Eight of the top 10 teams and most of the top-ranked individuals in women’s collegiate golf, including No. 1-ranked USC, will get their first look at the revamped Tulsa Country Club prior to the 2014 NCAA Championship when the University of Tulsa hosts the Dale McNamara Fall Preview Monday through Wednesday.
The NCAA Championship returns to Tulsa Country Club in the spring, May 20-23. It was last held at TCC in 1999, won by Duke University. Tulsa Country Club has changed dramatically since that event, as a two-year renovation by Rees Jones was completed in 2012, giving TCC all new greens and green surrounds, restoring as much of the classic look and feel of the original design by A.W. Tillinghast as possible.
Defending national champion USC, returning all five starters including national champion Annie Park, is the consensus pick to repeat. The Trojans will be challenged in Tulsa by the likes of second-ranked Alabama (Golf World preseason poll), third-ranked Duke, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 7 Arizona, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 Vanderbilt, No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Georgia, No. 18 Tulane and No. 19 Texas
USC recorded a 72-hole total of 19-under par 1,133 to break the previous NCAA championship record set by UCLA in 2004 by a whopping 15 strokes as the Trojans captured the 2013 NCAA title in Athens, Georgia by 21 strokes last May. The win washed away a bad taste of losing a five-stroke lead to Alabama at the 2012 NCAA championship.
The top seven individual performers nationally will be at TCC, led by No. 1-ranked Annie Park of USC. Park, only a sophomore, is also the defending NCAA individual champion having captured medalist honors with a 10-under par score of 278.
Alabama’s Stephanie Meadow, Duke’s Lindy Duncan, Mariah Stackhouse of Stanford, USC’s Sophia Popov, Oklahoma State’s Kelsey Vines and Chirapat Jao-Javanil of Oklahoma round out the nation’s top-seven ranked golfers by Golfweek.
Tulsa fields a young roster with three newcomers and three returning one-year letter winners for coach Randy Keck. Leading the way is sophomore Antonia Von Wnuck, who placed among the top-10 in three of 10 tournaments last season for the Hurricane. Tulsa will have to show dramatic improvement this year or risk not participating in the championship it is hosting.
Practice rounds for the teams are scheduled for Sunday with competition beginning at 8 a.m. Monday. The tournament is open to the public at no charge.