Women’s College Golf

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Julie Williams

WOLCOTT, Colo. – For a big-hitter from the East Coast, high-altitude golf presents an endless green light. Tennessee sophomore Hannah Pietila is that player. She can hit every par 5 in two at Red Sky Golf Club.

During the second round of the Golfweek Women’s Conference Challenge, Pietila didn’t even take full advantage of that length. She was 2 over on the par 5s Monday and still shot 2-over 74. Pietila, at even par for 36 holes, is tied for third with teammate A.J. Newell, a fellow long hitter.

“I like to hit it further so it’s ...

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Brentley Romine
Furman women's head coach Kelley Hester and the Paladins won the 2014 Lady Paladin Invitational.
Furman women's head coach Kelley Hester and the Paladins won the 2014 Lady Paladin Invitational.

Final scores

• • •

Furman captured its own Lady Paladin Invitational in record-breaking fashion Tuesday.

Not only did sophomore Taylor Totland win medalist honors with a tournament-record 7-under 209, but the Paladins also set a new event record with a 4-under 860, besting the 865 total recorded by Wisconsin last season.

Furman won by 22 shots over runner-up Wake Forest while Totland was five shots better than second-place Jennifer Peng of Yale. The Furman trio of Alice Chen, Laura Demarco and Valentina Romero tied for seventh.

"I'm absolutely overwhelmed by the performance of this team," Furman head coach Kelley Hester said ...

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Categories: College, Furman Paladins, Women
Julie Williams
From left, Illinois State's Abby Luchtenburg, head coach Darby Sligh and Brianna Cooper setting up live scoring on the 10th tee at Red Sky Golf Club.
From left, Illinois State's Abby Luchtenburg, head coach Darby Sligh and Brianna Cooper setting up live scoring on the 10th tee at Red Sky Golf Club.

Our Julie Williams is on the road this season covering the Golfweek Collegiate Series. This is the latest installment in blogging her road trip.

• • •

WOLCOTT, Colo. – Volunteers are sometimes hard to come by in college golf, and it can take a small army of them to man a live-scoring operation. A new movement in scoring eliminates that problem, and turns the game into a self-sufficient enterprise: Put live scoring in players’ hands.

Player scoring is a divided landscape because it means players have access to cell phones during the round. One player in each group is named the scorer for ...

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September 23, 2014 | 12:28 p.m.

Player of the week: Sandy Choi, Duke

Duke sophomore Sandy Choi eagled the par-5 18th for a one-shot win over Wake Forest’s Sierra Sims, UCLA’s Alison Lee and Bronte Law at the Powerade Cougar Classic on Sept. 16. This was Choi’s first collegiate victory, shooting 69-68-68 for an 11-under 205 total.

September 23, 2014 | 12:24 p.m.

Team of the week: Vanderbilt

Junior Jenny Hahn led the Vanderbilt Commodores to their first Mason Rudolph Championship title since 2002 on Sept. 21. The host school beat out runner-up LSU by 11 strokes at the Vanderbilt Legends South Course in Franklin, Tenn. Hahn finished at 5-under 211 (72-68-71) winning medalist honors by three strokes.

September 22, 2014 | 10:26 p.m.

Notebook: A.J. Newell relishes Red Sky, more

Julie Williams
A. J. Newell at No. 18 during the Golfweek Conference Challenge at Red Sky Golf Club.
A. J. Newell at No. 18 during the Golfweek Conference Challenge at Red Sky Golf Club.

WOLCOTT, Colo. – Physically taxing as it is, the greater Vail, Colo., area holds inspiration for Tennessee senior A.J. Newell. The 21-year-old is not quite a year removed from back surgery that left her immobile for weeks, but on Monday, Newell huffed and puffed around Red Sky Golf Club for a 2-under 70.

“It’s a scoreable course if you get it in play,” Newell said of a high-altitude place that puts a fair amount of stress on East Coast teams. She came prepared – a former teammate warned that she’d be short of breath most of the week.

Vail ...

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Julie Williams
Marissa Chow is a key returnee for Pepperdine in 2014-15.
Marissa Chow is a key returnee for Pepperdine in 2014-15.

WOLCOTT, Colo. – Pepperdine is good at winning streaks. This, afterall, is a team known for its near total domination of the West Coast Conference Championship. The Waves have won 16 titles, which accounts for all but two in the conference’s history.

At Red Sky Golf Club, Pepperdine is starting on another trend. Three of five Golfweek Women’s Conference Challenge titles belong to the Waves. Pepperdine has won those by a combined 42 shots.

Why does Pepperdine seem to play so well at Red Sky? The answer could be equal parts Gibbs’ planning and her team’s ability to ...

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September 21, 2014 | 4:50 p.m.

Host Vanderbilt wins Mason Rudolph Championship

Andy Zunz
Vanderbilt women's head coach Greg Allen with Jenny Hahn.
Vanderbilt women's head coach Greg Allen with Jenny Hahn.

Scores

• • •

Junior Jenny Hahn led the Vanderbilt Commodores to their first Mason Rudolph Championship title since 2002.

The host school beat out runner-up LSU by 11 strokes at the Vanderbilt Legends South Course in Franklin, Tenn. Hahn finished at 5-under 211 (72-68-71), winning medalist honors by three strokes. Hahn and Kendall Martindale both placed in the top 5 for Vanderbilt – Martindale placed fourth at 1 under – and were two of the four Commodores that nabbed top-20 finishes.

Mississippi State placed third at 16 over and was trailed by Auburn and GRU Augusta, which tied for fourth at 21 over.

Auburn ...

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Brentley Romine
Vanderbilt women's head coach Greg Allen with Jenny Hahn.
Vanderbilt women's head coach Greg Allen with Jenny Hahn.

Host Vanderbilt notched a 5-under 283 Saturday to grab the second-round lead at the Mason Rudolph Championship.

The Commodores got a 4-under 68 from Jenny Hahn and a 70 from Kendall Martindale, and now leads by six shots over second-place LSU, which led after 18 holes. Vanderbilt, at 5 under, is the only team under par through two rounds at the Vanderbilt Legends' South course in Franklin, Tenn.

Hahn's 68 moved her into a share of the individual lead with LSU's Madelene Sagstrom at 4-under 140. Cindy Ha, who is playing for Vanderbilt's B team, is tied ...

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Andy Zunz
LSU women's golf head coach Karen Bahnsen and the Tigers lead after the first round of the 2014 Mason Rudolph Championship.
LSU women's golf head coach Karen Bahnsen and the Tigers lead after the first round of the 2014 Mason Rudolph Championship.

LSU took the first-round lead at the Mason Rudolph Championship behind junior Elise Bradley's 4-under 68.

The Tigers finished the day as the only team under par, taking a three-stroke lead over host Vanderbilt at 3 under. Bradley leads the field at 4 under after firing five birdies and one bogey on the day at the Vanderbilt Legends Club's South course.

Chattanooga (3 over), Mississippi State (4 over) and Alabama (6 over) round out the top five through 18 holes.

Freshman Lakareber Abe led the Crimson Tide, shooting a 3-under 69. She's tied for second place.

Mississippi ...

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September 19, 2014 | 2:21 p.m.

UNLV's Dana Finkelstein fueled by underdog status

Julie Williams
UNLV's Dana Finkelstein
UNLV's Dana Finkelstein

Beside Dana Finkelstein’s name on the UNLV roster is the usual height indication. Hers says 5-foot-2, and that’s even with an extra half an inch added. Finkelstein really is that small.

“When I was being recruited a lot of teams didn’t want me because of how small I was,” Finkelstein remembers. “The whole underdog thing definitely fueled my fire.”

Finkelstein, now a senior at UNLV, may be one of the most underrated players in women’s college golf. Over the past year, she’s also one of the most improved. Finkelstein dropped her scoring average to 72 ...

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Julie Williams
The tournament field for the Cougar Classic had grown to 23 teams and included defending national champion Duke.
The tournament field for the Cougar Classic had grown to 23 teams and included defending national champion Duke.

As Yeamans Hall Golf Club’s reputation grows in college-golf circles, more and more teams flock to the Powerade Cougar Classic each year.

College of Charleston head coach Jamie Futtrell describes Yeamans Hall as having “a definite mystique” that draws in players. By this year’s 12th playing, the tournament field had grown to 23 teams and included defending national champion Duke, as well a third-place finisher UCLA.

From Futrell’s standout, it’s a feather in the cap of his Cougar program.

“The tournament gives us an opportunity to open the year competing against some of the best programs ...

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Andy Zunz
Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen and Jennifer Hahn will lead the Commodores at the 2014 Mason Rudolph Championship.
Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen and Jennifer Hahn will lead the Commodores at the 2014 Mason Rudolph Championship.

As Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen prepares to host the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn., this weekend, he can't help but notice all the change.

The tournament has earned the reputation of being one of the strongest fall tournaments in women's college golf, attracting teams from across the country. But, this year, things look a little different.

Gone are the West Coast teams that used to fly across the country and measure their talents against the best teams in the South.

"I feel like we need to make UCLA an honorary host, they've won the thing ...

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Cassie Stein
Arkansas' Gaby Lopez
Arkansas' Gaby Lopez

Final scores

• • •

Arkansas claimed the Cougar Classic title Tuesday, but not without a bit of pressure from Pac-12 powerhouse UCLA.

Arkansas, No. 6 in the Golfweek preseason rankings, shot a final round 9-under 279 at Yeamans Hall in Hanahan, S.C., with the help of sophomore Summar Roachell and junior Regina Plasencia with 3-under 69s. Gaby Lopez and Samantha Marks also finished inside the top 15 to contribute to the team win.

Birdies by all five Razorback players helped the team win by seven shots after the Bruins kept it close for most of the afternoon.

UCLA got low rounds ...

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Golfweek Staff

The recommended format changes to the 2015 men’s and women’s NCAA Championship have been approved Monday by the D-I Championships Cabinet.

The change replaces the individuals-only day Monday with a fourth round of stroke play, which will consist of the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on one of the teams advancing.

Back in August, Golfweek’s Lance Ringler offered his insight on the NCAA Championship changes.

The individual national champion will be determined after 72 holes.

The team champion will be determined through match play Tuesday and Wednesday from the top eight teams after 72 holes ...

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