The Alabama women’s golf team didn’t grab the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, but with NCAA regional play beginning on Monday, Crimson Tide head coach Mic Potter feels confident that his team, the No. 2 national seed, can make a strong run.
“In terms of getting the No. 1 seed, we knew it was unlikely,” Potter said last week as his team prepared for its trip to the NCAA South Regional in Tallahassee, Fla. “We had played UCLA (in a February tournament in Palos Verdes, Calif.) and they beat us by about four strokes, so it was going to be hard to overcome that.”
The Crimson Tide is also coming off a solid but not spectacular SEC Championship performance that saw UA finish second in stroke play, then fall to Arkansas in the semifinals of match play.
“We actually played well except for the second day of stroke play, a score (304, or 16 over-par) which was really an outlier,” Potter said. “We just haven’t had many rounds like that this year. Overall, we’ve been playing pretty well.”
Alabama will use its regular lineup of Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman, Cheyenne Knight, Lakareber Abe and Angelica Moresco. Both Stephenson and Gillman are ranked in the Top 10 in the Golfstat NCAA player rankings. Stephenson was also a quarterfinalist at the 2017 U.S. Amateur and is a member of the U.S. Curtis Cup team.
“You’re always a little nervous going into NCAA’s,” Stephenson said. “But we’ve got a really good feeling. This team has grown a lot this season.”
The tournament was originally scheduled for Southwood Golf Club near Tallahassee, but a late venue change has the team’s playing at the Don Veller Seminole Golf Club, the home course for Florida State.
“I don’t think I’ve been there in the past 25 or 30 years,” Potter said. “Everything that’s been held down there has been at Southwood, so I don’t know a whole lot about the course. They did hold a tournament there in February and the scores were low. From what we have ascertained from talking to people and looking on Google Earth, it’s average length and fairly wide open. We’d actually prefer a tighter course because driving accuracy is one of our strengths.”
Joining the Crimson Tide at the Tallahassee Regional are No. 2 seed Furman, No. 3 Arizona, No. 4 Washington, No. 5 Wake Forest, No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 7 and host team Florida State, No. 8 Clemson, No. 9 Georgia, No. 10 Tennessee, No. 11 UNLV, No. 12 Kennesaw State, No. 13 Denver, No. 14 Coastal Carolina, No. 15 Missouri, No. 16 College of Charleston, No. 17 Richmond and No. 18 Albany.
The top six teams from the Tallahassee Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at Stillwater, Okla., on May 19-23.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.