Wednesday should be an interesting day for University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne.
When the Crimson Tide women’s golf team plays for the national championship, it’ll be facing his former school and the coach he hired in 2010.
Laura Ianello, then known as Laura Myerscough, played for the Wildcats from 1998-2003 and was part of the Wildcats’ 2000 national championship. She spent five seasons playing professionally, but went back to Arizona to finish up her degree and became an assistant coach.
Ianello was the first of Byrne’s nine coaching hires at Arizona. Football’s Rich Rodriguez was his third in November 2011, and baseball’s Jay Johnson was his last in 2015. During his first season, Johnson led the Wildcats to the College World Series Finals.
- What: NCAA Women’s Match Play Championship
- When: 3:25 ET Wednesday.
- Where: Karsten Creek, Stillwater, Okla.
- Par: 72; Yardage: 6328
- Weather forecast: The Weather Channel forecast is for partly cloudy skies, high of 87 degrees, winds SSE 9 mph. There’s a 25 percent chance of rain.
Alabama players are listed first, along with individual pre-tournament rankings.
- Lauren Stephenson (3) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (31)
- Kristen Gillman (6) vs. Gigi Stoll (75)
- Cheyenne Knight (19) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (67)
- Angelica Moresco (91) vs. Sandra Nordaas (NR)
- Lakareber Abe (54) vs. Haley Moore (28)
What’s the best way to keep up with the match
Fans have numerous options:
TV: The Golf Channel will show the match beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
Live updates: Will be posted on SEC Country
Live stats: Will be available on golfstat.com
Twitter updates: @AlabamaWGolf
What you should know
- The SEC hasn’t won the national title since the championships went to the same format as the men, with four days of stroke play followed by the match-play playoffs, in 2015. The winners have all been from the Pac-12, with Stanford, Washington and Arizona State. The last SEC team to win the title was Alabama in 2012.
- The Wildcats shot +17 on the final day of stroke play and needed an eagle on the par-5 18thhole by Bianca Pagdangdanan to force a playoff with Baylor for the last spot in the quarterfinals. She also made a birdie on 18 in the quarterbacks to top UCLA’s Patty Tavatanakit as Arizona won the match 3-2.
- Alabama came into the tournament as the top-seeded team and finished the stroke-play portion tied for first. Had the tiebreaker gone the other way, with UCLA places first in the match-ply bracket, Alabama and Arizona would have played in the quarterfinals.
- Arizona is looking for its first national championship in women’s golf since 2000.It also won the title in 1996. Alabama is aiming to win its second national title.
- The Alabama men’s players and coaches will arrive early to cheer on the women’s team and check out the course. After a practice round on Thursday, their version of the NCAA Championships will begin on Friday.
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