One could hardly ask for more as the second half of the women’s golf season begins today (through Tuesday) at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif.
The Alabama team of Coach Mic Potter, ranked second in the nation following the fall schedule, and Southern Cal, ranked first in the nation, are the featured teams.
The Crimson Tide's team score of 72.07 ranks No. 2 in the latest Golfstat statistical rankings. USC (71.84) is No. 1. Arkansas (72.23), Florida State (72.26) and Kent State (72.63) round out the top five. The Tide is No. 2 in the latest Golfweek ratings with a rating of 70.63. Stanford (70.44) is No. 1. Florida State (70.67), USC (70.89) and UCLA (70.90) round out the top five.
In addition to Alabama and USC, the Northrop Grumman field includes Arizona, Arizona State, California, Duke, Florida, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, San Diego State, Tennessee, UCLA, UNLV, Wake Forest, and Washington. Ohio State, which would not likely host a February tournament in Columbus, is host of this tournament.
The Crimson Tide finished second in last year's Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge with a 12-over par 864. Janie Jackson led the Tide with a one-under par 212, to tie for second in the individual competition. Lakareber Abe finished fourth with a one-over par 214.
The fall portion of Alabama's season was highlighted by a victory in the Mason Rudolph Championship Sept. 16-18. The win capped a record-setting weekend as the Tide posted a school-record 39-under par 825 to win the tournament by 43 shots. Alabama also set a school single-round record with a 25-under par 263 in the final round.
Leading the way for the Crimson Tide was sophomore Cheyenne Knight, who set a school-record score with a 14-under par 202 (68-67-67) to break the previous record of 13-under par (203) set by Kathleen Ekey at the 2008 Crimson Tide Classic.
Junior Lakareber Abe carded a school-record nine-under par 63 on the final day to surpass the old record by two shots. The third round performance pushed her into a tie for fourth in the final standings. Sophomore Lauren Stephenson fired a 65 on Sunday to equal the previous Alabama low-round record.
Knight begins the spring tied for third in the Golfstat individual statistical rankings. Knight (69.50) is joined in the top 30 by three of her teammates: Stephenson (70.08) is seventh, Abe (70.17) is tied for eighth, and freshman Kristen Gillman (71.77) is tied for 27th.
Knight (sixth), Stephenson (ninth), Abe (24th) and Gillman (33rd) are also among the leaders in the Golfweek women's rankings.