The 2018-19 LSU women’s golf team is all about the domino theory.
Chipping away at small goals until they topple over bigger ones is the theme for the Lady Tigers, who are in their first season under new coach Garrett Runion.
“It’s about basic improvement,” said Runion, who spent the previous six seasons as an LSU men’s assistant before moving over to replace retiring Hall of Fame coach Karen Bahnsen. “Our No. 1 goal is to become more of a team, to support each other and improve our skill set.”
Runion gave his players domino pins to wear on their outfits when they compete, and he hands out cards with a purple and gold domino on one side and an inspirational message on the other.
“Every day, we’re trying to knock over dominoes,” he said.
The proof of LSU’s improvement is in the numbers.
From last season to this season, LSU’s team average has improved 3.82 strokes. From fall 2017 to fall 2018, the team made was a 1.58-stroke boost.
LSU’s year-over-year average team finish has also improved 2.83 spots to 10.5.
“It’s a tick in the right direction,” Runion said. “They’re buying into what we’re doing.”
Before his stint under LSU director of golf Chuck Winstead, Runion was head coach at Nova Southeastern in Florida, leading the men’s team there to the 2012 NCAA Division II championship in his one season as head coach.
“It’s been good,” said Runion, who played at LSU. “I miss some of the guys I recruited like Luis Gagne, but I like it a lot more than I thought I would.”
The Lady Tigers are led by a trio of players, starting with Monica Dibildox. A junior from Mexico, Dibildox had three top-20 finishes in LSU’s four starts and led the team with a 73.22 fall stroke average.
“Her score counted in every round,” Runion said. “If she can keep doing that we will be trending in the right direction.”
Alden Wallace, a freshman from Shreveport, had the team’s best finish with a tie for fourth in the Mason Rudolph Women’s Championship and averaged 73.78 strokes per round. Senior Kathleen Gallagher, daughter of former LSU golfer Cissye Meeks Gallagher and former PGA touring pro (and Golf Channel analyst) Jim Gallagher, posted one top-20 finish and a 74.33 stroke average.
After the winter break, the Lady Tigers return to action in the Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, Sunday-Tuesday at English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans.
For the ninth straight year, Tulane will serve as the host institution for the Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, which has attracted a stellar field. Along with LSU, the field includes No. 1 Southern California, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Duke. The Lady Gators are the reigning Sugar Bowl team champion.
The Lady Tigers will host their own tournament this spring, the annual LSU Tiger Golf Classic, March 29-31 at University Club. The postseason begins with the SEC Championship, April 17-21 in Birmingham, Alabama, with NCAA regional sites to be determined. LSU is seeking its first NCAA team appearance since hosting a regional at the University Club in 2016.
The NCAA Championships will be May 17-22 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at The Blessings Golf Club, a week before the NCAA men’s championships are held there.
2019 LSU women’s spring golf schedule
Date Event Location
Sunday-Tuesday Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate English Turn Golf and Country Club
March 8-10 Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
March 15-16 Tar Heel Classic La Romana, Dominican Republic
March 29-31 LSU Tiger Golf Classic University Club
April 7-9 Clemson Invitational Sunset, South Carolina
April 17-21 SEC Championship Birmingham, Alabama
May 6-8 NCAA regional TBD
May 17-22 NCAA Championships Fayetteville, Arkansas