FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Senior Tessa Teachman is trying to make her final college tournament very special as the Baton Rouge product birdied the final two holes to shoot a 2-under par 70 to stand just one shot out of the individual lead with one round to play in the NCAA Women's Championship at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.
Teachman is at 3-under 213 for 54 holes after rounds of 69-74-70 and is tied with Brooke Pancake of Alabama at 3-under. The pair is one shot behind the lead of Chirapat Jao-Javanil of Oklahoma and Giulia Molinaro of Arizona State at 4-under 212. Jao-Javanil has had rounds of 69-73-70 and Molinaro posted rounds of 69-71-72.
The LSU team, which appeared to be windblown to the brink of the top 10 at 26-over par for the tournament got six birdies in the final three holes and a 30-foot save for a par on the last hole of the day from Lindsay Gahm to get back to 9-over for the round and 20-over par 884. LSU has had rounds of 293-294-297 and stands now just seven shots out of the lead of Alabama at 13-over par 877.
The top four teams receive the big NCAA trophies and LSU's nationally ranked Lady Tigers are just one shot out of a three-way tie for third between Purdue, South Carolina and Virginia at 19-over par 883. Southern Cal has moved all the way to second play with the co-best round of the day of 6-over to stand in second at 879.
LSU was one of just six teams to finish with single-digit scoring rounds on the afternoon that featured sun-baked greens and gusting winds. This makes Friday's final round even more anticipated as the teams that were late finishers watched the course greens crew double-rolling the ninth and 18th greens.
Alabama appeared to be well on the way to an easy win, up by as many as 15 strokes late in the final round, before falling back in the final holes on the back nine while LSU was making a charge on the front nine.
The rally started earlier on the front nine, LSU's final nine of the day, as the Lady Tigers got its second eagle on the first hole as Jacqueline Hedwall sank a shot on the par 4 from 110 yards out. Although she bogeyed 4, 5 and 6 to go to six under, she birdied 8 and 9 coming home to get in at 76. Austin Ernst, was 5-over after 11 holes, but birdied 4, 7 and 9 to get her rounds back to 2-over 74.
Teachman got to 2-under in the round with birdies on the par 4 13th and par 5 14th, her fourth and fifth holes of the afternoon before bogeying the 1st and 5th hole to go back to even. But Teachman birdied the eighth to go 1-under and then left an eagle putt on 9 to tie for the lead nervously short, but she made the next putt for birdie and a 70.
In all, after posting a counting +9 on the front side, LSU would use those six late birdies to play the final nine holes in even par.
"This team never quit," said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen, whose Lady Tigers last year had their best ever finish at a national championship, third eight shots behind winner UCLA. "They are such fighters. I told them before we teed off that is what we are known for so let's go out and play like the Tigers we are and fight all the way to the end because you never know what is going to happen. The conditions were so tough out there. Seriously tough pins along with the wind picking up. I felt we just kept plugging along and that's what it is all about."
Teachman has had some of her best moments at the end of her LSU career, averaging almost 1.5 strokes a round better than a year ago.
"She has been steady all spring," said Bahnsen. "She has worked her tail off. That has really been great. In all my years of coaching I've never had a team work as hard as this one and I mean that. It's been led by the seniors (Teachman, Hedwall). I walk out to practice and they are already out there working on things."
Teachman, who has a large entourage of family and friends enjoying this ride with her, knows the hard work has paid off.
"I had to fight the whole way," she said of her round. I had some brain dead moments where I hit some bad shots but I kept my focus enough to recover and save some pars which were crucial to my whole round. There were some tough pin placements out there. It was definitely tough."
Of her 30-footer for birdie on eight, Teachman said, "The hole made a good catch."
In all, there were only three under par rounds of the 126-team field as the stroke average went from 74.94 in round two to 76.55 on Thursday.
LSU will play with South Carolina and Virginia in the first wave of the afternoon, head of the three other leaders and will go off No. 1 which means all the leaders will play the easier front side first. LSU's first tee time is 11:50 a.m. CT.
The top four teams and top 15 individuals will be presented their awards in ceremonies at the clubhouse following the conclusion of the final round.
Live webcasting of the final round will begin at noon at NCAA.com. Live scoring will be also at NCAA.com and updates from the course will begin shortly after noon on www.Facebook.com/LSUwomensgolf and on Twitter @LSUwomensgolf and @LSUKent.
NCAA WOMEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn.
Third Round Team Scores (Par 288-864)
1. Alabama 286-285-306 - 877 +13; 2. Southern Cal 297-288-294 - 879 +15; 3. Purdue 293-295-295 - 883 +19; 3. South Carolina 302-281-300 - 883 +19; 3. Virginia 288-294-301 - 883 +19; 6. LSU 293-294-297 - 884 +20; 7. North Carolina 290-292-303 - 885 +21; 8. Arizona State 292-291-304 - 887 +23; 9. UCLA 292-290-306 - 888 +24; 9. Oklahoma 294-299-295 - 888 +24; 11. Duke 289-302-301 - 892 +28; 11. Florida 302-293-297 - 892 +28; 13. North Carolina State 299-294-305 - 898 +34; 14. Texas A&M 301-298-300 - 899 +35; 15. Colorado 297-298-305 - 900 +36; 16. Michigan State 296-311-294 - 901 +37; 16. Vanderbilt 306-284-311 - 901 +37; 18. Pepperdine 306-293-304 - 903 +39; 18. Baylor 299-304-300 - 903 +39; 20. Texas 297-295-313 - 905 +41; 21. Arkansas 303-301-309 - 913 +49; 22. Tennessee 300-307-307 - 914 +50; 23. Ohio State 303-307-305 - 915 +51; 24. Stanford 309-304-307 - 920 +56.
Individual Top 10 (Par 72-216)
1. Chirapat Jao-javanil, Oklahoma, 69-73-70 - 212 -4; 1. Giulia Molinaro, Arizona State, 69-71-72 - 212 -4; 3. Tessa Teachman, LSU, 69-74-70 - 213 -3; 3. Brooke Pancake, Alabama, 68-70-75 - 213 -3; 5. Katie Burnett, South Carolina, 74-67-74 - 215 -1; 5. Portland Rosen, Virginia, 66-75-74 - 215 -1; 7. Doris Chen, Southern Cal, 75-69-72 - 216 E; 8. Brittany Marchand, NC State, 71-70-76 - 217 +1; 8. Laura Gonzalez, Purdue, 67-76-74 - 217 +1; 10. Katherine Perry, North Carolina, 75-70-73 - 218 +2.
T3. Tessa Teachman 69-74-70 - 213 -3
T50. Madelene Sagstrom 70-72-83 - 225 +9
T54. Lindsay Gahm 76-73-77 - 226 +10
T64. Austin Ernst 78-76-75 - 227 +11
T107. Jacqueline Hedwall 83-75-76 - 234 +18