.) Georgia, 19

12.) Arizona State, 11

13.) Florida, 18

14.) Arkansas, 13

15.) Wake Forest, 14

16.) Texas A&M, 24

17.) Purdue, 4

18.) Vanderbilt, 17

19.) Michigan State, 16

20.) Pepperdine, 20

21.) Auburn, 15

22.) TCU, 33

23.) Texas, 22

24.) Iowa State, 21

25.) Stanford, 28

26.) Ohio State, 30

27.) South Carolina, 32

28.) Florida State, 29

29.) Colorado, 36

30.) Tulane, 23

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