USA TODAY Sports
The defending National Champions take center stage at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic on February 10th as they begin their title defense. The primer will include an intro into the season and a quick coach and player profile. Men's team will get the same attention later this week.
|Tournament||The Lady Puerto Rico Classic|
|Where||Rio Mar Country Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico|
|When||Sunday, February 10th - Tuesday, February 12th, 2013|
|Course||River Course, par-72, 6,300 yards|
The University of Alabama's Women's Golf Team comes into the 2013 spring season looking to defend their 2012 NCAA Championship at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic Sunday, February 10th, 2013. The team finished 8th in their first tournament of the fall season, finishing +13 in the Piggly Wiggly Cougar Classic in Charleston, SC. They bounced back to finish 2nd (+16, Fall Preview, University of Georgia, Athens) and tied for 1st (-1, Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, University of Texas, Austin) in the following two tournaments of the fall.
The Lady Tide look to open the spring with a solid showing at the river course, a par-72, 6,300 yard course where they have won the last three times they have participated in the tournament (2008, 2010, and 2011). The field of 15 Women's collegiate teams includes #13 Arkansas, #9 Purdue, #20 Texas Tech, #28 Kentucky and #33 Auburn, among others. (Rankings per the Golfweek/Sagarin Women's Collegiate Team Rankings)
Senior Jennifer Kirby (The Crimson White):
"I mean obviously we go to every tournament hoping to win; that's our goal. But I think individually, everyone probably has their own goals on what they'd like to get out of the tournament. For me, definitely just get the rust off. I haven't played a tournament since October."
Junior Stephanie Meadows (The Crimson White):
"It's a good course; it sits us pretty well, and it's pretty wide open. It's definitely a scoring course. It's a good starter tournament. You can go out there and shoot some good scores, get the confidence up and get ready for the rest of the season."
2013 Lady Tide
Alabama's biggest challenge this season is finding a replacement for three-time All American Brooke Pancake, the 2012 Honda Award winner as the nation's top collegiate women's golfer who clinched the NCAA Championship for the Tide last May. Pancake finished with a 73.08 career scoring average and led the 2011-2012 Lady Tide with a 72.52 average. Beyond simply amazing stats, she provided senior leadership and clutch performances throughout her career in Tuscaloosa.
Head Coach Mic Potter will lean on the experience of his team to help fill in the hole Pancake left. Potter, a 30 yr coaching veteran who is already a 19 yr member of the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Hall of Fame, takes an approach that is familiar to Bama fans by focusing on processes and meeting goals, not outcomes (The Crimson White):
"Our goals are personal and we have certain process goals that we judge our performances on," Potter said. "They involve not worrying about the score, not obsessing about where we finish, but rather here's the shot I have, how do I execute it to the best of my ability."
"[Pancake] brought a lot to the table, with her ability and her scores and what she meant to us academically," head coach Mic Potter said. "She gave us a lot over her four-year time span."
Coach Mic Potter
|Hired||June 17th, 2005 (8th season|
|College||Cortland State, 1977|
|Coaching Experience||Furman University, 1982-2005|
|NCAA Post Seasons||
Furman: 1983-1987, 1989-2005
|NCAA Championships||University of Alabama, 2012|
|Player Recognitions||29 NGCA All-Americans, 27 NGCA All-Scholar Team Selections, 54 All-Conference Selections, 12 Conference POTY|
Furman: 1994 NGCA Hall of Fame Honoree, 8-time Southern Conference Coach of the Year (COTY), 15 NCAA Championship Berths, six top-10 National Finishes (incl. runner-up in 1987)
UA: 4-time SEC COTY, 2012 SkyCaddie NGCA National and East Region COTY, 2010 SEC Championship
Senior Jennifer Kirby on Head Coach Mic Potter (The Crimson White)
"He knows exactly what I'm working on, and if he sees something he can point it out right away, because he knows exactly what it needs to look like, what I need to be doing. I don't know if I've improved tremendously with my skills [under Potter], but how I play, I've improved so much because of Mic."
Senior Jennifer Kirby returns as the anchor for the 2013 team after an impressive 2012 showing that brought her first team All-American and All-SEC honors. Kirby is the most seasoned member of the team and will provide senior leadership in the absence of Brooke Pancake. She is second on the team with a scoring average of 72.89 (45th nationally per the Golfweek/Sagarin Player Rankings) and specializes in a solid long ball and excellent putting skills.
Potter looks to freshman Emma Talley, the nation's number 1 recruit (Golfweek) in 2012 out of Princeton, KY, to have a break out season and help fill the void left by Pancake's absence. Talley, who led Caldwell County High School to 3 state championships, will compete for a starting slot immediately after a stellar high school career that includes being named the 2008 Kentucky Player of the Year, a 2011 Rolex Junior All-American, and not only qualifying for but making the cut in the 2011 and 2012 LPGA U.S. Open Tournaments.
Juniors Stephanie Meadow and Hannah Collier, along with Sophomore Daniela Lendl, round out the starting lineup for the Puerto Rico Classic. Meadow leads the team with a 71.67 scoring average (11th nationally) and comes off a "heralded summer that included clinching a Curtis Cup victory for great Britain and Ireland and winning the ladies British open Amatuer Championship" (RollTide.com).
Collier, a former Spain Park High School standout, is currently 8th in school history with a career scoring average of 75.58 and is one of two Alabama natives on the Lady Tide's roster.
Lendl is a former 2008 first-team Future Collegians World Tour All-American and will compete for a permanent spot in the starting lineup.
Johanna Tillstrom will be competing in the tournament individually. A talented product from Sweden, she competed immediately for playing time as a true freshman in 2011-2012 (RollTide.com)