Golfweek's Preseason Women's Rankings: Stanford primed for repeat
Rose Zhang (L) and Rachel Heck (Golfweek photo)
The busy summer amateur season has faded to fall as schools across the country are back in session, which means college golf is back in season.
Stanford, the defending national team champions with a loaded roster that includes the last two individual national champions – as well as a star incoming freshman – is no surprise at No. 1 and boasts massive depth even past its starting five. Last year’s NCAA runner-up Oregon also finds itself inside the top five, as well as Wake Forest, who will see a former player and All-American return to the roster after a year off.
Check out the top 30 teams entering the 2020-21 college golf season.
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The defending national champions return four starters and add a freshman phenom in Megha Ganne
. Need we say more?
If a couple putts drop and matches get flipped, Oregon could have hoisted the national championship trophy last year after coming up just short against Stanford. The Ducks return three starters but will need to replace Heather Lin and Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen with quality players if they want another shot at the title.
3. Wake Forest
At times over the past few seasons Wake Forest has played like the best team in the nation. This season could be when it all comes together. Led by seniors Rachel Kuehn
and Lauren Walsh
, along with sophomore Carolina Chacarra
, the Demon Deacons have a potent 1-2-3 and will also see graduate student and former All-American Emilia Migliaccio
return to the squad.
4. South Carolina
Hannah Darling and Louise Rydqvist played well as freshman and will need to take another step forward if South Carolina is to live up to its potential. The Gamecocks performed as a top-five team for most of last season and add USC transfer Katherine Muzi
as a senior leader alongside Mathilde Claisse
UCLA losing Emma Spitz
is a big blow, but few teams are as deep as the Bruins with seniors Annabel Wilson
and Emilie Paltrinieri
, junior Ty Akabane
and sophomores Alessia Nobilio
, Caroline Canales
and Zoe Campos
all primed to play a meaningful role in the team’s quest to return to match play.
6. Arizona State
Last chance for romance at Grayhawk for hosts Arizona State, who narrowly missed a spot in match play last season. The Sun Devils lose two veteran players and will have a young squad, but Ashley Menne’s
experience should play a pivotal role in keeping the program among the national title contenders.
7. Oklahoma State
The Cowgirls lost two key players last spring and still found their way to the NCAA Championship. Maddison Hinson-Tolchard
and Rina Tatematsu
assume the roles as the team’s leaders, and now that head coach Greg Robertson has his squad set in Stillwater, expect a return to Grayhawk this spring.
It seems like Ingrid Lindblad
hasn’t hit a poor shot in her college career. The senior has been one of the most consistent players in college golf the last three years and is looking to be a four-time All-American. Fellow senior Latanna Stone
, who fell just short at the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, is just another experienced player leading a squad that will be a nightmare to face in match play.
9. Southern California
Amari Avery was just what the Trojans needed last year, and after a three-win spring semester (her first college golf experience) the sophomore is primed for a big season. Sprinkle in fellow underclassmen Cindy Kou
, Michaela Morard
and experienced players like junior Brianna Navarrosa
and senior Malia Nam
and USC could be back in national title contention this spring.
10. Texas A&M
The transfer portal can transform a program in just one year. Don’t believe me? Look at the Aggies. In his first year, Gerrod Chadwell’s squad went on a semifinal run and all five starters return this season. Names to keep an eye on are seniors seniors Blanca Fernandez Garcia-Poggio
and Jennie Park
, as well as junior Zoe Slaughter
(who may have the best name in college golf) as well as former first-team All-American Hailee Cooper
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Related: Tournaments to Watch This Fall
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11. Florida State
13. San Jose State
20. Ohio State
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22. Texas Tech
23. Ole Miss
by Cameron Jourdan, Golfweek