Women's Midweek Report: 'Bama youth delivers
Welcome to Golfweek’s Midweek Report. We wanted to use this hump day to update you on all the latest college news and give you a quick glance at what to look ahead to this weekend.
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THE BIG 5
Stories you need to know now...
1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide rallied in the final round of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate to overtake Vanderbilt and LSU. It’s the second consecutive Rucker title for Alabama, and the second victory this year (in addition, Alabama finished the Betsy Rawls Invitational tied for first with Florida, but lost the scorecard playoff). The good news for head coach Mic Potter is that some young players delivered. Freshman Emma Talley was the second lowest Tide player after Stephanie Meadow, and sophomore Daniela Lendl was low in Round 1.
2. LSU: A young Tigers team earned its best finish so far this season with a T-2 at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. Sophomore Madelene Sagstrom led the charge with backup from freshman Elise Bradley. For what should have been a rebuilding season for LSU (the team lost Austin Ernst, Tessa Teachman and Jacqueline Hedwall at the end of last season), the Tigers are looking sharp.
3. Campbell: The Camels just keep winning, and with a victory at the JMU Eagle Landing Invitational, took their win total to five in just eight starts. Big things could happen in postseason. Campbell currently is ranked No. 35 by Golfweek.
4. Oklahoma: When the Sooners win, it’s by a lot. Their most recent title, at the Clover Cup, featured an 18-stroke margin of victory. Oklahoma won by 29 last fall at its own Susie Maxwell Berning Classic, and by eight the following week at the Alamo Invitational.
5. SMU: Another under-the-radar team. After winning the Central District Invitational on Feb. 19, SMU finished runner-up to Oklahoma at the Clover Cup. Head coach Jeanne Sutherland’s players are young but mentally tough.
1. Noemi Jimenez, Arizona State: The Darius Rucker Intercollegiate title was sophomore Jimenez’s second consecutive victory this spring, which makes her the first Sun Devil to accomplish that feat since Louise Stahl in 2005.
2. Kristina Merkle, Tulsa: The senior used a final-round 66 at the Clover Cup to climb from 10th to first. She was six shots behind SMU’s Jenny Haglund when the day began, and ended up beating defending NCAA Champion Chirapat Jao-Javanil by two. It’s Merkle’s second career college victory.
3. Savana Bezdicek, Northern Arizona: Bezdicek won the Rio Verde Invitational for her second individual title despite being only a freshman. She also led the team to victory.
4. Amy Anderson, North Dakota State: Put another tally mark under the Anderson win column. Victory at the Jackrabbit Invitational is individual title No. 17 for the senior. It’s the same number of total victories Juli Inkster earned while playing for San Jose State.
5. Stephanie Meadow, Alabama: The Crimson Tide junior gets a shout-out for the final-round 67 that helped bump Alabama to the top of the Darius Rucker leaderboard.
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THE BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
1. USC: DNP
2. Duke: DNP
3. Oklahoma: Won, Clover Cup
4. Alabama: Won, Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
5. North Carolina: T-5 Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
How the top 5 individuals in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
1. Kelsey Vines, Oklahoma State: DNP
2. Annie Park, USC: DNP
3. Kimberly Kaufman, Texas Tech: T-5, Clover Cup
4. Mariah Stackhouse, Stanford: DNP
5. Stephanie Meadow, Alabama: Third, Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
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Tournament name (team winner; individual winner)
Darius Rucker Intercollegiate (Alabama; Noemi Jimenez, Arizona State)
Clover Cup (Oklahoma; Kristina Merkle, Tulsa)
Purdue Mount Vintage (Coastal Carolina; Casey Kennedy, Augusta State)
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THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Suntrust Gator Women’s Invitational
Mark Bostick GC, Gainesville, Fla.
The field: Alabama, Baylor, Florida International, Florida, Florida State, Kent State, Miami, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, San Diego State, South Florida, Chattanooga, Virginia
The skinny: The best East Coast event this week. Florida will be tough at home, but Alabama and Oklahoma are coming off victories. North Carolina and Baylor also deserve a look.
Insperity Lady Jaguar Invitational
Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga.
The field: Augusta State, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Georgia State, Illinois, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Lamar, Maryland, Memphis, Notre Dame, Purdue, Southern Mississippi, Texas, Texas-San Antonio, Vanderbilt
The skinny: Vanderbilt and Purdue are the heavy hitters in this field. Also keep an eye on host Augusta State.