Gamecocks Set To Close Out Regular Season At PING ASU Invitational
April 11, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina women's golf team will tee off in its final tournament of the regular season on Friday in the PING ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.
The 54-hole event runs through Sunday at the ASU Karsten Golf Course, which features a par-72, 6,223-yard layout. With this weekend being the Gamecocks' final tune-up before next week's SEC Championship, South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris is looking for her team to come out playing solid golf.
"Obviously, we are just looking to continue that consistent play," Harris said. "We want to get some low numbers in there and keep the momentum going into the postseason."
South Carolina is coming off one of its best performances of the season. The Gamecocks turned in an eighth-place finish out of 17 teams at the Bryan National Collegiate. Carolina placed ahead of six teams ranked in the Golfstat Top 50, including No. 2 Duke and No. 9 North Carolina. Freshman Sarah Schmelzel, who will play as the team's No. 1 golfer this week, finished third on her way to earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors. She wrapped up the weekend with a 54-hole total of 215 (-1), which matched the second-lowest 54-hole total for a freshman in school history.
"There were a lot of positive things to take from the last event," Harris said. "I was really excited about the way they played against a really solid field. We beat a lot of highly ranked teams. Everybody really stepped up. It was the consistent play that we've been looking for all year. Hopefully, it is the start of good things to come."
The Gamecocks will tee off with their fourth different lineup of the spring this weekend. Schmelzel, who is on pace to break the school record for scoring average by a freshman with an average of 74.74, will be making her eighth appearance of the season for Carolina. Junior Suzie Lee will occupy the No. 2 spot as she enters the week with the third best stroke average on the team (75.78). Sophomore Justine Dreher, who has two top-20 finishes and the second best average on the team (75.58), freshman Mary Fran Hillow and senior Meredith Swanson round out the lineup. Junior Samantha Swinehart will also be playing as an individual.
This year is the 41st edition of the PING ASU Invitational, and Carolina is making its first-ever trip to the event. The field will have a western flavor, as No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Alabama and the 44th-ranked Gamecocks will be the only teams from the East at the tournament. The 17-team field features 15 teams ranked in the Golfstat Top 50, including 11 in the top 25. Top-ranked Southern California highlights the field and will be joined by No. 7 Arizona, No. 14 Arizona State (host), No. 40 California, Colorado, No. 36 Oregon, No. 15 Stanford, No. 21 Texas, No. 25 Texas A&M, TCU, No. 16 UC Davis, No. 11 UCLA, No. 37 UNLV and No. 9 Washington.
The Gamecocks will tee off in the first round on Friday, beginning at 8:40 a.m. MST. Carolina will be paired with UNLV and Oregon. Live scoring will be available through Golfstat.