News & ToursMay 6, 2009

What to expect from NCAA Women's Regionals

__EAST REGIONAL

Mark Bostick GC at Univ. of Florida

Gainesville, Fla.

__(For live results, click here to link to Golfstat)

Winner: Auburn

Locks to advance: Alabama, Denver

Shouldn't have a problem: Virginia, North Carolina

On the good side of the bubble: Duke, Georgia, Tulane

On the bad side of the bubble: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Furman

Will play respectably: East Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida State

Just happy to be there: Charleston, UCF, Coastal Carolina, Stetson, Jackson State

Momentum is such a big thing this time of year, and I like the roll that SEC champion Auburn is on having won its last three starts, including on the same U of F course hosting the regional. A share of second at the SEC gives me confidence in Alabama as well as the fact that their younger starters have been playing well of late. Denver doesn't quite have the buzz surrounding the squad it has in recent years but there's a lot of experience with Stephanie Sherlock, Katie Kempter and Dawn Shockley to lean on. Virginia managed to get the top seed in the East despite a disappointing showing at the ACC Championship. I think the Cavaliers will bounce back but might still be a little down. North Carolina might not have won this season, but its eight top-five finishes in nine starts suggests the Tar Heels will be just fine. Duke might have slipped from its lofty perch this season but the Blue Devils still have Amanda Blumenherst and Jennie Lee in their line-up, so you'd figure they'll advance. Georgia's line-up is not deep enough to contend but Mallory Hetzel and Marta Silva Zapora can get them to nationals. Tulane's storybook return to Division I play will continue as the Green Waves steal away one of the last spots and get to make the trip to Caves Valley.

__CENTRAL REGIONAL

Scarlet Course at Ohio State

Columbus, Ohio

__(For live results, click here to link to Golfstat)

Winner: Oklahoma State

Locks to advance: UCLA, Purdue

Shouldn't have a problem: Wake Forest, Louisville

On the good side of the bubble: Kent State, Ohio State, New Mexico

On the bad side of the bubble: Michigan State, Stanford, Notre Dame, Chattanooga, Harvard

Will play respectably: Georgia State, N.C. State, Washington, Michigan

Just happy to be there: Kentucky, Murray State, Illinois State, Fairleigh Dickinson

For as dominant a year as top-seeded UCLA had from September to March, Oklahoma State and Purdue look as much like favorites at the Scarlet Course as do the Bruins. I'll go with the Cowgirls to win by one over UCLA and Purdue, with all three then having legitimate claims to being able to win the NCAA title. Wake Forest will show that its new ACC title isn't just a lucky prize that fell into its lap. Louisville's Cindy LaCrosse has had a fantastic season, overshadowing the fact that the Cardinals are actually a pretty deep squad. Kent State will like having gotten to stay in the Midwest, while Ohio State's home-course advantage will allow them to get out of regionals in a year where the Buckeyes might not have advanced if they were at another locale. The memory of missing out on a trip to nationals by a single stroke a year ago will help serve as extra motivation for New Mexico to not let it happen again.

__WEST REGIONAL

Karsten Course at Arizona State

Tempe, Ariz.

__(For live results, click here to link to Golfstat)

Winner: Arizona State

Locks to advance: USC

Shouldn't have a problem: LSU, Pepperdine, Arkansas

On the good side of the bubble: San Jose State, UC Irvine, San Francisco

On the bad side of the bubble: Arizona, California, UNLV, TCU

Will play respectably: Texas A&M, Long Beach State, Colorado, Texas, Baylor

Just happy to be there: Oregon, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Northern Arizona, Oral Roberts

Almost seems like an unfair fight to let Arizona State play on its home course with the confidence the Sun Devils have right now after winning the Pac-10 title. I think the Sun Devils will roll, maybe even win by double digits and start to send a real scare in the heart of their competitors. With five runner-up finishes already this season, USC will grab their sixth this week, although Lizette Salas claiming medalist honors might be an even safer bet. Would have liked to seen better than a sixth-place showing from LSU at the SEC Championship, particularly after winning twice this season, but the Tigers should be fine with the trip west. Pepperdine came in eighth at the Ping/ASU event last month but the feeling here is that Taylore Karle will play better than she did that week and help the Waves' cause. Arkansas has been a hot and cold team in 2008-09, but for some reason I think the Lady 'Backs will be just fine. Erica Moston has rallied San Jose State much of the season and there's no reason to think she can't do for another tournament. Mid-major programs UC Irvine and San Francisco have no real pressure on them in Tempe, which leads me to think they can pull off the upsets and leave the Pac-10 duo of Arizona and California on the outside looking in come nationals.

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