Who will advance from Women's Regionals?
A couple of twists as the NCAA Division I Women's Regionals get set to begin tomorrow. USC, the No. 1 ranked team in the latest Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll, will be playing without junior Lisa McCloskey. According to Trojan coach__Andrea Gaston__ the muscles in the rib area that McCloskey injured at the Pac-10 Championship are still inflamed and she did not travel with the team to Washington National GC.
Another top player also will be missing at the West Regional as Pepperdine's Danelle Kang, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion, will not be playing in the postseason for the Waves. The reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion was ruled academically ineligible after the spring semester grades were reported this week. Indications are she'll remain an amateur this summer, allowing her to take advantage of her U.S. Women's Open exemption for winning last year's U.S. Amateur, and attempt to defend her title at Rhode Island CC in August before likely turning pro.
With that, here is a preview for each of the three regional tournaments, which take place May 5-7. The top eight teams at each site advance to the NCAA Championship in two weeks.__
____LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Locks to advance: Purdue
Shouldn't have a problem: California, Michigan State, North Carolina
On the good side of the bubble: Arizona State, Auburn, Colorado
On the bad side of the bubble: Vanderbilt, Florida, TCU
Will play respectably: Florida State, Louisville, Mississippi, Texas Tech, Florida International, Augusta State
Just happy to be there: Coastal Carolina, Yale, Kentucky, Stetson, UNC Wilmington, Fairleigh Dickinson, Alabama State
Exactly what state the Alabama women's team is mentally remains to be seen after the horrific tornadoes that his Tuscaloosa last week. (Other teams are going to be wearing pins in support of those hurt in the storms.) Still, this is a talented bunch and Mic Potter is a veteran coach who will be able to get his team to focus when it counts. You get the sense this is the time of the year that Purdue has been waiting for all season and that the players should be able to pick things up after finishing second at Big Tens. California has a lot of talent in Pia Halbig, Joanne Lee and Emily Childs and should handle travel cross country. Michigan State and North Carolina are playing with more confidence then they have all season after winning the Big Ten and ACC titles, respectively. While Arizona State started the spring strong, Melissa Luellen's nascent squad has struggled of late but Carlota Ciganda should be able to carry them. Which Auburn team are we going to see, the one that impressed at the SEC Championship or the Tiger squad from the previous seven months? Likely somewhere in the middle, which is good enough to advance to nationals. Colorado has had a historic season that hasn't gotten much attention, but my hunch says the Buffaloes find a way to keep things rolling.
Warren GC at Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.
Locks to advance: Duke, LSU
Shouldn't have a problem: Arkansas, Wake Forest, Tulane
On the good side of the bubble: Texas, Notre Dame
On the bad side of the bubble: Stanford, Ohio State
Will play respectably: Kent State, Chattanooga, Northwestern, Minnesota
Just happy to be there: UNLV, Oklahoma State, North Texas, Wisconsin, East Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Morehead State, Illinois State, Butler
UCLA never seems to get phased by NCAA Regionals, and there's no reason to think it's going to be different this time around as the Bruins try to win their third regional title in four years. Duke hasn't won a tournament all season, the first time since 1981-82, but they haven't finished worse then fifth in any event since last September. LSU and senior Megan McChrystal has cooled off after an amazing fall, but she seems to be able to step up in big events. Arkansas' Emily Tubert won her U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links title on this course last summer, so she'll help the Razorbacks with course knowledge. It's been an uneventful year for Wake Forest but perhaps the Demon Deacons have just been saving their best for last. Tulane will likely play with extra motivation after being upset at the Conference USA Championship. Texas' Big 12 title should be a confidence booster. the team that benefits most from hosting a regional this year is Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish might have been a dark horse pick to advance no matter what course the tournament was being held at, but are definitely a factor given their familiarity with the Warren course.
Washington National GC, Auburn, Wash.
Locks to advance: Arizona
Shouldn't have a problem: Virginia, Tennessee
On the good side of the bubble: Georgia, Iowa State, Texas A&M, UC Davis
On the bad side of the bubble: Pepperdine, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Tulsa
__Will play respectably:__South Carolina, Denver, San Diego State, BYU, New Mexico, UT-San Antonio
Just happy to be there: Portland State, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Oral Roberts, UTEP
Yes, USC will play without McCloskey due to the rib injury she suffered at Pac-10s. That shouldn't, however, be a problem at regionals, where the Trojans have won four of the last five years, but would obviously be a blow to their national title hopes if she couldn't play at The Traditions Club. Arizona has been steady all season and gets a nice draw going to Washington National. Conversely, the trip out West for Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia isn't exactly what they would have wanted it. The Cavaliers and Lady Vols are likely to handle it a bit better than the Bulldogs but all three should find their return trips to be happy ones. Iowa State can prove its dream season isn't a fluke and benefits from the familiarity of being in contention so often this season. Hosting the NCAA Championship in two weeks, Texas A&M wants to be a participant not a spectator and will do what it takes to make it happen. UC Davis has three different golfers currently on their roster who have won Big West player of the year honors. The talent and depth are there it claim the last spot out West.