BATON ROUGE – The 17th-ranked LSU women’s golf team gets the chance to play at home this weekend as the annual LSU Tiger Golf Classic tees off Friday morning at the University Club in Baton Rouge.
The three-day event begins with tee times off the first and tenth hole beginning at 8:30 a.m. off hole 10 and 8:50 a.m. on the front nine. LSU, Baylor and Arkansas will play together in the feature group of the morning that will go off hole No. 1 beginning at 10:10 a.m. Admission to the 54-hole event is free.
The wave will feature the fourth-ranked Razorbacks coached by Shauna Estes-Taylor, a former two-time SEC Player of the Year. The Razorbacks are the top-ranked team in the 15-team field this year. LSU is coming in on a major upswing with two players having won individual titles and a third, just missing in LSU’s last start in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.
Eight of the 15 teams are ranked in the top 50 in the Golfstat Performance rankings. Also in the top 50 besides LSU and Arkansas are: UCF (16), Kentucky (29), Tulane (33), Denver (38), Notre Dame (42) and SMU (47). The rest of the field includes ULM, UNCW, UTSA, Missouri, Purdue and TCU.
Arkansas has won the event two of the last three years, including last year with a 35-over par 899 and Emily Tubert is back to defend her title after winning with three straight rounds of even par 72.
LSU and TCU are the other two teams with multiple wins in the Classic that dates back to 1982 with LSU holding the trophy on seven occasions, the last time in 2005.
Coach Karen Bahnsen has a younger team this year, but one with enough tournament experience to try to weather the added pressure of trying to play well in front of family and friends at home.
“It’s easy to put a little extra pressure on yourself to try to win for your team and school when playing at home,” said Bahnsen, who has seen all of the 32 LSU hosted events over the years as player and coach. “But to me it’s just a matter of keeping yourself moving forward, not worrying about the surroundings and continuing to peak at the right time.”
Junior Madelene Sagstrom won in Norman, Okla., and senior Lindsay Gahm took the title in San Antonio, Texas in the fall, while freshman Caroline Nistrup, who is right at the top of the list of freshmen in the Southeastern Conference, finished in a tie for the title at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate before losing in a playoff.
Those three will play in the LSU lineup along with sophomore Nadine Dreher and LSU’s other senior, Ali Lucas from Crowley. Freshman Carly Ray Goldstein and sophomore Elise Bradley will play as individuals in the competition.
“All year long we have been trying to get better every tournament and we want to keep that trend going this weekend,” said Bahnsen. “It’s just a matter of keeping that going and peaking at the right time. We always enjoy this weekend and have another fine field here. We hope the weather will hold and make it a great weekend for women’s college golf at the University Club.”
Nistrup is the highest ranked player in the tournament at No. 12 in the Golfstat performance rankings with Denver Tonje Daffinrud at No. 13. In all eight golfers are in the top 50 in the nation in the field. The others are: Allison Knowles of ULM (22), Gaby Lopez of Arkansas (24), Fanny Cnops of UCF (26), Jenny Haglund of SMU (33), Sagstrom of LSU (46) and Tubert of Arkansas (49).
Live scoring for the event can be found at lsusports.net through birdiefire.com. Follow updates on the event also on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/lsuwomensgolf and on Twitter @LSUwomensgolf.
Caroline has come in and had a chance to win at least four times. She’s competitive as she can be.
We have several ranked teams. They do put a little extra pressure on themselves to try to win at home. It’s a great golf course."