Tide women's golf team opens NCAA regional play Thursday at Shoal Creek


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama women's golf team opens play as the No. 1 seed in the 2016 NCAA Women's Golf Regional held in Shoal Creek, Ala., on Thursday May 5. The three-day 54-hole regional will run through Saturday May 7, and will be hosted by The University of Alabama at the Shoal Creek Club.

This weekend's regional marks the Tide's 11th-consecutive invitation to NCAA postseason competition and 12th appearance overall in the tournament. The top six finishers at the Shoal Creek Regional will advance to the 2016 NCAA Championships, which will be held at Eugene Country Club on May 20-25 in Eugene, Ore.

Alabama has won two NCAA Regionals in the last five seasons. The Tide won the 2011 NCAA East Regional at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., and the 2013 NCAA East Regional at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala. In 2015, Alabama tied for fourth at the NCAA Raleigh Regional at the Lonnie Poole Golf Club in Raleigh, N.C.

Three student-athletes return from last year's regional lineup. Senior Emma Talley, who finished 7th, sophomore Lakareber Abe, who tied for 15th and senior Janie Jackson, who tied for 30th. They will be joined in this weekend's lineup by freshman Cheyenne Knight and sophomore Nicole Morales.

Talley is ranked No. 10 in the country in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index released on April 25. Knight (14), Abe (16) and Jackson (23) are also in the Top 25.

The Tide's opposition in the 16-team regional this year includes 12 teams currently ranked in the Top 50 of the April 26 Golfstat rankings, including four teams ranked in the top 20. No. 2 seed Northwestern (8th nationally), No. 3 Oklahoma State (9), No. 4 California (16) and No. 5 Iowa State (17) round out the top five seeds at Shoal Creek.

The remainder of the field includes 6. Florida State (22); 7. Tennessee (25); 8. Missouri (32); 9. Purdue (36); 10. Notre Dame (40); 11. Vanderbilt (41); 12. Clemson (47); 13. Michigan (50); 14. Middle Tennessee State; 15. New Mexico State; 16. Eastern Kentucky; 17. Oakland (Mich.); 18. Alabama State.

Alabama will tee off at 9:09 am CT on Thursday to begin first round play. Tee times on Friday and Saturday are TBD.