The Spring of 2021 was filled with controversy in the women's golf world. The Baton Rouge regional golf tournament was cancelled as the NCAA deemed the course, "not playable at a championship level." The course received a fair amount of rain over the week and decided against rescheduling or relocating
Instead, without a single shot taken, LSU, Ole Miss, Oregon, Maryland, Baylor, and Alabama advanced. This decision ended numerous college careers and frankly put a bad taste in many golf fan's mouths. But I am optimistic that we can put this horrendous ruling behind us and enjoy the wonderful golf that lies ahead.
After all, women's division 1 golf is littered with a ton of talent. Here is what to expect this season:
Stanford is going to be really, really good.
The Cardinal return everybody but Ziyi Wang. Among those returning is Sophomore sensation and Preseason All-American Rachel Heck. Heck finished her freshman season with victories at the Pac-12 Championship, NCAA Stanford Regional, and the NCAA National Championship. The scary part for the rest of the country is that she may not be the best player on the team. The Cardinal bring in one of the best recruits golf has seen in quite some time. Incoming freshman, Rose Zhang, will find her place in this Stanford lineup rather quickly. Zhang enters the season as the top ranked amateur in the world ahead of teammate Heck and became the first to win both the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. Pair these two with fellow teammate and first team All-American Angelina Ye and Palo Alto can start buzzing.
Ole Miss isn't going anywhere either.
The defending champs are here to defend the crown. The Rebels lost just one member from their championship winning team and added more depth in the form of freshman Natacha Host. Host won twice over the summer in Denmark and will fit nicely into the backend of an abundantly talented roster.
Arizona State returns one of their winningest stars.
Linn Grant of Arizona State won four times last spring and will return this fall as one of the best in the country. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, she will likely be turning pro next spring after finding herself exempt to stage 2 of the LPGA Q-School. Her team is filled with talented individuals but her absence will be a lot to overcome.
One other California school could make a run.
UCLA houses maybe the only other golfer in the PAC 12 with a chance to dethrone the three headed dragon at Stanford. Emma Spitz won a regional title and was NCAA runner-up last season. She took home the Austrian Women's Stroke Play Championship this Summer and is poised for another run with the Bruins this fall.
Top programs around the country get to see some amazing courses during the 2021-22 season. The Barbara Nicklaus Cup will be an exciting tournament to watch as Muirfield Village Golf Club plays host. The East Lake Cup which was won by the eventual champs on both the men's and women's side last season will be at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. East Lake is home to the PGA Tour Championship and provides a fun chance for colleges to showcase their ability. I am most excited to see the top teams and individuals return to beautiful Greyhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale and battle it our for a championship.
Team Power Rankings: 1. Stanford 2. Ole Miss 3. Duke 4. Wake Forest 5. LSU
Individual Power Rankings: 1. Rose Zhang (Stanford) 2. Rachel Heck (Stanford) 3. Ingrid Lindblad (LSU) 4. Linn Grant (Arizona State) 5. Emma Spitz (UCLA)