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Crimson Tide Top 5: Women's Golf

Throughout the month of June, Bama Central writers will pick the best five players in each Alabama sport, and for each position group in football

The Alabama women’s golf team has been around since 1974 and had moderate levels of success.

It wasn’t until Mic Potter became head coach in 2005 that the Crimson Tide program took off. And in a big way. In fact, all the members of the Crimson Tide Top 5 for women’s golf played for Potter.

There are several of Potter’s players who contributed to the Crimson Tide’s high level of success, and should not be omitted.

Jenny Suh was part of those first Potter teams that helped turn the program around. Kathleen Ekey was a big-time player in 2008-09 and Camilla Lennarth was a top-notch player in 2010-11.

The biggest slight might be Lauren Stephenson. She was the GolfWeek Player of the Year and GolfStat Cup winner in 2018 and a two-time, first-team All-American. Unfortunately, someone is going to be left off these types of lists. Stephenson and the others, however, do deserve some credit and recognition.

So on with the Top 5:

5. Kristen Gillman

It didn’t take long for Gillman to make an impact at Alabama. She took SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2017. In 11 tournaments that first year she finished in the top-10 seven times with a medalist finish at the Bryan National Collegiate.

Gillman was even more impressive her sophomore year, defeating teammate Jiwon Jeon to take the U.S. Women’s Amateur title. She finished seventh overall in stroke play and 3-0 in match play at the NCAA Championships, where the Crimson Tide finished runner-up.

The two-time, first-team GolfWeek All-American turned pro afterwards and has five career top-10 finishes.

4. Brooke Pancake

It’s not every day you get to sink the clinching putt to give your school its first national championship. Pancake’s 4-footer against Southern Cal did just that in 2012. She was the star of the tournament for Alabama, finishing runner-up in individual stroke play.

She was the star of the college golf world in 2012, too, earning the Honda Sports Award, which is given to the top female golfer in the nation.

The three-time GolfWeek, and two-time WGCA All-American was also SEC Freshman of the Year.

3. Cheyenne Knight

She did just about everything for Alabama. Knight burst onto the scene in 2016 and was named the WGCA Freshman of the Year she was fourth overall at the NCAA Championships.

She was the SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore and low medalist in the Mason Rudolph Championship and Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.

She did everything possible in the NCAA Championships the following year, going 3-0 in match play and taking fourth in the stroke play.

Knight is a three-time WGCA All-American and two-time GolfWeek All-American and is second on the school list for tournament wins with four.

2. Emma Talley

Winning the U.S. Amateur title in 2013 doesn’t count toward her Crimson Tide career, but it’s got to be the top accomplishment of Talley’s time in Tuscaloosa.

If not, then winning the 2015 NCAA individual championship definitely would be for sure. Either way, both are impressive.

You can throw in the 2015 Honda Sports Award as well, which is given to the nation’s top female golfer, and a 2014 Curtis Cup title where she helped Team USA to the championship.

1. Stephanie Meadow

Where to start? Well, the obvious answer is Meadow, who helped lead the Crimson Tide to its first national title in 2012.

That is just one of numerous claims Meadow has on her Alabama resume. All Meadow did at Alabama was win. She’s the school record-holder for tournament wins (9) and is a four-time, first-team All-American for GolfWeek and a three-time All-American for WGCA.

Meadow holds the Alabama mark for most rounds of par or better (73). The next closest is 58. Her 404 birdies in 132 rounds are also tops in school history and 95 percent of her scores counted toward the Tide’s team total. That’s also a school best.

The Jordanstown, Northern Ireland native won the 2012 Ladies British Amateur championship, was a two-time SEC Player of the Year and was SEC Freshman of the Year.

Not a bad career.