NEW ORLEANS - The home of the LSU women's golf course is undergoing renovation so this year's LSU-hosted golf tournament which starts on Friday takes on a whole new look.
With the University Club in Baton Rouge not available, LSU teamed with Tulane to put together the Tiger-Wave Classic and in the process has a premiere venue in English Turn Golf Club, the former home of the New Orleans PGA Tour stop.
Put is all together and add one of the biggest fields in college golf outside an NCAA Regional or Championship and you have a 23-team field that will tackle a tough venue over three days and 54 holes starting Friday.
But it's just not any 23 team field. There are a total of 16 teams in the field ranked in the top 50 in the Golfstat performance rankings, including four of the top 10 and nine of the top 20.
"It's a great field," said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen. "We are happy to be joining with Tulane to put on this great event that has attracted a tremendous field. We have tried to set up the golf course where it will be a good and fair test for women's golf."
The teams in the top 50 based on March 10 rankings are: No. 3 Auburn, No. 5 Purdue, No. 7 Alabama, No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 13 Vanderbilt, No. 16 Tennessee, No. 17 Georgia, No. 18 Virginia, No. 20 LSU, No. 26 Louisville, No. 27 TCU, No. 28 Tulane, No. 35 North Carolina, No. 41 Arkansas, No. 46 Notre Dame and No. 47 Furman.
The rest of the field includes College of Charleston, North Carolina State, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, UNC Wilmington and Central Florida.
Defending champion from the LSU Golf Classic a year ago at the University Club, Virginia, is back after shooting eight-under 856 to win the event. It has been since 2000-01 in the first two years of the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic at the U-Club that a team (LSU) has successfully defended the title.
LSU is still looking to get its full lineup together as freshman Mary Michael Maggio continues to recover from off-season surgery that has kept her from being ready to play. But LSU will look for strong efforts again from junior Megan McChrystal and sophomore Tessa Teachman who both posted top 10 finishes in the last event in Valdosta, Ga.
Tulane was the winner of that tournament at Kinderlou Forest after finishing last in a field of 17 the week before in Arizona. Janine Fellows leads the Wave with a 74.00 stroke average for Coach J. T. Horton.
"Tulane will certainly know the course better than we do so they will certainly have more of the home course advantage," said Bahnsen. "But we've been able to get the girls down there four or five times in recent weeks, so they have been able to get a good idea as to how this course will play."
The first 18 holes get underway with tee times off No. 1 and No. 10 tees at 8 a.m. on Friday with the second round set to start at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The tournament will finish with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start on Sunday. Admission is free for all three days.