LSU Women's Golf Set For 2019 SEC Championships
BATON ROUGE, La. – Excited is Garrett Runion’s favorite word this week as the first-year head coach of the LSU women’s golf team leads his squad into the 2019 SEC Championship, April 17-19 at the Greystone Golf and Country Club Legacy Course in Birmingham, Alabama. Live scoring will be available at GolfStat.com.
“I am very excited and looking forward to this year’s SEC Championship,” said Runion. “Selfishly, I am looking forward to the tournament as it will be my first time as the head coach of the LSU women’s team. And, secondly, I’m excited for our ladies who get to compete this week and have been trending in the right direction over our last few tournaments.”
Senior Kathleen Gallagher and junior Monica Dibildox make the return trip to the Legacy Course at Greystone, while sophomore Kendall Griffin and freshmen Presley Baggett and Alden Wallace are making their first appearance at the SEC’s postseason event. This will be Gallagher’s fourth appearance at the SEC Championship with her best performance coming in 2017 at 2-under 214 and a tie for 17th. Dibildox earned her way into last season’s SEC lineup after missing a majority of the Spring season and posted the second-lowest counting score for LSU in each round of the 2018 tournament.
“I know our three underclassmen, Kendall, Alden and Presley, are excited to compete in their first SEC Championship,” said Runion. “They all want to play well for our lone senior, Kathleen, who will be giving everything she’s got in her last SEC Championship.”
This will be the second season that the SEC uses match play to determine the team champion. The Legacy Course will play at par 72 and 6,253 yards. Three rounds of stroke play to determine the top eight teams for match play begins on Wednesday, April 17, at 8 a.m. LSU will tee off at 9:10 a.m. from Hole No. 10 and is paired with Kentucky and Missouri. LSU is sitting at No. 50 in the Golfstat national team rankings, one of 11 SEC teams ranked in the Top 50 – No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 9 Florida, No. 10 South Carolina, No. 14 Auburn, No. 22 Alabama, No. 36 Ole Miss, No. 38 Georgia, No. 41 Tennessee, No. 46 Mississippi State.
“With match play only in its second season on the women’s side, I feel we have a slight advantage since I was able to experience it two times at the SEC men’s tournament and three more times at the NCAA National Championship,” continued Runion. “There are a number of small details that can make a big difference, and if we get the opportunity to make it to match play, I like my team’s chances as we can get a win from any one of our players.”
LSU is coming off of two strong regular season performances to boost the team’s confidence heading into the postseason. The Tigers shot their two lowest rounds of the season at the Clemson Invitational, and were closing in on a third when inclement weather intervened. LSU was sitting at 8-under through 12-15 holes in the third round which had the potential to be the lowest round played by the Tigers since the 2014-15 season. LSU also played strong at its home tournament to finish runner-up with its seventh lowest score of the season in the final round.
As a squad, the Tigers are shooting 298.09, over a three-stroke average lower than last year’s numbers. Dibildox holds the team’s low average at 74.30 and has the most round on the team of par or lower at five. Gallagher is shooting a 75.35 average and, along with Griffin at 75.87, has four rounds of par or under this season. Baggett (75.67) and Wallace (75.70) each have three rounds of par or lower, while Baggett is the only Tiger to have every round count towards the team score this season.
Team Notes and Season Highlights
* Gallagher is a second-generation LSU women’s golfer. Her mother is Cissye Meeks Gallagher who played for the Tigers from 1984-88. They are the first mother-daughter pairing to play for LSU.
* LSU shot back-to-back rounds under 290 at the Clemson Invitational. The Tigers 1-under 287 on April 7 was LSU’s first round under par as a team since the third round of the 2017 SEC Championship.
* LSU has shot 10 of 23 rounds under 295 this season including back-to-back rounds in the Mason Rudolph (294-291; Sept. 21-22), in the Magnolia Invitational (290-290; Oct. 14-15), in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate (290-293; March 8-9) and in the Clemson Invitational (287-289; April 7-8).
* LSU has shot 3-over or lower in six rounds this season, the most rounds in a season since 2014-15.
* Golfweek has the Tigers ranked No. 46 overall with strength of schedule ranked No. 18 going into the SEC Championship. Golfstat has LSU ranked No. 50.
* LSU’s 5 scoring players placed in the Top 30 at the 2019 LSU Tiger Golf Classic.
* Gallagher (Sr.) tied her career low in the first round of the Magnolia Invitational with a 68. She posted her best individual finish of the season at the Clemson Invitational with a 4-under to tie for 8th place, her first Top 10 and her fourth Top 20 finish of the season. Gallagher has four rounds of par or lower this season.
* Dibildox (Jr.) posted her third par or lower finish of the season at the Clemson Invitational (Mason Rudolph and Magnolia Invitational). It was also her fourth Top 20 finish of the season. She hit a career-low 70 at the Mason Rudolph and matched the low in the first round of the Clemson Invitational. Dibildox leads the team with five rounds of par or lower and with a 74.30 scoring average.
* Griffin (So.) shot her career low of 3-under 69 in the first round of the Tar Heel Classic and followed up with a par in the second round, her third round of the season hitting par or lower. It was also her second-best finish of the season, tied for 9th. Griffin earned her best finish of the season, third place, at the LSU Tiger Golf Classic, earning her fourth round of the season of par or under. She also picked up an ace on October 18 in a practice round at LSU’s home course, the University Club, on Hole No. 8.
* Baggett (Fr.) has had every single round count towards team scoring this season. She shot the best round of her rookie season with a par 72 in the second round of the Magnolia Invitational and matched it in the final round of the LSU Tiger Golf Classic and in the second round of the Clemson Invitational. She had her best finish of the season at the home tournament, tied for 6th place.
* Wallace (Fr.) has hit par or lower in three rounds as a rookie. She posted her career low of 68 in the second round of the Mason Rudolph Women’s Championship. Wallace finished that tournament with the first top-5 finish of her collegiate career, 5-under in a tie for fourth place.