Gamecocks Finish 18th at NCAA Women's Golf Championship
May 21, 2011
The Gamecocks shot their best team round of the week, an 8-over-par 296 to finish the week at 302-315-298-296=1211 (+59). It marked the third-best 72-hole score in school history, finishing only behind the 1995 and 2010 NCAA Championships. It was the eighth top-20 finish for South Carolina in 11 trips to the NCAA Championship.
"Very proud of my crew today," head coach Kalen Anderson said. "We got off to a little bit of a rocky start, and they battled hard all day. Pretty solid finish for a very young team. Our freshmen stepped up in regionals to get us here, and they did a phenomenal job. I'm glad they stepped up again here in the last round and put in a solid round. The golf course was definitely a little softer, more scoreable today, and we were able to take advantage."
Swinehart finished her freshman season just like she started it - with a 71. She delivered her fourth round of the year at par or better, posting a bogey-free back nine to card a 71 (-1) to cap a solid freshman season. Starting on Hole No. 10, the native of Lancaster, Ohio, quickly dropped to 2-over with bogeys at 12 and 14. But from that point on, she was flawless. A birdie-birdie finish on 17 and 18 to make the turn at even par, then rolled off seven consecutive pars - including two great saves on holes 5 and 6 - to stay even. She would then birdie No. 8 to move under par for the first time all day, then made an incredible par save from the hazard at No. 9 to finish off her round. With her effort today, Swinehart moved up from a tie for 81st at the start of the day to a tie for 55th to finish off the week.
For Lee, a round of 71 was her best as a Gamecock, topping four rounds of 72 from earlier in the season. She shook off an opening bogey by recording birdies on three of her next four holes to move to 2-under. A bogey at 15 brought her one stroke closer to par, but she made the turn at 1-under amidst a stretch of eight consecutive pars. A birdie at No. 6 got her back to 2-under; only a bogey at the closing hole kept her from going lower. The duo of Lee and Swinehart combined for nine rounds at par or better during their freshman campaign.
Katie Burnett was the highest finisher for the Gamecocks for the second straight year, posting rounds of 71-80-70-78=299 (+11). Despite a final-round 78, it was the seventh-best 72-hole score in South Carolina history; she set the school record with a 286 at last year's NCAA Championship. In today's round, a double bogey-bogey stretch at holes 14 and 15 were the only high marks on her first nine where she recorded seven pars, making the turn at 3-over. She was 4-over through 16 holes after a bogey-birdie-bogey stretch at holes 3-5, but made two straight bogeys to close out the round. Burnett finished in a tie for 37th place.
Amanda Strang had her third solid round of the week, recording a 76 (+4) to wrap up a 75-79-75-76=305 (+17) tournament. It was a one-shot improvement over her appearance at the 2010 championship, with this competition taking place on a much tougher course. She got off to a very rough start with a triple-bogey 8 on her first hole, followed by a bogey at No. 11 to stand 4-over through two holes. But a pair of birdies and no more bogeys on her first nine got her back to 2-over as she made the turn. Her only blemishes on the back nine were a pair of bogeys at Nos. 3 and 4, and she rolled off five straight pars to finish.
Freshman Katie Rose Higgins closed out her first trip to the NCAA Championship with a final-round 80 (+8). She was able to avoid the big number for the most part with only one double-bogey on the day; she recorded 12 pars and five bogeys in her last competitive round of the season.
UCLA captured its third national championship in women's golf, finishing with a four-day total of 1173 (+21) to take a four-stroke victory over 2010 champion Purdue. Five SEC teams - LSU, Arkansas, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Florida - earned top-10 finishes.
LSU freshman Austin Ernst captured the individual national title after posting her second round of 66 (-6) on Saturday - including a hole-in-one - and finished at 281 (-7), three shots ahead of Arkansas' Kelli Shean. In all, five players recorded holes-in-one during the tournament; three on Friday and two on Saturday.
2011 NCAA WOMEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP - Final Round
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS