PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida – The LSU women’s golf team tees off Monday morning in the first round of the NCAA Regional Golf tournament at the prestigious PGA National Champions Course.
The tournament is the first step for LSU and a possible return to the NCAA Championships for the third straight year in Scottsdale, Arizona later this month.
The Tigers must finish in the top five in this 54-hole event that runs through Wednesday to advance to the final tournament of the year. It they advance, it would be the first time since 1999-2001 that LSU has gone to the event three straight times.
When LSU tees off at 8 a.m. local time (7 a.m. in Baton Rouge), the temperature will be in the mid-70s and winds will start out at less than 10 miles per hour, but will get to double figures by the later stages of the round with temperatures in the low 80s.
LSU, as the top seed, will be in the opening team wave of the event Monday with the second seed Texas and No. 3 seed Northwestern.
The rest of the team field in seed order is No. 4 UCF, No. 5 Duke and No. 6 Michigan State. The seventh seed is California and then two other SEC teams, No. 8 Arkansas and No. 9 Alabama. The final three seeds are South Florida (10), Penn (11) and Quinnipiac (12).
“We knew it was going to be windy down here,” LSU fifth-year women’s golf coach Garrett Runion said. “But anywhere we go for a practice round we 1) try to get the speed of the greens and 2) get the distances and the lines off the tees. Out here, we hit a lot of different clubs other than driver off the tees and they are going to have a couple of holes with different tee boxes, so it is figuring out the yardage of what to hit off the tee because water comes into play on so many holes. You also want to stay short of bunkers and trouble or carry bunkers and carry trouble. So, the two main things are the speed of the greens and clubs and distances off the tee box.
LSU has four golfers with regional experience in its lineup led by first-team All-SEC selections Ingrid Lindblad and Latanna Stone. Also, junior Carla Tejedo has regional experience as has sophomore transfer Aine Donegan, who participated as in dividual entrant in last year’s NCAA Regionals while in Indiana.
Freshman Edit Hertzman will make her first NCAA regional appearance.
Lindblad averaged 70.46 on the season with two wins this year (11 for her career), while Stone is at 71.56 with a win and an eighth place finish in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Donegan, a second-team All-SEC selection, comes in with a 72.33 average, with Tejedo at 73.78 and Hertzman, a freshman All-SEC selection, is at 74.14.
LSU has four wins this 2022-23 wraparound season, just one off the school mark of five set in the 1985-86 season under Coach Runion who has 10 victories as the head coach of the Tigers. Runion was named the SEC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.
“We have to eliminate the big numbers,” Runion said. “I looked back, the men played a regional here last year and the scores were everything from 20-under to 20-over made it. Florida Atlantic (tournament hosts) played their Conference USA championships out here the last two years and we looked at those scores. The wind will be a big impact. I believe the wind will stay strong this week and it will be more of a hang-on type tournament. So, we just need to eliminate the big numbers. Bogeys are okay. Stay out of the water, especially on the par 3s, and we’ll be fine. Make conservative lines with aggressive swings.”