The Local Knowlege

News & Tours

Why Stanford winning the NCAA title is the best thing that could happen to women's college golf

BRADENTON, FLA. -- Everywhere you turned late Wednesday afternoon at The Concession G.C. you saw the usual emotions on display from coaches and players and family that accompany the conclusion of the NCAA Women's Championship.


Cheers, tears, elation and relief.

That they used match play to decide the women's team champion for the first time in NCAA history didn't change any of that. On the contrary, it only amplified it. Baylor senior Hayley Davis' missed par putt on the first extra hole of her deciding match with Stanford junior Mariah Stackhouse was all the more gut-wrenching because of the finality of the moment set up uniquely because of the new match-play format.

Stanford's 3-2 victory over Baylor in the championship match ended six grueling days of play in the warm Florida sun. You can add one new emotion then to the 2015 championship: exhaustion. If there was a valid criticism of the new schedule it was the sheer amount of golf played overall -- seven competition rounds in six days -- something both Stanford coach Anne Walker and Baylor coach Jay Goble noted in their post-round interviews.

Ultimately, though, women's college golf got not only what it had hoped for but what it deserved: An exciting finish, national TV exposure (with the Golf Channel broadcasting the championship for the first time), even a little controversy to spice things up (the grumbling about The Concession G.C. playing too long and having hole locations that were too severe muted somewhat by the amazing play down the stretch of Stackhouse and Davis with the national title in the balance).

Oh, and a new national champion.

For only the second time in the last 12 years, a program that had never won the NCAA title walked away the victors. While a perennial top-25 program under coaches Tim Baldwin and Caroline O'Conner, the Cardinal's previous best showing was a runner-up finish in 2000.

loop-mariah-stackhouse-ncaa-560.jpg

Coming off a Pac-12 title last spring and with two All-Americans in Stackhouse (above) and fellow junior Lauren Kim leading the charge, expectations were big in Palo Alto at the start of the 2014-'15 season. And yet the team struggled to find its way. Walker's squad won just one tournament during the regular season (its home even in October), enduring injuries to Kim as well as sophomore Quirine Eijkenboom, and seeing talented freshman Shannon Aubert (who won three matches this week) undergo surgery in February to remove an ovarian cyst. Walker, in her third year as head coach, had her own mid-season adjustments to make, giving birth to daughter Emma in December.

Related: Stanford women's team shows you how to hit golf's scariest shots

Yet despite entering the NCAA postseason with finishes of 10th, sixth and seventh in its final three starts, Stanford shinned, letting its NerdNation followers (led by former Stanford student Michelle Wie) rejoice.

For a sport that has grown so much in the last decade, with so many programs around the country investing time and resources to build national contenders, it's a good thing to have a little new blood step up to help maintain the sport's upward momentum.

Six years after the men started using match play to help crown the team winner, the women went kicking and screaming. And by and large found out what the men have: That match play simple creates a more exciting NCAA championship.

"I was the first one to be hesitant about it originally," said Goble moments after watching his squad painfully lost the championship. "I didn't originally believe that it was a format that was broken. But you know, again, going through the last two days, it's really exciting. It's really fun. It's an emotional roller coaster out there, but I think that to go out there and to fight it out the way you have to do in match play, it shows a lot of guts.

There will continue to be some dissenting voices who question whether the format change makes it less likely to identify the nation's top team. Had the format not been altered, traditional power USC would have won its four NCAA title in 12 years. But when the Trojans fell to Stanford in the semifinals, their title quest came to its own painful end.

Ultimately, just as college sports evolve so do their championships. Look no further than the most popular college sport in the country: football. Ohio State wouldn't have won its national championship this year under the format that sport traditionally used, yet the Buckeyes performance made them a legitimate national champion.

The same should be said for Stanford, deserving winners of the most exciting six-day endurance test women's college golf has ever seen.

... Read
News & Tours

The buzzkill that ended the otherwise incredibly exciting NCAA Women's Championship

BRADENTON, FLA. -- For as energizing as the final 40 minutes of the NCAA Women's Championship played out Wednesday at The Concession G.C., it was the last 10 seconds that were the most stunning.

All that excitement replaced with chilling silence.

No one -- players, spectators, officials, Golf Channel commentators -- knew exactly how to react when Hayley Davis, the senior leader of the Baylor women's golf program and arguably its all-time best player, missed her five-foot par putt on the 19th hole of what turned out to be the deciding match of the championship. When her ball slid right of the hole, it allowed Stanford junior Mariah Stackhouse, already in with a par, to win her third straight hole and complete a comeback from 2 down with two holes to play to give the Cardinal and coach Anne Walker their first NCAA women's golf title.

loop-ncaa-women.jpg

Mariah Stackhouse (second from right) won the deciding match to give Stanford
its first NCAA women's golf title.

Such a thrilling finish -- the final three holes in regulation were won with exceptional shots that set up birdies -- wasn't supposed to end with such a painful miscue.

"I looked back at the team like, 'Do we celebrate? What happens now?' " Stackhouse said.

It goes without saying that the much publicized change in format to include match play to crown a team winner brought with it the drama and thrills that everyone had hoped. But along with it came an unintended -- or at least unfortunate -- consequence: heartbreak.

"It was tough because I know all of my teammates . . . I kept hearing they're playing for you," said Davis, a 22-year-old from Wimborne, England, her tear-soaked face making her disappointment obvious. "That was the hard thing.They gave me the chance to win it for them and I wasn't able to make it happen."

Related: Stanford women's team shows you how to hit golf's scariest shots

The missed putt sadly dampened the incredible shot Davis pulled off on the 16th hole to seeming take control of the match and put Baylor in position to win the program's first national title -- after having finished no better than T-16 in two previous NCAA appearances. Standing 1 up on the tee and knowing that their match would decide which program walked off with the title (the four proceeding matches had been split 2-2), Davis hit her tee shot into a hazard. The good news was that the ball was playable, coming to rest on a patch of muddy dirt. The bad news, was the glob of the mud stuck to the ball.

Undaunted, Davis pulled out an 8-iron and nearly holed her 134-yard approach, leaving herself a four-foot birdie try that she converted to win the hole. "That was the thing," Davis said, "when I got up there, just to see that it was playable, I was excited, like I've been given a chance, like I'm going to make the most of it, and it paid off."

"That shot on 16, under the conditions, might have been the best shot I've ever seen," said Baylor coach Jay Goble. "I can't say that I walked up to her and had a warm and fuzzy feelings that she was going to hit it up there four or five feet away. But if anybody can do it, Hayley Davis can do it."

Given such a stunning change in momentum, with Stackhouse now dormie, the Stanford All-American and 2014 U.S. Curtis Cup player could easily have folded. Instead, she responded with inspired shots of her own. On the par-5 17th, she hit the green in two with a 3-hybrid from 209 feet, setting up a birdie to win the hole.

"That shot, as soon as it came off the clubface, I was just like, 'This is money,' and it felt really good," Stackhouse said.

Then on the par-4 18th, she hit her approach to eight feet and made another birdie putt to extend the match, the large crowd now following this everything-on-the-line match abuzz with a "can you believe what we're seeing?!?" astonishment

"I think I kind of had the easier hand because I had to go for it versus protect [a lead]," Stackhouse said. "I've never been more excited about a couple of finishing holes. I was like, we've worked hard for this all year. It's do or die. There are two holes left. You've got to get through to even have an opportunity to win the championship. That's the kind of stuff you dream for as a golfer."

While Stackhouse played at a higher level as the match wore on, overall the play on Wednesday was a little ragged, a byproduct likely of the seven straight days of practice or competition for the two teams in the finals.

"This is all adrenaline," Stackhouse said. "At this point, it's the last match. You're not going to get tired because it matters too much."

So much will be forgotten in the aftermath of Davis' miss. For instance Stanford sophomore Casey Danielson winning the final two holes of Match No. 1 against Baylor's Laura Lonardi, to make Stackhouse's match matter in the first place. And Cardinal freshman Shannon Aubert winning her third match of the week in Match No. 2, beating Lauren Whyte, 4 and 3.

What will also be forgotten -- or maybe just go unnoticed -- is how Davis reacted in the aftermath of arguably her worst moment in golf. Five minutes after her miss, the tears were still coming down her cheeks. Yet Davis walked back on the green where her opponents were celebrated, and proceeded to give each one a congratulatory hug.

"I don't know, forever," Davis said when asked how long it might take to get over what happened. "It's a five-foot putt. I've made probably thousands of those putts in my life. And that one didn't go in."

Davis paused, still sad, but composed.

"I mean it's tough, but I know I tried."

... Read
News & Tours

The Alabama women's golf team is particularly grateful for the generosity of one former alum

Just how advantageous can it be for a college golf program to stay connected with its alumni? If you're Alabama, it recently resulted in a much-appreciated six-figure donation to the women's golf team.

The school announced Feb. 18 that it was establishing an endowed scholarship for the women's golf team after receiving a $250,000 gift in the name of Joy McCann Culverhouse, who is set to celebrate her 95th birthday March 6.

loop-culverhouse-260.jpgAlabama didn't field an official women's varsity golf team until 1974-75, but McCann Culverhouse played on a club team at the school when she was an undergraduate in Tuscaloosa in the early 1940s, ultimately finishing her studies in 1942 and earning a degree in arts and sciences. While affiliated with the Crimson Tide, she became the youngest winner of the Alabama Women's State Championship in 1941 (at age 21). She went on to win that title again in 1947 and won the 1961 Florida Women's Amateur among 27 championships she claimed in her college and amateur career.

McCann Culverhouse eventually married Hugh Culverhouse Sr., a tax lawyer who owned the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers from their creation in 1976 until his death in 1994.

"I'm proud of the University of Alabama golf program," said Hugh Culverhouse Jr., McCann Culverhouse's son, who made the donation. "And I want the women's team to uphold the tradition of excellence my Mother brought to golf."

To help turn the donation into its own fundraising opportunity, Culverhouse will double the gift if others boosters can donate gifts of their own totaling $500,000.

"I am hoping that the publicity surrounding this endowment will serve to honor Joy McCann Culverhouse as the pioneer that she is, not only for the University of Alabama women's golf, but for women's amateur golf on the national level," said Alabama women's coach Mic Potter.

The initial recipient of the scholarship is Alabama freshman Lakareber Abe.

... Read
News & Tours

Turns out LPGA Q School was the biggest event in women's college golf so far this season

In offering some final words of encouragement to Alison Lee prior to the start of last week's LPGA Tour Qualifying School, UCLA women's coach Carrie Forsyth proved prophetic.

"I told her, if you're going to go out there and earn a card, go win the whole thing, too," Forsyth recalled.

loop-alison-lee-lpga-300.jpg

Demonstrating to Forsyth once again just how good a listener she is, Lee, a 19-year-old from Valencia, Calif., went out and shot a 10-under 305 over 90 holes at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. The score secured her co-medalist honors with Australia's Minjee Lee and playing privileges for the 2015 LPGA season along with all players who finished inside the top 20 at Q school.

The moment was bittersweet for Lee (pictured) and Forsyth. The LPGA requires any amateurs who earn cards at Q school to turn pro immediately if they intend to use them. Thus, Lee, a first-team All-American a year ago who carded a 69.67 average this fall, must now forgo the rest of her college eligibility halfway through her sophomore season.

"I'm going to try and juggle school with golf at the same time," said Lee, who Golfstat had as the No. 2 ranked college player thus far in the 2014-15 season. "I still want to attend school so we'll see how my schedule will work, and we'll see how it all plays out as the year goes on."

"You have mixed emotions," said Forsyth, whose team ranked No. 7 through the fall. "Obviously she is a fantastic member of our program, but this is her dream, to play on the LPGA Tour. It's a big thing. My job isn't to deny that."

Related: Cheyenne Woods earns LPGA card

Forsyth spoke Sunday night after arriving in Las Vegas for the Women's Golf Coaches Association annual meeting. While how college golf and the LPGA might be able to work together better regarding Q school wasn't on any formal agenda, she suspected the topic might be broached at least informally.

"I don't know what the solution is," Forsyth said, sympathetic to the fact the LPGA has its own business to attend to and can't necessarily adjust its Q school schedule around the college golf calendar. "But this isn't something that's going to go away."

It also isn't the first time this has happened to Forsyth. In 2011, UCLA senior star Stephanie Kono finished inside the top 20 at LPGA Q School and tearfully decided to forego her final semester in Westwood.

Meanwhile, other college programs are facing the mid-season departure of impact players as well. With SooBin Kim, Golfstat's top-ranked college golfer this fall, finishing T-11, and Jing Yan earning conditional status by finishing 34th, Washington women's coach Mary Lou Mulfur must now figure out a way to replace two starters on a team ranked No. 1 by Golfstat entering the winter break.

Additionally, Oklahoma State junior Julie Yang also earned status with a T-18 finish, and thus will not return to Stillwater.

Some coaches previously raised the idea of the LPGA holding a separate qualifying event exclusively for college players. The cost of running such an event, however, would make it seemingly an unrealistic alternative.

Others wonder whether allowing the players to defer their tour membership until the end of the college season in May is the answer. It would require the LPGA to figure out the logistics of where on the priority list these deferred players would fall compared to Q-school graduates who had been playing the start of the season, no doubt a potential headache for tour officials. At the same time, this seems like a worthwhile problem to face compared to the negative blow back the tour receives for appearing to be the heavy when asking college players to turn pro mid-season to chase their dreams.

Photo: Getty Images

... Read
News & Tours

Love it or hate it, match play has let college golf get its wish

By Ryan Herrington

I read this tweet from early Thursday morning and smiled.


Nearly a decade ago, men’s college golf coaches were up in arms about the fact that they would turn on ESPN in late May and see results of the NCAA women’s softball tournament on SportsCenter but there was never even the threat of a mention about college golf. The observation had a chauvinistic undertone but also an overriding point. What might it take for college golf to get even a nibble of attention from mainstream media? How could college golf become part of the SportsCenter Top 10 someday?

The answer: match play. It seemed overly simplistic then and still sort of does today. But the idea of creating head-to-head contests pitting two schools against each other rather than have a free-for-all tournament with too many protagonists for the layman to sift through had its merits. Even non-sports fans know what an NCAA bracket is. If you brought one to college golf, maybe you could make a connection.

mgolf-legacy-holder-1.jpg

It was in the mid-2000s when Mike Holder began having conversations with anyone who would listen about the idea of implementing match play into the NCAA Championship. The legendary Oklahoma State men’s golf coach had just become the school’s athletic director, and he was convinced that the switch would create a domino effect that could ultimately rise the tide of the entire sport. There are many in the college golf community who don’t think much of Holder, whose aggressive, stern methods have rubbed them the wrong way. But you have to credit him for having a vision.

Rest assured not everyone was in favor of the switch to match play when it came to be in 2009, and there are still many coaches and traditionalists not thrilled that a format seldom used during the college regular season is the one that decides the sport’s national champion. In the last year, the debate continued to rage as the NCAA Women’s D-I golf committee had to muscle several reluctant women’s coaches to follow suit, with match play coming to their championship next spring.

Whether you like the format or not, it’s hard not to concede that it has had the desired effect. The head-to-head nature of match play was an easier sell to TV executives when the NCAA peddled televising the championship to Golf Channel. Similarly, it’s an easier sell to producers at ESPN, who don’t have the time or desire to explain the play-5-count-4 nuances of stroke play. Alabama beats Oklahoma State for the NCAA title. It’s a sound bite, but it also fits nicely on the TV scroll.

The irony of this whole thing is that while Holder was the biggest champion for the move to match play, he and his school might actually have been most adversely effected by the change. Twice now since match play came to be, Oklahoma State has lost in the championship round, yesterday’s 4-1 defeat at Prairie Dunes against Alabama coming four years after OSU lost to Augusta State at The Honors Course. And twice in the last six years the Cowboys likely would have won an NCAA title had the old stroke-play format still been in effect, OSU having the lead in the 54-hole qualifier.

Regardless, last week was the celebration of college golf that so many people had longed for. Golf Channel offered over-the-top coverage of the championship for three straight days. (Seriously, a four-hour “pre-game” show before the championship match? Even Holder couldn’t have dreamed of that. Only thing missing from the coverage was a version of "One Shining Moment" at the end.) Next year they’ll show the women’s championship as well as the men’s. The profile of the overall sport was raised exponentially.

And, damned if college golf wasn’t mentioned on SportsCenter’s top 10.

... Read
News & Tours

USC women end regular season where they began: No. 1 in Golf World/WGCA coaches' poll

For just the third time since Golf World resumed its women's college coaches' poll in 2001-02, the same school has been ranked No. 1 in every poll through an individual college season. USC joins the Duke in 2003-04 and UCLA in 2011-12 as the only programs to go wire-to-wire in a given year.

Before congratulating the Trojans on their accomplishment, however, it's worthwhile to note an interesting oddity: neither the Blue Devils or the Bruins actually went on to win the NCAA title that season. Duke was upset, coincidentally, by UCLA in 2004 at Grand National in Opelika, Ala., while UCLA was a distance eighth to Alabama at Vanderbilt Legends Club in 2012.

Nevertheless, USC looks to defend its national championship from a year ago and claim itsr fourth in school history when the team begins play as the top seed at the NCAA West Regional on Thursday.

poll-women-d1-0512-518.jpgA few tidbits of note from the Division I poll:

* Arkansas, South Carolina and Stanford, the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 squads in the latest poll, each set their school records for their best ever finish in a Golf World coaches' poll.

* Alabama fell from No. 8 to No. 12 in this latest poll, falling out of the top 10 for the first time since April 2008.


poll-women-d2-0512-275.jpgLynn is the unanimous choice for the No. 1 spot in the latest Division II poll. The Fighting Knights earned all 19 available first-place votes prior to finishing first at their NCAA Women's Super Regional on Tuesday and getting one step closer to repeating as national champions. The squad has claimed 10 team titles in 2013-14 and finished second in its two other appearances. The NCAA Women's D-II Championship is May 14-17 at Rock Barn Golf an Spa in Conover, N.C.

poll-women-d3-0512-275.jpgWashington U. of St. Louis retained its No. 1 ranking in the latest Division III coaches' poll. The Bears claimed five team titles during the 2013-14 season and earned 14 of the available 19 first-place votes as they attempt to win their first national title in school history. The NCAA Women's D-III Championship is May 13-16 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

Methodist claimed the No. 2 spot in the latest poll, earning the remaining five first-place votes. The Monarchs are trying to start a new streak after having their string of 15 straight NCAA titles snapped last spring.


... Read
News & Tours

USC, UCLA, Duke grab top seeds for NCAA Women's D-I Regionals

By Ryan Herrington

The three most dominant women's teams during the 2013-14 season -- USC, UCLA and Duke -- claimed No. 1 seeds when the NCAA Division I women’s regional fields were announced Monday.

The Trojans, defending NCAA champions (below) and the top-ranked school in the Golf World/WGCA women's coaches' poll, earned the top seed in the West Regional, with No. 2 Bruins headlining the field at the Central Regional. The Blue Devils, fresh off a 27-stroke victory at the ACC Championship, were rewarded with the East Regional’s top seed.

All three regionals will be played May 8-10. The top eight teams and two individuals advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held May 20-23 at Tulsa (Okla.) Country Club.

This year's national championship will be the last played over 72 holes of stroke play, as the tournament will incorporate match play to determine a team champion, similar to how the men's D-I title is decided, in 2015.

loop-usc-women-ncaa-team-picture-2-518.jpg
East Regional
SouthWood G.C., Tallahassee, Fla.
Teams (by seed)
Duke, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, UCF, Virginia, Auburn, N.C. State, Florida State, Kentucky, Tulane, Louisville, Baylor, East Tennessee State, Georgia, Campbell, East Carolina, Texas State-San Marcos, College of Charleston, Troy, Murray State, Seton Hall, Alabama State

Individuals
Lori Beth Adams, UNC Wilmington; Ellen Ceresko, Penn State; Lacey Fears, Mercer; Kaew Preamchuen, Kennesaw State; Abby Newton, Mississippi; Christina Vosters, Penn State


Central Regional
Karsten Creek G.C., Stillwater, Okla.
Teams (by seed)
UCLA, Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, LSU, Oklahoma State, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, Miami (Fla.), Mississippi State, California, Kent State, Kansas, Texas, UNLV, Colorado, SMU, Minnesota, Harvard, Lamar, Wichita State, LIU-Brooklyn, Siena

Individuals

Aurora Kan, Purdue; Sanna Nuutinen, TCU; Jenna Hague, Ball State; Ember Schuldt, Illinois; Kimmy Hill, Texas Tech; Stephanie Miller, Illinois


West Regional
Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, Wash.
Teams (by seed)
USC, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Washington, Clemson, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa State, GRU-Augusta, Oregon, Texas A&M, UC Davis, Denver, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Chattanooga, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Portland State, Detroit-Mercy

Individuals
Kayla Alison Knowles, Louisiana-Monroe; Regan De Guzman, San Jose State; Clariss Guce, CSU-Northridge; Fabiola Arriaga, UT-San Antonio; Madchen Ly, Fresno State; Alexandra White, BYU

Photo: AP Images


... Read
News & Tours

Vagaries of match play can't keep USC women from their No. 1 ranking

By Ryan Herrington

Could match play unfairly level the playing field among college golf's top women's teams? That's the fear some have when the NCAA Women's Division I Championship committee agreed to add match play to help determine the team winner at nationals starting in 2015. If a certain team is the dominant force in stroke play thanks to its depth, but finds the vagaries of match play working against them, is that really how you want to determine the best team in college golf?

Yet the USC women did they best to prove that the vagaries of match play don't always work against the best teams. Playing at the Liz Murphey Collegiate last month in Athens, Ga., (sight of their 2013 NCAA title), the Trojans finished fourth in the 18-hole stroke-play qualifier, yet marched through the match play bracket to win their eighth title of the 2013-14 season. When you're good, you're good, no matter what format you play an event (and kudos to Georgia and coach Josh Brewer for deciding to try match play, providing a nice chance for top teams to give the format an early look before it goes into place next season).

After knocking off Arkansas in the championship match, USC remained the unanimous choice of the 20 voting coaches in the latest Golf World/WGCA women's Division I college coaches' poll. 


poll-women-d1-top-0421-518.jpgpoll-women-d1-bottom-0421-518.jpgA few tidbits from the latest D-I poll:

* The Trojans have been ranked No. 1 for 15 straight polls dating back to October 2012. It's the longest such streak since Golf World resumed the poll in 2001-02.

* Jumping from No. 10 to No. 6, South Carolina once again broke its own school record for its highest ranking.

* N.C. State fell out of the top 25 for the first time since October 2011.


poll-women-d2-0421-250.jpg
Lynn University remained the unanimous No. 1 team in the latest Division II coaches’ poll. The Fighting Knights claimed their eighth team title of the 2013-14 season at the Bash at the Beach en route to receiving all 19 first-place votes. After the voting closed, the squad claimed its ninth victory, winning the Sunshine State Conference title by four strokes. The team takes this momentum into the NCAA postseason where it will try to defending its 2013 national title.


poll-women-d3-0421-250.jpgWashington U. of St. Louis held strong to the top spot in the latest Division III coaches’ poll. The Bears earned 16 of the 20 available first-place votes after winning four of their eight tournament starts. After the voting closed the squad claimed its fifth victory of the 2013-14 campaign with at the Illinois Wesleyan Spring Fling.

Methodist remained No. 2 in the poll, earning three first-place votes, with UT-Tyler hang in on to the No. 3 spot in the poll. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps moved up to No. 4 spot, earning the other first-place vote, with Williams rounding out the top five.
 



... Read
News & Tours

USC women stay atop Golf World D-I coaches' poll

By Ryan Herrington

USC continues to make history as it remains ranked No. 1 in the Golf World/WGCA women's Division I coaches' poll. This marks the 13th straight poll that the Trojans have claimed the top spot, the longest such streak since the poll was resumed in 2001-02.

The last time coach Andrea Gaston's squad, which earned all 23 available first-place votes, did not hold the top spot was October 2012. The team's 13-straight No. 1 rankings exceeds the previous mark of 11 set by Duke from March 2003 to September 2004.




... Read
News & Tours

USC women's win streak ends at 8, but squad is still No. 1 in college poll

By Ryan Herrington

The USC women can no longer boast of being undefeated in 2013-14 after losing to UCLA by six strokes Tuesday at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate. But that doesn't make the Trojans any less formidable than they were three days earlier. The defending NCAA champions still have the deepest lineup in women's college golf, and while their win streak ends at eight straight events dating back to last spring, they'll remain the favorite in every tournament they play between now and nationals in May.

While the most recent tournament finished after voting closed for the first spring edition of the Golf World/WGCA Division I college coaches' poll, USC would not doubt have still held the top spot in the ranking. Arguably the only difference might have been a few more first-place votes for UCLA, winners now of three team titles in five starts.


... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today