Sept. 24, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A rarity in the college golf world, the South Carolina men's and women's golf teams head to the same location and the same club for their respective events this week as the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., plays host to the Mason Rudolph Championships. The tournaments get underway Friday, Sept. 25, and run through Sunday, Sept. 27.
The Carolina women enter the weekend ranked No. 2 in both the GolfStat and GolfWeek/Sagarin ratings, based on their strong performance at the season-opening NGCA Match Play event three weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Gamecock men are ranked 10th in the initial GolfStat ratings and 13th by GolfWeek after a fifth-place showing at the Carpet Capital Collegiate two weeks ago. The women will tackle the par 72, 6,217-yard North Course while the men are set for 54 holes on the par-71, 7,100-yard South Course at the Legends Club.
It will be a chance for the Gamecock men to defend their first of four tournament titles last season. South Carolina, with three straight rounds under par, captured the 2008 Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate title, its first since the 2007 NCAA West Regional. Mark Silvers III, George Bryan IV and Patrick Rada all finished in the tournament's top 10 to cap one of the most successful tournaments for a Carolina squad in some time. Carolina lapped the field with a 13-under-par 839, eight strokes ahead of runner-up Kentucky.
While Silvers has graduated, Bryan IV and Rada return to Franklin this week, along with Wesley Bryan, for their second appearances in the event. It will be the same starting five employed by coach Bill McDonald at the season-opening Carpet Capital as senior Paul Woodbury and redshirt freshman Clint Tolleson will round out the Gamecock lineup.
For the South Carolina women, it will be senior Corrine Carr leading the way, along with sophomores Katie Burnett and Taylor Weaver and freshmen Amanda Strang and Meredith Swanson. Carr, Burnett, Strang and Swanson all played pivotal roles for Carolina in the season-opening NGCA Match Play Championship, helping the Gamecocks to the No. 2 seed by finishing only one stroke behind top-ranked Florida in the 36-hole stroke play qualifier. Carr, Burnett and Strang all finished in the top 10.
"I like the Vanderbilt golf course for our team," women's head coach Kalen Anderson said. "It fits our golf games well. We will be facing the best field we will see this year as there are several top teams in this tournament."
Indeed, the women's field is quite strong. Defending national champion Arizona State headlines the field alongside other top teams including UCLA, Southern Cal and Oklahoma State - all of whom finished last season in the nation's top five. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt will be competing out of the SEC, along with Arizona, Duke, Stanford, Texas, Tulane and Virginia - all perennial women's golf powers.
The men's field is not as strong, but formidable nonetheless. Top-10 foe Georgia Tech leads the field along with the Gamecocks with SEC foes Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State also in the mix. The rest of the field includes Akron, Arkansas State, Belmont, College of Charleston, Davidson, Lipscomb, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Notre Dame, South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin and Western Carolina.
Tee times have not been set as of Thursday morning. They will be posted on golfstat.com as soon as they are finalized. Fans can follow live scoring for both the men's and women's events through golfstat.com.
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