COLUMBIA, SC March 28, 2013 — The South Carolina women’s golf team will begin play in its second to last tournament of the regular season on Friday at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C.
The 54-hole event runs through Sunday on the par-72, 6,386-yard Champions Course at Bryan Park Golf and Enrichment Center. The Gamecocks are looking to build some momentum with a strong showing this weekend as the postseason draws near.
“I want to see a lot of fight and a lot of toughness and good scoring,” South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said. “It’s going to be a battle of the short games for the most part. Usually with the golf course and the lake right there, it gets extremely windy. It really becomes a case of managing your game and getting the ball up and down and just being really, really tough when the conditions are challenging.”
The Gamecocks, who are coming off an 11th-place finish at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, will take to the course with their third different lineup of the spring and their youngest lineup of the season, with three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior slated to play. Freshman Mary Fran Hillow will occupy the No. 1 spot this weekend and will be joined by junior Suzie Lee, sophomore Justine Dreher and freshmen Chelsey Couch and Sarah Schmelzel. Junior Samantha Swinehart will also play this weekend as an individual.
Hillow, who has a stroke average of 75.50, has one top-20 finish this season in two tournament appearances. She finished tied for 18th playing as an individual at the UCF Challenge in February. Lee is coming off a 17th-place finish at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate and will be making her seventh appearance for Carolina this season. Dreher, who is third on the team with a stroke average of 75.63, leads the team with a pair of top-20 finishes. Couch is playing in her fifth tournament of the season and has a scoring average of 77.10. Schmelzel leads the team with a stroke average of 75.31, which ranks sixth among freshmen in the SEC. She has turned in a team-high five rounds of par or better and has one top-20 finish, a tie for 20th showing at the NCAA Fall Preview.
South Carolina is making its 11th straight appearance at the Bryan National Collegiate and its 13th overall. Carolina’s best finish at the event was a sixth-place showing in both 2009 and 2012. Former All-American Kristy McPherson owns South Carolina’s best individual finish at the event as she tied for first in 2003. At last season’s tournament, Katie Burnett and Amanda Strang finished tied for fifth and tied for seventh, respectively, to lead the Gamecocks to a sixth-place finish. Dreher was the highest finisher among Gamecock returners as she tied for 30th.
The Gamecocks will face a postseason-like field in Greensboro. The 17-team field features 14 teams ranked in the Golfstat Top 50, including eight ranked in the top 25. Second-ranked Duke, the defending champion, highlights the field, which also features No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 9 North Carolina, No. 16 Virginia, No. 19 Georgia, No. 23 North Carolina State, No. 26 Michigan State, No. 30 Tennessee, No. 42 Florida State, No. 43 Auburn and No. 46 Wake Forest. Louisville, UNC Wilmington and UNC Greensboro round out the field.
South Carolina will tee off in the first round on Friday at 9:50 a.m. and will be paired with UNC Greensboro and Michigan State. Live scoring will be available at golfstatresults.com.