The last of the founders — NCAA national championship predictions — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, May 18, 2023
Happy Golf Thursday, y’all. In the mayhem that ensues during a major championship week — it’s important to find those moments of stillness and to be grateful for every person that makes these tournaments possible. The volunteers, the groundskeepers, the people of the host town, everyone plays a role for players and fans to experience wonderment. We reflect on those that came before us — the ones that set the traditions we love to see each year. We remember those who blazed trails and became household sensations when news was printed rather than posted. And we remind ourselves that golf has a rich history, it’s not always pretty but at the core, its values are what connects us — past, present, and future.
The last of the 13 founders of the LPGA, Marlene Hagge-Vossler, passed away Tuesday morning in Rancho Mirage, California. Hagge-Vossler was the definition of a pioneer and solidified herself as one of golf’s greats before turning 18.
At age 3, she was introduced to golf by her father Dave Bauer. She and her sister Alice, quickly became sensations after their father opened a driving range in Long Beach, and put on traveling exhibitions in the mid-1940s billing his girls as “The Bauer Sisters.”
By age 10, she won the Long Beach City Boys Junior. In 1947, at 13, she won the Western and National Junior Championships, the Los Angeles Women’s City Championship, the Palm Springs Women’s Championship, Northern California Open and became the youngest player to make the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open, finishing 18th. In 1949, at 15, she became the youngest named Female Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press after winning the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
Nowadays, turning 16 means you start driving on your own, taking the SATs, and getting a part-time job but for Hagge-Vossler, turning 16 meant establishing a commonplace for women’s golf alongside 12 other women, one of which was her big sister Alice.
The founders traveled the country in cars, ran their own tournaments, set up their own golf courses, and did their own promotional appearances without much financial support from sponsors or equipment companies — during the 1950s no less. Women weren’t able to open their own accounts at the bank until the 1960s.
She went on to win 26 times on the LPGA, a career filled with not many regrets, but when asked some years back, she shared one thing she wish she would have done.
“Looking back over my career, I will always wish that I had won the [U.S. Women’s] Open. But I very rarely look back…The only reason I was able to be out on tour and remain sane for more than 40 years is because golf has never been number one. If I’d eaten, drank and slept golf I’d be a burned-out shell. I like to cook, I like to sew and do all the things normal people do.”Marlene Hagge-Vossler
Hagge-Vossler was a force. She was beautiful, fierce, and above all else, she was a competitor. Her death coming so soon after the Founder’s Cup feels like a dose of life’s bitter irony. Its ending, a duel between two of golf’s best: Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee doesn’t get any better. I sincerely hope that Marlene didn’t suffer and was able to witness her life’s work come to fruition by watching the tournament in the comfort of her home.
So here’s to celebrating life in all its glory — go play some golf today.
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Five at The IX: Predictions for the NCAA national championship
It’s hereeeee! The NCAA national championship begins tomorrow at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. 30 teams and 6 individuals are battling it out in the desert to claim the individual and team titles — I’m breaking down my top 5 predictions for both.
How to watch: You can watch the 2023 NCAA DI women’s golf championships on Golf Channel, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Check out the complete TV and streaming schedule:
- Monday, May 22: 5 p.m. ET (final round, individual stroke play), Golf Channel and Peacock
- Tuesday, May 23: Noon ET (quarterfinals, team matches) and 5 p.m. ET (semifinals, team matches), Golf Channel and Peacock
- Wednesday, May 24: 5 p.m. ET (national championship team match), Golf Channel and Peacock
Diving into individual title business, I’d be foolish not to have Rose Zhang as a top contender. She’s the defending champ and I think with her future at Stanford up in the air (will she or won’t she go pro) she will prove herself as the top-ranked amateur once again. I have Zhang as my pick for the repeat.
Rachel Kuehn of Wake Forest is a senior and has been the out-right leader of her team for the last two seasons. As a team, Wake is right on the heels of Stanford and will be a problem for the Cardinal. If Kuehn has a good first couple of days — the Deacs will have a real shot at winning the natty. I don’t know if Kuehn will be top three but she’s definitely one to watch.
Julia Lopez Ramirez of Mississippi State is the second-ranked college player in the country and for good reason. She’s having an insane college playoff run — capturing the medalist titles for the SEC conference championships and Regionals. The sophomore is my pick for runner-up.
Ingrid Lindblad hails from the same country as Annika Sorenstam and even has a similar demeanor. She’s had an amazing career at LSU and though she had a relatively off week at regionals — she’s proven that she can go low and show up in the big moments. I see her being a disrupter heading into the next few days.
Jenny Bae was on absolute fire at the regional and led her team to a wire-to-wire victory over South Carolina. Momentum is on her side and I predict that she’ll have an excellent showing at Greyhawk and could be a real threat to Zhang and Lopez Ramirez.
Honorable mention — Amanda Sambach of the University of Virginia. Medalist at the ACC conference championship and Regionals.
Team title — Teams to watch
Because the team division of the tournament is split between stroke play and match play — and 8 teams of the 30 advance to match play, I’ll be breaking down the teams to watch.
Stanford — need I say anything?
South Carolina — Carolina is the 4th best team in the country…though they placed second to Georgia in the regionals the Gamecocks are a force to be reckoned with. Led by Louise Rydqvis and Hannah Darling (sixth-ranked player in the country), Carolina has the better team.
Wake Forest and Mississippi State are two teams in striking distance of Stanford. Wake has been in close second all season long to the Cardinal and the Miss. State is on a hot streak coming off of regionals.
Georgia (over LSU) — over the last couple of weeks the Bulldogs have just played better golf. They have an older team which I think can play a huge role in the big moments.
Team to watch — Southern California (USC)…Amari Avery is vastly underrated!
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