No. 20 Gamecock Women Travel to Tar Heel Invitational
Oct. 7, 2010
By Wes Todd
COLUMBIA, S.C. - After nearly a month-long break from competition, the South Carolina women's golf team tees it up for the second time in the 2010-11 season in the Tar Heel Invitational, which runs Friday through Sunday at the par 72, 6,285-yard UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 20 in the latest Golf World/Nike Coaches Poll, rated No. 30 in the latest GolfStat ranking and No. 33 in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin release.
South Carolina will send out a junior, a sophomore and three true freshmen for this week's Tar Heel Invitational. Leading the way is junior Katie Burnett (Brunswick, Ga.), who has played in every event through her two-plus years in the Garnet and Black. Sophomore Amanda Strang (Jonstorp, Sweden) also continues her streak of never missing an event as she plays in her 14th consecutive tournament.
Freshmen Katie Rose Higgins (Charleston, S.C.), Suzie Lee (East Northport, N.Y.) and Samantha Swinehart (Lancaster, Ohio) complete the Gamecock lineup as all three were impressive in their collegiate debuts last month.
An incredibly strong field awaits South Carolina as six of the nation's top 10 according to Golfweek will be competing in Chapel Hill four of which are Southeastern Conference foes - top-ranked LSU, No. 3 Alabama (which is ranked No. 1 in another poll), No. 5 Georgia and No. 7 Vanderbilt. No. 24 Florida and No. 26 Auburn round out the SEC roster in attendance. In all, 15 of the 18 competing teams are ranked in the latest Golfweek Top 50. No. 8 Duke and No. 9 Virginia lead the rest of the field, along with No. 12 Tulane, No. 17 Denver, No. 20 Wake Forest, No. 22 Michigan State, No. 25 North Carolina and No. 37 Louisville. Florida State, NC State and Texas A&M complete the tournament field.
The Gamecocks enter with a 17-3 season record after a fourth-place finish at the season-opening Cougar Classic. Among teams in this week's field, the Gamecocks are 1-0 against Florida, Florida State and NC State and 0-1 against the host Tar Heels. Burnett leads the team with a 71.33 scoring average after posting her last two rounds under par.
This will be the 24th time for South Carolina to appear in the Tar Heel event. Last season, the Gamecocks finished 13th out of 18 teams, and Benedicte Toumpsin led the way with a tie for 21st place. South Carolina's best finish in the event came in the 1998-99 season when Carolina finished in third place. Both returning Gamecocks have experience at this event. Burnett was the top finisher for Carolina her freshman year, shooting 76-72-76=224 (+8) to finish in a tie for 17th place. Last season was an anomaly for Burnett as she tied for 61st place at 76-75-77=228 (+12), her lowest finish of the season. Strang competed here last year, posting two strong rounds of 74-73 before a final-round 80 left her at 11-over for the week and tied for 53rd place.
The Gamecocks will be paired with Texas A&M and NC State for Friday's first round, teeing off on the 10th hole beginning at 10:30 a.m. Live scoring will be available through golfstatresults.com.