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Apr 26, 2023

Clemson Women Selected for NCAA Tournament

Clemson, SC—ACC Champion Clemson was selected for the Pullman Washington Regional of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship on Wednesday afternoon, to be held May 8-10.  Coach Kelley Hester’s team will be one of 12 teams in the field.  The top five teams after 54 holes of stroke play will advance to the National Championship Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 19-24.

The Pullman Regional will be held at Palouse Ridge Golf Club, the home course for the Washington State University program.  This will be Clemson’s first appearance at this course, but the second time Clemson has played in an NCAA Regional in the state of Washington.  In 2014, Clemson’s first year of competition, Clemson played in the NCAA Regional at  Tumble Creek Golf Club in Suncadia, Washington.

The Palouse Ridge Golf Club will play host to a women’s regional for the first time.  It played host to a men’s NCAA Regional in 2013.  The course opened on August 29, 2008. The facility is  2600 feet above sea level.

This will be Clemson’s eighth selection to the NCAA Women’s Golf Tournament in nine possible opportunities.  The team missed the 2015 tournament and the COVID19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 tournament.   

The Tigers finished fifth at the 2017 regional in Athens, Ga. to advance to the National Tournament, where they finished tied for 20th.  Clemson lost in a playoff with Wake Forest for a spot in the national Tournament in 2018.

This year’s Clemson team is coming off its first ACC Championship.    Clemson won the tournament at Sedgefield Golf Club in Greensboro on April 16.  The Tigers defeated Duke in the semifinals and Virginia in the finals by identical 3-1-1 scores.

The field at the Pullman Regional includes top-ranked and defending National Champion Stanford and the nation’s number-one player Rose Zhang.  Baylor, ranked 12th by Golfstat, is seeded second, while Southern Cal, ranked 13th by Golfstat, is seeded third.  Clemson is the #4 seed at the regional with a #24 overall national ranking.  Kentucky is the #5 seed with a #29 ranking by Golfstat and Golfweek.

The other teams in the field include Texas Tech, Houston, North Carolina, UNLV, Sacramento State, Cal Poly and Green Bay.   

Clemson played a difficult schedule this year and has faced five of the teams in the Pullman Regional.  Clemson has an 8-3 record with a 94-stroke advantage against those five teams.  Clemson has played in tournaments against 43 of the other 71 teams in the NCAA Championship.

Clemson has three starters with NCAA Tournament experience.  Senior Savannah Grewal and junior Annabelle Pancake have each player in two regionals previously and sophomore Melena Barrientos has played in one.  Chloe Holder and Isabella Rawl will be playing in their first NCAA Tournament.

Grewal leads Clemson in stroke average this year with a 71.96 figure.  She finished 19th at the Stillwater Regional last year with a 219 score for 54 holes.    The four-year Clemson letterman from Canada has a team best 13 under-par rounds this year and leads the team in birdies with 88 and eagles with three.  She is ranked 80th in the latest Golfstat rankings, best among Clemson golfers.

Annabelle Pancake, ranked 92nd nationally,  is second on the team in stroke average with a 72.29 figure, but she has been Clemson’s best player this spring with four top 10 finishes.  The native of Indiana finished second at the Clover Cup with a 10-under-par score March 12, then was co-champion at the Clemson Invitational two weeks later.  She was Clemson’s top player in the ACC Tournament with a seven-under-par 209 score and fourth-place finish.

Chloe Holder is third on the team in stroke average with a 72.79 figure. The red-shirt freshman has seven under-par rounds and seven at par this year.    Her round of six -under par 64 at the Schooner Classic is the best by a Clemson golfer this year, and tied for 12th best in the nation.  The native of Anderson, SC finished fifth at The Blessings in the fall and won both of her match play events at the ACC Tournament.

Barrientos is fourth on the team in stroke average at 73.23 in nine tournaments and 26 rounds.   The active of Plano, Texas tied Grewal for team honors at the NCAA Stillwater Regional last year with a 19th place finish.    She had a meaningful match play victory over Celeste Valinho of Virginia in the ACC Championship.

Freshman Isabella Rawl also won both of her ACC Championship match play events and is fifth on the team in stroke average this year.   Rawl came on in the spring to join the lineup and finished with a 73.76 stroke average for 17 rounds.    Her 69 in the second round of stroke play at the ACC Championship was the best of the round by a Clemson golfer and a key to Clemson qualifying for match play.

Confirmation of Clemson’s lineup, tee times and live scoring will all be available on at a later date.