LSU clears hurdle with seven-shot Alamo victory

Final scores

Something about Briggs Ranch Golf Course must suit LSU’s eye. The Tigers dove to 23 under through 54 holes at the Alamo Invitational played at Briggs Ranch in San Antonio, Texas, and earned their first team title of the season.

LSU head coach Karen Bahnsen attributed part of that low score to Tuesday’s calm conditions. Part of it also had to do with making more putts, which has been the missing element to LSU’s season.

“They feel very confident there,” Bahnsen said of Briggs Ranch, where the Tigers finished runner-up a year ago. “Finally, some of the putts went in.”

LSU, ranked No. 23 by Golfweek, topped Arkansas, No. 7, in their season-ending event. It was a well-timed victory for a team that must now refocus for the offseason. The Alamo is the first title for LSU since the Tigers co-medaled at the 2012 NCAA West Regional. There have been several close calls in the span between the victories, and LSU finished the past three seasons ranked inside Golfweek’s top 30.

“For us, it just reinforces that we were close,” Bahnsen said of earning a team title. Among those close calls was a runner-up finish at the Mason Rudolph last month.

LSU’s 23-under total is a new 54-hole program record for the Tigers. The team’s closing 10-under 278 is the second-lowest 18-hole score in program history.

Sophomore Caroline Nistrup led LSU at the Alamo with an 11-under 205 total that left her one shot behind tournament medalist Sophia Schubert of Auburn. Nistrup, of Denmark, and senior Madelene Sagstrom, of Sweden, have been LSU’s most visible leaders for the past two seasons, but junior Elise Bradley’s contribution has been key this fall. Bradley leads the team in scoring, and contributed rounds of 71-69-70 at Briggs Ranch to tie for fourth individually.

One hurdle down, Bahnsen’s team still must find a reliable fourth for the spring season. The competition doesn’t get any easier for LSU, which has traditionally played a rigorous schedule.

This title, however, could redefine the season.

“It reinforces what we’re working on,” Bahnsen said.

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