May 11, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. -- The South Carolina women's golf team is headed back to the NCAA Championship for the fourth-straight year after carding a final-round 293 (+9) to finish in fourth place at the NCAA West Regional on Saturday afternoon at the Stanford Golf Course.
The Gamecocks earned the NCAA berth by finishing in the top eight of the regional and wrapped up the week with a three-round total of 874 (+22), which is the seventh lowest 54-hole score in school history. South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris, who has now led the program to five NCAA Championship appearances in six years, couldn't be more pleased with her team's toughness throughout the week.
"They came out and played so steady, and I'm so proud of them," Harris said. "Everybody stepped up. It was an entire team effort. This golf course was such a difficult course. We came in here and were just extremely mentally tough and got the job done. I couldn't be prouder of them."
Carolina had two golfers finish in the top 20. Junior Suzie Lee led the way with a tie for 14th showing with a total of 217 (+4) after shooting a final-round 73 (+2), and senior Meredith Swanson, who also carded a 73 (+2), turned in a tie for 18th finish with a total of 218 (+5). Lee recorded two birdies and four bogeys on the afternoon, and Swanson tallied three birdies and five bogeys.
Freshman Sarah Schmelzel was the next highest Gamecock on the leaderboard as she finished in a tie for 33rd with a total of 222 (+9). A native of Phoenix, Ariz., Schmelzel shot a final-round 74 (+3), recording three birdies and six bogeys.
Sophomore Justine Dreher carded a 2-over 73 to wrap up the week in a tie for 39th with a total of 223 (+10). She recorded four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey for her round.
Rounding out the lineup, freshman Mary Fran Hillow turned in a final-round 78 (+7) to finish in a tie for 85th with a total of 232 (+19).
Top-ranked Southern California won the regional title with a 54-hole total of 859 (+7). Purdue finished second with a total of 860 (+8), while Vanderbilt (869), Stanford (875), Arizona (889), Oregon (889) and San Jose State (889) also finished in the top eight to advance to the NCAA Championship.
Southern California's Annie Park and Purdue's Paula Reto finished tied atop the individual leaderboard with a total of 206 (-7). Georgia's Emilie Burger and Kent State's Jennifer Ha finished seventh and eighth, respectively, to secure the two individual berths to the NCAA Championship.
The Gamecocks will have a week off before returning to the course at the NCAA Championship. This year's 72-hole event will be held May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga. Carolina finished fifth at last year's NCAA Championship, which is the highest finish at the event in school history.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS T14. Suzie Lee (3) 73-71-73=217 (+4) T18. Meredith Swanson (4) 75-70-73=218 (+5) T33. Sarah Schmelzel (2) 76-72-74=222 (+9) T39. Justine Dreher (1) 72-78-73=223 (+10) T85. Mary Fran Hillow (5) 82-72-78=232 (+19)
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