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Women’s College Golf: Ten Freshmen Looking to Make an Impact this Season

In 10 days, 11 of the Top 25 teams in Women’s Golf Coaches Association Preseason Poll will compete against each other at the Annika Intercollegiate tournament. The 2018-19 college golf season is just around the corner and new names will be climbing up the leaderboards. The 54-hole stroke play event is presented by 3M and takes place at the Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, Minn. The three-day event features 12 of the top Division I women’s golf programs in the nation with many freshmen making their collegiate debut. Here’s 10 freshmen other team’s should be on the look out for:

  • Elizabeth Wang — The Harvard freshman took second in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Sectional Qualifying with a two day score of three-under par. Elizabeth Wang then proceeded to finish tied for 34th place finish in the U.S. Women’s Open. Wang is one of the most experienced freshmen coming into the season and will add some power to the Crimson. She has 23 career Top-10 finishes in American Junior Golf Association events. Wang is a native of San Marino, Calif., and was a four-time AJGA Rolex Junior All-American. Being ranked No. 1 on the Top 10 freshmen in college golf shouldn’t scare Wang as she will be able to handle the pressure throughout the season. Wang is also ranked No. 83 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

  • Frida Kinhult — One of the most hyped golfers coming into the 2018-19 season, Frida Kinhult is going to make Florida State one of the strongest programs in the country. She’s the highest ranked player (No. 7) in the WAGR to ever attend FSU. Kinhult is also ranked No. 2 on the European Golf Ranking and led her home country to a T-11th place finish at the 2018 World Amateur Team Championships. Kinhult has won multiple tournaments over the past two years and played on the Swedish National team at the beginning of age 14. This past summer Kinhult was one of the only 34 players in the 170-player field to finish at par or better at the WATC. The Seminoles are No. 15 in the WGCA Preseason Poll.
  • Puk Lyng Thomsen — Puk Lyng Thomsen is one of the most accomplished junior golfers in the game and is ranked in the Top 30 in the WAGR. She finished tied for sixth-place at the 2018 Danish International Ladies Championship with a 305 over four rounds. Thomsen earned a third-place finish at the 2017 French International Lady Juniors with a 3-under par 68. She was also displayed her skills in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur event at San Diego Country Club. Thomsen has a smooth swing and her teaching ability is impressive for a underclassmen.

  • Beatrice Wallin — The Olofstrop, Sweden native is the third and final FSU freshmen that’s ranked in the Top 40. Beatrice Wallin has played in premier events and hopes to bring that experience to the Seminoles. She helped Sweden finish tied for 11th at the World Amateur Team Championship this year and played in the 2018 Junior Solheim Cup as a member of the Swedish National Team. Earlier this summer, Wallin made it to the round of 16 match play at the U.S. Amateur Championship and beat the No. 6-seed in the round of 32.
  • Gina Kim — Anyone of these Top 5 freshmen could fall anywhere on this list. Gina Kim is going to be a top tier player throughout college and if it wasn’t for her No. 67 ranking in the WAGR, the Chapel Hill, N.C., native might be higher on this list. Kim was a two-time First Team All-American in high school and a two-time state 3A champion. Kim earned a sixth-place finish at the AJGA Thunderbird International Junior tournament with two rounds under par. She participated in the U.S. Women’s Open over the summer but missed the cut. Kim played a big part in helping the United States take fifth at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup in June over in Japan. Kim is going to add another strong element to Duke’s women’s golf team.

  • Clara Manzalini — Gator Nation should be excited about Clara Manzalini joining the Florida golf crew. The Milan, Italy native is a member of the Italian National Team and took second-place at the Italian Ladies Championship (match play) and at the European Ladies Team Championship last year. Her team also earned a runner-up finish at the ELTC. Manzalini has a pile of second-place finishes on her hands but wants to add a first-place victory to her collection this season and has shown with her No. 88 ranking in the WAGR that will be possible.
  • Jana Melichova —  Jana Melichova knows how to win. The 5-foot-7 Old Dominion freshman is part of the Czech National Team and was the Terre Blanche Ladies Open Low Amateur. Melichova is ranked No. 112 in the WAGR and won the International Match Play Championship, Czech International Stroke Play Championship and the Czech Amateur Tour Championship. The Monarchs should benefit from having a winner on their team this season.

  • Lianna Bailey — The Oklahoma State freshman has made some moves in past few weeks to move up nine spots to No. 113 in the WAGR. Lianna Bailey won the 2017 Royal Birkdale Ladies Scratch Trophy and posted Top 10 finishes at the English Women’s Open, Amateur Stroke Play Championship, Irish Women’s Open Championship, Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship and the French International Lady Juniors a year ago. Bailey is on England’s golf team and has been since 2015. She’s also No. 19 in the European Golf Rankings. The video below is a tee-off shot of Bailey’s and starts at 1:29.

  • Ya-Chun Chang — Ya-Chung Chang grew up in Taiwan — a very windy place — which has helped her become more creative on the golf course. The Arizona freshman is ranked No. 148 in the WAGR and has a solid resume for her amateur career. Earlier this year, Chang took fourth at the TLPGA Hitachi Ladies Classic in Taiwan with a 4-under par score. Last year, Chang tied for third at the ANNIKA Invitational and in 2016 she reached the quarterfinals at the US Girls Junior and was the low amateur at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship. Change has a very gracious swing and will play a key role in the Wildcats season.
  • Bel Wardle — Bel Wardle was a multi-sport athlete in high school and played tennis, football and hockey. The No. 105 ranked played in the WAGR won the English Girls National Championship and English Women’s Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship last year. Wardle went to high school at Cheadle Hulme where UCLA’s winningest golfer in school history Bronte Law also attended.

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