Gamecocks Improve by 17 Strokes in NCAA Third Round
May 20, 2011
By Wes Todd
UPDATE - 10 a.m. CT: South Carolina will be paired with Wake Forest and Arizona State with tee times beginning at 10:06 a.m. Pairings were moved by by one hour as teams completed Friday's third round; in addition, course maintenance after heavy storms last night further delayed this morning's start. Follow the live stats link at the top of the page.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Paced by a 2-under-par 70 from junior Katie Burnett, South Carolina posted a 17-stroke improvement in Friday's third round of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship at the Texas A&M Traditions Club.
The Gamecocks shot their best team round of the week, a 298 (+10) to move up one spot to 18th place at 915 (+51) through three rounds of play. One bad hole - the tricky par-4 15th - cost the Gamecocks seven of those 10 strokes over par in an otherwise very solid round on a difficult golf course.
After a two-hour weather delay midway through the afternoon flight prevented six teams - including the three leaders - from completing their rounds, the third round is incomplete after play was suspended for darkness at 8:20 p.m. Those teams - UCLA, Purdue, LSU, Tennessee, Florida and California - will return to complete their third round at 7:30 a.m. Saturday; times and pairings for the final round will not be known until those teams finish.
Burnett, who tied for ninth at the 2010 NCAA Championship, recorded her second round under par this week and rebounded from an 80 in Thursday's second round. A bogey at the first was quickly erased by a birdie at the par-3 second, followed by three straight pars and another birdie at No. 6 to get back to red figures. However, she made bogey at No. 9 after hitting her drive into the trees; her par putt after a stellar third shot from 125 yards just missed as she made the turn at even par.
From that point on, however, she was flawless with six straight pars, then a birdie at 16 got her to back to 1-under. After a par at the 17th, she hit three perfect shots at the 18th, leaving about four feet for her birdie. She made a confident stroke and drained the putt to finish off a 2-under-par round and vault back up the leaderboard to a tie for 21st place.
Sophomore Amanda Strang matched her opening-round effort with a 3-over-par 75. After a birdie at No. 4 to get to 1-under, she had her only real trouble of the day at the sixth where she recorded a triple-bogey 7 to fall back to 2-over. She would then roll off six straight pars before bogeys at the tough 13th and 15th holes dropped her to 4-over. But a birdie at No. 17 got her back to 3-over, where she would finish the day in a tie for 68th.
Freshman Suzie Lee turned in her best round of the championship with a 76 (+4) in the third round, a seven-shot improvement over a tough second round. She made the turn at 2-over after bogeys at Nos. 2 and 5 (but seven pars otherwise), then started her back nine with four more pars before getting back to 1-over with a birdie at the 14th. However, the 15th - the killer for the Gamecocks on Friday - bit Lee with a double-bogey, and she then carded a bogey at the 16th to drop to 4-over. She would recover with pars on her last two holes to finish strong.
Samantha Swinehart equaled Burnett with a team-high four birdies on the day, but two tough holes led to a 5-over-par 77, matching her score from the second round. After starting her round with a double-bogey, she came back with a birdie at No. 2 and made the turn at 2-over after a bogey-birdie-bogey stretch on holes 6-8. She dropped to 3-over with a bogey at the 10th, but climbed back to within a stroke of par with birdies at 12 and 14. However, the difficult 15th hole caused major problems for Swinehart as she recorded a quadruple-bogey 8 to drop to 5-over-par before finishing with three straight pars.
The team's third freshman, Katie Rose Higgins, equaled her best round of the week with a 79 (+7). After making the turn at 6-over, Higgins played the back nine in just 1-over-par 37, including a pair of birdies at 12 and 18.
At the time play was suspended, UCLA held a six-shot lead at 13-over par with Purdue (+19) in second place and LSU and Virginia tied for third at 26-over. UCLA's Tiffany Lua is at 5-under with four holes to play, holding a three-shot lead over Georgia's Marta Silva Zamora and LSU's Austin Ernst.
South Carolina's tee time and pairing for Saturday's final round will not be known until the six teams left on the course at the suspension of play finish their third rounds. Full information will be available at GamecocksOnline.com and via Twitter at @GamecockWGolf as it becomes available.
2011 NCAA WOMEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP - Third Round
(Round 3 completed early Saturday morning)
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS