NCAA Women's Regionals: Roll Tide!
The top seeds were victorious at all three NCAA women's regionals--Alabama, UCLA and USC leaving nothing to chance at the East, Central and West sites, respectively. Still, it was hardly a predictable weekend. Not since 1997 had Duke failed to among the top eight at regionals and advance to nationals. But the Blue Devils fell four strokes short in their final-round rally at the Central, finishing in the worst place of all: ninth. Similarly, SEC champ Auburn struggled at the East, with senior Cydney Clanton, a two-time first-team All-American, seeing her college career come to a sudden, sad end.
In turn, there were upsets of the happy variety: Coastal Carolina, ranked 49th by Golfstat, finished fourth in the East to secure its first trip to nationals; and with a third in the Central Regional, Minnesota will play for an NCAA title for the first time since 1989. All the flux down the leader board didn't phase the three No. 1 seeds. The Trojans won the West by 10 strokes despite All-American Lisa McCloskey out with a rib injury. And while thankfully no Crimson Tide golfer was harmed during the devastating tornadoes that hit Tuscaloosa April 27, their collective psyche was shaken. Somehow the group stayed focused, freshman Stephanie Meadow winning medalist honors by six (her third win of the season), giving Alabama the chance to claim a much needed pick-me-up for their school at the Traditions Club outside College Station, Texas, in two weekend's time. *