LSU Women’s Golf Begins Play Friday In NCAA Championships

CARLSBAD, California – There is a lot that is different about the 2024 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship.

But for the fourth straight year there is one constant when it comes to the LSU Tigers – they are in the championships for a school record tying fourth consecutive year.

After three years in Scottsdale, the tournament has moved for 2024, 2025 and 2026 to the OMNI La Costa Resort and Spa North Course which has seen its share of significant moments over the years.

Also a change will be the weather which in the past three years has ranged from low 90s to over 100, this year the forecast for the women’s tournament is mid-60s for the entire event.

Texas is the host for the event and La Costa has put together an extensive renovation of this course North of San Diego that will have the NCAA championships for men and women as its first event.

The course was originally designed by Dick Williams in 1965 and previously served as home for thirty years to the Tournament of Champions from 1969-1998. It hosted the inaugural WGC-Match Play Championship as well in 1999 and in 2010 and 2012 hosted an LPGA tour event.

Noted golf course architect Gil Hanse and his design team implemented significant design changes with the NCAA match-play format in mind, as well as fashioning a layout ideal for the best players in the game to test their skills. There are more risk-reward decisions throughout the course including a drivable par 4 No. 11 and a 16th par 3 hole resembling Augusta’s iconic 12th hole.

The 16th was where Tigers Woods hit an iron to tap-in distance to beat Tom Lehman in the 1997 TOC playoff.

The Tigers and the other 29 teams made their way around the course on Thursday for a practice round trying to get the feel for the layout which will be new to everyone come Friday when play starts.

“A lot of newness. The first time the teams have seen the course,” said LSU Coach Garrett Runion. “It’s in great shape. It’s a great course. It’s a challenging course. It’s a course that makes you think. There are a couple of different ways to play a lot of different shots. There’s time to be aggressive and times to probably play safe. I think being confident in how we play and you’ve got to have control of the ball. You have to drive it well and play from the fairway. The greens are firm. Off the green can be pretty severe. It tests every part of you game.”

The Tigers will go with the same lineup that won the NCAA Bryan Regional led by World No. 1 and college No. 1 Ingrid Lindblad who enters the tournament with a 68.48 stroke average for the season, on pace to possibly post the lowest single season average in women’s golf.

Latanna Stone, who tied for sixth at the Bryan Regional and is No. 41 in the World Rankings, will be joined by Carla Tejedo, Aine Donegan and Taylor Riley.

Donegan returns to the state of one of her biggest moments when she made the cut at the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach, while Riley will be playing near her San Diego home.

For Lindblad, Stone and Tejedo, this is their final swing through the championships as they will finish their college eligibility. The three players join Katy Harris (1998-99-2000-01); Meredith Duncan (1999,2000, 2001, 2002) and Megan McChrystal (2008-09-10-11) as the only six Tigers to compete in four NCAA Championships.

The three will join Harris as the only ones to compete on four straight team championships.

It is a confident group of Tigers that comes into the championships off a strong last 27 holes in the NCAA Bryan Regional which LSU won for its third title of the year.

“I think anytime coming off a win gives you confidence,” said Runion. “Winning at the regionals helps because the last time we were in competition we won. Regionals was a big win and their confidence is high and they want one more.”

This will be LSU’s 17th NCAA Championship appearance with the Tigers best finish coming in 2011 and 2012 when the team finished third in what was just a 72-hole stroke play championship.

Now the format is one of positioning and stamina as all 30 teams and the six individual qualifiers play 54 holes Friday-Sunday. The first cut will come after three rounds with the top 15 and nine individuals not on those 15 teams advancing to Monday’s final round.

After Monday’s final round, the individual champion will be crowned and then the top eight teams will advance to match play which by Wednesday evening will determine a national champion.

The top 15 seeds will tee off in the afternoon on Friday and will have the early waves on Saturday. The top six teams will play opposite each other with No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Wake Forest and No. 3 South Carolina starting off No. 10 at Noon PDT with the No. 4 Tigers, No. 5 UCLA and No. 6 Auburn hitting off No. 1 at 12:22 PDT (2:22 in Baton Rouge).

Seeds 15-30 will start their opening round at 6:40 a.m.

Following the women’s championship, the LSU men and 29 other teams will then head to California and their championships will begin on May 24.

Live scoring for the first round will be available at Golfstat.com and updates during the day on “X” @LSUwomensgolf and @LSUKent.

NCAA Championships
First Round Tee Time Waves
Hole No. 1
7:02 a.m. – Pepperdine, Virginia, Mississippi State
7:57 a.m. – Michigan State, Purdue, Baylor
8:52 a.m. – Individual qualifiers
12:22 p.m. – LSU, UCLA, Auburn
1:17 p.m. – Arkansas, Northwestern, Oregon
2:12 p.m. – Individual qualifiers

Hole No. 10
6:40 a.m. – Clemson, Florida State, Vanderbilt
7:35 a.m. – SMU, San Jose State, North Carolina
8:30 a.m. – Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Tulsa
Noon – Stanford, Wake Forest, South Carolina
12:55 p.m. – USC, Texas, Duke
1:50 p.m. – Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Arizona State

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Tiger Rag News Services

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