The Crimson Tide women’s golf team is hungry for victory. After winning the 2012 NCAA Championship, the team won a school-record seven tournaments last season, including the SEC Championship. However, it finished a disappointing seventh at its next NCAA Championship appearance.
“To go to the national championship and do what we did, it really hurt; we were all really upset,” sophomore Emma Talley said. “It really motivates us.”
The team began the year ranked No. 2 in the Golf World/NGCA Preseason Coaches’ Poll, and senior Stephanie Meadow was named Golf World’s No. 1 Female Player to Watch. However, coach Mic Potter said he doesn’t put a lot of stock into preseason polls.
“That really makes no difference at this time of year,” Potter said. “Preseason rankings are fun for everybody but us.”
The team returns four starters from last season, led by seniors Meadow and Hannah Collier, along with junior Daniela Lendl and Talley, who is fresh off her victory at the United States Women’s Amateur Championship last month. Talley was one of three Alabama players to advance through the round of 64, along with Meadow and redshirt freshman Cammie Gray.
Meadow said Talley’s victory gave her a confidence that spread to the rest of the team.
“She’s got loads of confidence, and she brings confidence to the rest of the team,” Meadow said. “If you know you can compete with the US [Amateur] champion, that’s pretty special.”
In addition to returning players, the team was bolstered this offseason by the arrival of Huntsville, Ala., native Janie Jackson, a sophomore who transferred from Arizona. Jackson started all 11 tournaments for the Wildcats, finishing in the top-10 three times, on her way to being named an honorable mention All-Pac 12 player.
Potter spoke highly of the other new addition to the team, freshman Mia Landegren, but said she might have to go through some adjustments before she can play to her full potential. Last year, Landegren helped Sweden win the European Girls Championship.
“She’s been in that sort of pressure cooker, where national pride is on the line,” Potter said “But it’s always a transition when you come from home for the first time.”
The Crimson Tide opens its fall slate in Tulsa, Okla., at the Dale McNamara Fall Preview, held at the site of this year’s NCAA Championship.
“I think it’s our opportunity to see where everybody stands and what they need to work on the most,” Potter said.
The tournament tees off Monday at the Tulsa Country Club.