BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The 16th-ranked LSU women’s golf team took a look at the 2014 version of the Founders Course at the Greystone Country Club which will host its second Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championship beginning Friday morning.
The Founders Course is hosting the event for the second straight year, but close to 400 yards has been taken off the length of the course to hopefully showcase the play of some of the nation’s top teams over the course of the 54-hole event which runs through Sunday.
LSU was pronounced ready by Coach Karen Bahnsen as her team, which has had three individuals finish runnerup in tournaments this spring (two after tying for medalist honors). But as a team, LSU has a second, third and fourth in the spring as well as the Lady Tigers look to improve on last year’s tie for seventh finish over the Founders Course layout.
“I felt all year long this team is dangerous if we ever get it going at the same time,” said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen, in her 30th year as head coach at LSU and the dean of SEC women’s golf coaches. “We just haven’t had that happen yet. I still feel strongly that is going to happen. I just don’t know when. But coming into post-season play, I feel that it will happen for us. They are working hard and that’s all you can ask.”
Nine of the 14 teams are ranked in the top 30 in the national Golfstat rankings and those will be the opening three waves of the tournament off hole No. 1 beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday in the opening round.
In the first wave will be No. 22 Auburn, No. 29 Mississippi State and No. 30 Kentucky. The second wave at 8:50 a.m. will have No. 13 Vanderbilt, No. 16 LSU and No. 19 Florida while in the third wave at 9:40 will be No. 4 Arkansas, No. 6 South Carolina and No. 7 Alabama. The other five teams will go off the 10th tee beginning at 8:20 a.m.
Alabama won the event a year ago with a 54-hole total of 35-over 899 while Stephanie Meadow of the Crimson Tide posted even par 216.
LSU is 22-16 against the other league teams this year as it looks to win its first SEC title since it brought down the 1992 event in Baton Rouge.
LSU will go with a lineup of Swedish junior Madelene Sagstrom (31st in the Golfstat rankings with a 72.48) average, the seventh best average in the SEC) followed by the freshman from Denmark, Caroline Nistrup, who has the second best freshman average in the SEC of 72.57 and is ranked 26th in the Golfstat rankings.
The rest of the lineup will feature senior Lindsay Gahm from Louisville, who averages 74.20. She will be followed by LSU’s other senior, Ali Lucas of Crowley at 75.30. Off her outstanding performance where she finished second in Dallas, freshman Carly Ray Goldstein will be in the fifth spot at 76.38.
Nistrup and Sagstrom tied for individual honors in spring tournaments but lost in playoffs, while Goldstein was second in the rain-shortened SMU/DAC event. Sagstrom and Gahm won tournaments for the Lady Tigers in the fall.
So Bahnsen knows the Lady Tigers are ready, but even though the course will be different and maybe easier to score on, it is still a complicated 18 holes of golf.
“First of all, you have to show this course a lot of respect,” Bahnsen said. “It’s a difficult golf course. You have to be very patient. If you can just focus on that, everything else will take care of itself.”
But Sagstrom, Gahm and Lucas have seen the course and played in the event last year with Gahm finishing in a tie for 11 at 13-over 229.
“The more knowledge you have about this golf course the better,” Bahnsen, whose Lady Tigers have finished second or third eight times in the last 19 SEC events. “Some of these greens are very tricky if you are on the wrong side of the green. You are leaving yourself a lot of work. Playing the University Club (in Baton Rouge) every day helps them not be intimidated by this course. But basically we just want to take it one step and one shot at a time.”
The event runs through Sunday and live scoring will be available at LSUsports.net through Golfstat.net. Follow tournament updates on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUwomensgolf and on Twitter @LSUwomensgolf.