Feb. 10, 2013
SORRENTO, Fla. -- The South Carolina women's golf team put together its best round of the season on Sunday as it fired a first-round 284 (-4) at RedTail Golf Club to take the lead at the UCF Challenge.
The Gamecocks had three golfers shoot under par on their way to building a three-shot lead over ninth-ranked North Carolina (287), tournament host UCF (287) and Augusta State (287). The round of 284 is tied for the fifth lowest round in school history, which also came at the UCF Challenge (Feb. 14, 2011).
"I am very pleased with the way the team played today from top to bottom," South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said. "We had three players under par and our highest score was a 75. That's a very good start, but there is lot of golf left. We need to continue to mentally execute each golf shot over the next two days just like we did today."
Sophomore Justine Dreher led the Gamecocks on Sunday as she tied her career low with a 4-under 68 to finish the day in third place. She trails Augusta State's Casey Kennedy and Natalie Wille, who share the lead after each shooting a 5-under 67 on Sunday. Freshman Sarah Schmelzel and junior Samantha Swinehart also turned in solid rounds for South Carolina by each shooting a 1-under 71 to wrap up the round in a tie for 13th.
Dreher did not have a single blemish on her scorecard, recording four birdies and 14 pars on the afternoon. A native of Valbonne, France, Dreher made her first birdie of the round on No. 2 and then made the turn with back-to-back birdies on the eighth an ninth holes to get to 3-under. After five straight pars, she carded her final birdie on the par-3 15th and then made par on the final three holes to head into the clubhouse at 4-under.
Schmelzel got off to a rough start with a bogey on two of her first five holes but she settled down and played stellar golf the rest of the way. After a par on the sixth hole, Schmelzel recorded three straight birdies to make the turn at 1-under. She then made nine straight pars on the back side to end the day.
A native of Lancaster, Ohio, Swinehart recorded par on her first nine holes before dropping a shot with a bogey on the 10th. She bounced back with a string of birdies as she played the next seven holes at 4-under, but a double bogey at No. 18 left her at 1-under for the round.
Junior Suzie Lee battled through an up and down round to post a solid 2-over 74. Lee, who is tied for 35th, recorded five birdies, five bogeys, a double bogey and seven pars on the day. Freshman Chelsey Couch turned in a 3-over 75 for South Carolina and is tied for 49th. Couch finished the round with one birdie, two bogeys, a double bogey and 14 pars.
Playing as an individual, freshman Mary Fran Hillow is tied for 23rd after shooting an even-par 72. Hillow recorded four birdies, four bogeys and 14 pars in her first collegiate appearance.
Tulane is in fifth place after an opening-round 288 (E), followed by East Carolina (289), Kennesaw State (292), Miami (293) and Texas (293).
The Gamecocks will tee off in the second round on Monday, beginning at 10 a.m. off hole No. 1. South Carolina will be paired with North Carolina and UCF. Live scoring will be available here.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS 3. Justine Dreher (1) 68 (-4) T13. Sarah Schmelzel (2) 71 (-1) T13. Samantha Swinehart (3) 71 (-1) T35. Suzie Lee (4) 74 (+2) T49. Chelsey Couch (5) 75 (+3) *T23. Mary Fran Hillow 72 (E) *Playing as an individual
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