NEW ORLEANS – For the LSU women’s golf team it may seem like forever since a fall season in which the nationally-ranked Lady Tigers saw two of its players record their first individual college tournament wins.
Now the Lady Tigers, ranked 23rd in the final coaches poll of the fall and 25 in the Feb. 6 Golfstat performance rankings, return to action in New Orleans Sunday in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate at the English Turn Golf and Country Club.
The three-day event will feature eight-of-the-top 25 teams in the Golfstat performance rankings and 12 of the top 20 women’s collegiate golfers in the country.
Joining LSU and host Tulane in the 17-team field will be Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Denver, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCLA, USC, UTSA and Washington.
USC comes in No. 1 and UCLA No. 2 in the performance rankings and USC won the title here a year ago after tying with UCLA at 4-over par on the par 72, 6,140-yard layup.
Included in the group of top golfers scheduled to compete include No. 1 ranked Alison Lee of UCLA, No. 2 Stephanie Meadow of Alabama and No. 3 Ashlan Ramsay of Clemson. Helping to lead the LSU charge is the freshman who had such a strong start to her college career, Caroline Nistrup of LSU, who is ranked No. 8 on the Golfstat performance rankings.
The native of Denmark posted two top finishes in the fall, had a low round of 65 and eight rounds of par or better in averaging 71.00 strokes for her 12 rounds.
Junior Madelen Sagstrom of Sweden and senior Lindsay Gahm come into the spring off tournament wins and good overall fall seasons. Sagstrom won the title at the Schooner Fall Classic in Norman, Okla., with a 4-under par 66 to finish at 4-under 206, while Gahm posted rounds of 68, 68 and 69 to score the title in The Alamo Invitational in San Antonio, Texas, in the final event of the fall.
Both had overall good fall campaigns with Sagstrom averaging 72.17 strokes per round, while Gahm checked in at 73.44.
All three will be in the lineup for LSU in the opener, joined by senior Ali Lucas of Crowley and sophomore Elise Bradley of Mandeville. Lucas had a good fall for the Lady Tigers, averaging 74.33 for the event.
Unlike some of the past breaks between the fall and spring portions of the semester, Coach Karen Bahnsen elected to use the couple of hours each week that players were allowed to work out during that break and she put the time to good use.
“We have been working on the mental aspects of the game out there,” said Bahnsen. “What are you thinking out there? We want to try to knock out some of the negative thoughts and work on our confidence level. They have been working hard. The main thing is to keep the mindset going (from the fall).”
The LSU team had a good fall overall, taking third at the Schooner Classic and second at The Alamo Invitational with an impressive 16-under par score of 848.
Also, the women’s golf team was recognized in the fall for a perfect graduation score of 100, something pleases Bahnsen as much as her team’s on course efforts.
“You know how important it is to me to get it done both on the golf course and in the classroom,” said Bahnsen. “People don’t realize how hard these girls work. It doesn’t come easily for them. We try to balance it the best we can. We also get a lot of great help from the (Cox Communications) Academic Center for Student-Athletes.”
After this event, the Lady Tigers will play at the Darius Rucker Invitational in early March before hosting its annual LSU Tiger Golf Classic at the University Club in Baton Rouge, March 21-23. The spring season will conclude with a first ever appearance at SMU’s event in Dallas, April 4-6. The Southeastern Conference championships will again be held later that month at Greystone Country Club in Birmingham.
The teams will have a practice round at English Turn on Saturday morning before the tournament proper begins at 9 a.m. with tee times on Sunday. LSU will be in the final wave off the front nine paired with Oklahoma State and Clemson. Action begins on Monday at 9 a.m. and the 54-hole event concludes Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m.
Live scoring can be found at LSUsports.net through golfstat.com and on the Golfstat app. Follow LSU women’s golf on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/lsuwomensgolf and on Twitter @LSUwomensgolf.