The countdown to the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club is at 170 days on this brutally cold February Friday, which is all the more reason to keep an eye on the college women’s golf scene, since many of the top collegiate players will be headed for Springfield this summer.
The team I have followed most closely since I started this blog is Purdue because Aurora Kan, a three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, starred there for four years. The spring portion of the season always started for the Boilermakers with them playing host to the Lady Puerto Rico Classic and that will be the case this season as well.
While we’re shivering with sub-zero wind chills Sunday, five of Golfweek’s top 20 teams in the country, including No. 20 Purdue, will tee off on the first day of the 54-hole Lady Puerto Rico Classic at the Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico as the college scene awakens after three-plus months in hibernation.
Leading the 16-team field are No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Northwestern. Kent St. and Arkansas, ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, are also in the field.
The rankings can be a little misleading, though, and nobody knows that better than Purdue. The Boilermakers were never able to crack the top 30 in the national rankings last season, but reached the final day of stroke play at the NCAA Tournament before coming up short of a spot among the eight teams that advanced to match play.
Four of Kan’s teammates on that team had solid fall campaigns for the Boilermakers. Swede Anna Appert Lund inherited Kan’s role as the senior leader for Devon Brouse’s team. Purdue is still relatively young, though. The other three top returnees are junior August Kim of St. Augustine, Fla., sophomore Linn Andersson, like Appert Lund a Swede, and sophomore Marta Martin of Spain. Kim and Martin are probably the most talented of the Boilers, but the Swedes are both capable players who are battle-tested.
Appert Lund’s tie for 10th at the Landfall Tradition that concluded the fall campaign for the Boilers, was the 15th top-10 finish of her career. Ida Ayu Indira Meluti Putri, a freshman from Bali, rounded out the five-women lineup at the Landfall. We’ll see beginning Sunday if there are any significant changes in the lineup.
Georgia got a little bit of a headstart on some of the teams in the field at its Lady Bulldog Individual Championship last weekend. Freshman Rinka Mitsunaga of Roswell, Ga. captured the title in the one-day 36-hole event. The Bulldogs are also led by junior Harang Lee of Spain and freshman Bailey Tardy of Peachtree Corners, Ga.
Northwestern is led by sophomore Hannah Kim, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year from Chula Vista, Calif. Kim finished second individually in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic a year ago, leading the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish.
Also in the field are Texas Tech, ranked 26th by Golfweek, and No. 30 North Carolina St.
As I mentioned in my last post, my Twitter handle has changed. I’ll throw a tweet on @Tmacgolf16 to alert you when I create a new post to the blog.