Women's preview: No. 29 Northwestern

Nicole Zhang hits her tee shot at No. 8 during the quarterfinals at the 112th U. S. Women's Amateur Championship. Zhang defeated Sy-Hyun Oh.

Women's Rankings »

1Alison LeeUCLA  69.96 
2Stephanie MeadowAlabama  70.17 
3Gaby LopezArkansas  70.29 
4Noemi JimenezArizona St  70.31 
5Celine BoutierDuke  70.40 

Women's Team Rankings »

1Southern California 70.64  13 
2UCLA 70.83  12 
3Duke 70.89  11 
4Stanford 71.74  13 
5Arizona State 71.75  12 

In the second of our breakdown of the country's 30 best women's college golf squads, we move to No. 29 Northwestern:

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29. Northwestern

2011-12 Golfweek rank: 43

Go-to girl: Nicole Zhang

Season outlook: Nicole Zhang’s name sits somewhat unassumingly at the bottom of the Wildcats' roster. It has been a year since Zhang has played college golf – the Canadian last was seen on the Notre Dame roster, where as a freshman she won her collegiate debut and helped lead the Irish to a record season that included four victories and an NCAA Championship berth.

Now a sophomore at Northwestern, Zhang’s game seems to be even more sharp. She’ll arrive in Chicago after reaching the semifinals at the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

“I haven’t played college golf in a year,” Zhang said at the Women’s Am. “I’m kind of nervous to go back.”

Zhang may be the Wildcats' ace in the hole, but there’s other talent to back her up. Junior Devon Brown and senior Lauren Weaver were the leaders for Northwestern last season, ranking first and second, respectfully, in scoring. With the graduation of another reliable scorer, Alex Lederhausen, there's room for another player to step up. Look for sophomore Brittany Mai to contribute more this season and also keep an eye on freshman Kaitlin Park, who finished her junior career at No. 17 in Golfweek’s rankings.

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Previous capsules

No. 30, North Carolina State

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