BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen calls it a “learning experience” for her young group of Lady Tigers as they ended up in a tie for seventh in the Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championships after battling the elevation changes and swirling winds of the Founder’s Course at Greystone Country Club.
The Lady Tigers, ranked 31st in the country and now waiting on their NCAA regional assignment on April 29, posted a final round of 21-over 309 to finish at 59-over 923 (303-311-309). LSU tied with Arkansas who had rounds of 313-308-302.
For LSU it was at times a frustrating exercise as good shots took wayward bounces and putts were close to falling for birdies and pars.
“It didn’t quite go the way we wanted it to,” said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen. “We need to keep building from this and use this as a learning experience. I told these girls it wasn’t out week. Everything we’ve done was to build us toward NCAA Regionals. This team, like I’ve told you before, is the hardest working team and they are fighters. Did it go their way? No, but they can’t hang their heads and feel sorry for themselves and keep fighting and going from there. They are giving it their all.
“Some weeks aren’t your week. We are going to get there,” Bahnsen said. “They’ve done some really good things this semester and we aren’t done yet. We haven’t played a lot of courses with a lot of elevation changes; they got better at that. We haven’t played a lot of courses where the wind is swirling around in the trees and that type of stuff. They are starting to learn to do that. This is a good experience so if we go to Auburn (East Regional site) it is going to be a lot like this terrain. If we go to Oklahoma (Central Regional) it might windy. We have to take every opportunity to learn and get better and that’s what it is all about for this group.”
Gahm finished the best for LSU, just missing the top ten for the 54 holes with her three-day total of 229 (74-78-77, +13) that gave her an 11th place finish.
Alabama, the defending national champions and the nation’s No. 2 ranked team, won its second SEC title with a final score of 899, 35-over par and 14 shots better than runnerup Georgia. Alabama had rounds of 304-293-302 to win. Their other SEC title came in Tuscaloosa in 2010.
South Carolina, sixth entering the round, and Vanderbilt, seventh after two days, made the biggest moves with the Gamecocks taking third place and Vanderbilt fourth. USC posted plus-54 with Vandy another stroke back. Kentucky and Mississippi State tied for fifth at plus 58, one shot ahead of the LSU-Arkansas tie in seventh.
Stephanie Meadow of Alabama fired a final round of 72 to finish as the individual champion at even par 216 (75-69-72). She was nine shots clear of Sarah Harris of Kentucky at 9-over par 225.
LSU’s expected bid to the NCAA Regionals will be the team’s 19th in the 21-year history of the event which actually began with the first East Regional in 1993 at LSU. There are three regionals with 24 teams invited to each event which are to be held at Auburn, Oklahoma and Stanford, May 9-11. The top eight in each will go on to the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships to be held later in May at the University of Georgia.
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1. Alabama (304-293-302 = 899) + 35; 2. Georgia (306-305-302 = 913) +49; 3. South Carolina (306-309-303 = 918) +54 4. Vanderbilt (309-309-301 = 919) +55 T5. Kentucky (306-308-308 = 922) +58 T5. Mississippi State (306-303-313 = 922) +58 T7. Arkansas (313-308-302 = 923) +59 T7. LSU (303-311-309 = 923) + 59 9. Tennessee (312-309-308 = 929) +65 10. Auburn (321-306-306 = 933) +69 11. Texas A&M (318-309-307 = 934) +70 12. Ole Miss (317-321-303 = 941) +77 13. Florida (315-318-319 = 952) +88 14. Missouri (312-321-322 = 955) +91
1. Stephanie Meadow, UA (75-69-72 = 216) E 2. Sarah Harris, UK (73-76-76 = 225) +9 T3. Emily Tubert, AR (76-74-76 = 226) +10 T3. Justine Dreher, SC (74-76-76 = 226) +10 T3. Ally McDonald, MS (77-70-79 = 226) +10 T6. Victoria Trapani, AU (78-73-76 = 227) +11 T6. Liz Breed, UK (76-73-78 = 227) +11 T8. Sarah Schmelzel, SC (76-76-76 = 228) +12 T8. Manuela Carbajo Re, UG (77-75-76 = 228) +12 T8. Rica Tse, MS (77-78-73 = 228) +12