No. 2 Alabama heads to New Orleans for tournament

This weekend, the Crimson Tide women’s golf team will head to English Turn Country Club in New Orleans, La., to participate in its second event of the spring, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate tournament. No. 2 Alabama started the spring season strong at its first event, winning the Lady Puerto Rico Classic for the fourth consecutive time.

The Tide will not have an easy path to victory in New Orleans, as the 18-team field includes top-ranked USC, No. 3 Duke and No. 5 Florida. However, coach Mic Potter said he doesn’t worry about the other teams on the course.

“I have no idea who’s playing,” Potter said. “That’s one of the cornerstones to our approach. We can’t control the opposition. All we can do is play the course to the best of our abilities.”

Potter said the most important aspect of the game in this tournament will be putting.

“The key to our success is always how well we putt,” Potter said. “We putted pretty well in Puerto Rico, one of our better putting tournaments over the past five years, and won by thirteen. We need to continue that and hopefully improve on it.”

This week’s windy conditions have helped the team prepare for English Turn, as Potter believes it could face similar weather conditions in New Orleans.

“We had a good practice [Monday] because it was 20-25 mile-an-hour winds, which I think we’ll probably see in New Orleans,” Potter said.

In another good sign for the team, junior Stephanie Meadow has fully recovered from the stomach virus that dogged her throughout the P.R. Classic, and she returned to practice on Monday. While Meadow is the current standout player, the team has high expectations for freshman Emma Talley, a two-time U.S. Open qualifier who was the top recruit in the nation. Talley tied for fifth place in Puerto Rico, and her presence gives the team excellent depth.

The team has been successful at English Turn recently, finishing fourth in the tournament last season and second in 2011, when then-freshman Stephanie Meadow won the individual title. Potter said he hopes past success will give his players confidence this weekend.

“Most of them have had a positive experience there, and really liked the course,” Potter said. “It’s a really good golf course, and they appreciate that and look forward to the challenge.”

The tournament tees off Sunday, Feb. 24.

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