Oct. 25, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina women's golf team will close out its fall schedule this weekend at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C.
Play begins Friday at the par-72, 6,138-yard Jack Nicklaus Course at the Country Club of Landfall. The tournament is the fourth of the fall for the Gamecocks, who are coming off a tie for 12th finish at the Tar Heel Invitational two weeks ago. South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris has been pleased with the progress her team has made since the season-opening Cougar Classic.
"We've progressed. It hasn't been the fall that we've really wanted, but we do have a young team," Harris said. "We lost a couple of really strong players from last season's team, but we are progressing. We had a little bit better of a week in Chapel Hill (at the Tar Heel Invitational). We had two pretty decent days. Hopefully, we put three rounds together in Wilmington. We are going to get after some things in the offseason when we have more time in the winter. Overall, we just need a little more from the bottom of our lineup. Hopefully, we will find that during the offseason and going into the spring."
After having the same lineup in the first three tournaments, Harris will be sending out a different group for the first time this season as a result of the team's qualifier. Juniors Samantha Swinehart and Suzie Lee, sophomore Justine Dreher and freshman Sarah Schmelzel will be making their fourth straight appearance for the Gamecocks, while freshman Chelsey Couch is making her first start after playing as an individual at the Tar Heel Invitational. Senior Meredith Swanson will be playing as an individual this weekend.
Swinehart is playing her best golf of the season after finishing in a tie for 12th to lead the team at the Tar Heel Invitational. She posted rounds of 72-76-72=220 (+4) for her best finish since claiming a tie for 11th at the UCF Challenge her freshman year. A native of Lancaster, Ohio, Swinehart is second on the team with a stroke average of 75.11.
Couch enters the lineup for the first time this season after closing strong as an individual at the Tar Heel Invitational. She carded rounds of 79-75-75=229 (+13) to tie for 47th in her collegiate debut.
"I was real happy with the way Chelsey performed," Harris said. "She responded just the way I though she would. She got in there and is a real scrappy player. She played with a lot of heart. She put in a couple of rounds of 75 and hung in there real well and earned her way into the lineup this week. She is never going to give up out there and is going to fight real hard, and I love that about her."
South Carolina will be facing yet another challenging field in Wilmington, with 12 of the 17 teams ranked in the Golfstat Top 50. Third-ranked Arizona highlights the field along with No. 5 Duke, No. 11 North Carolina State, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 16 Oklahoma State, No. 18 Northwestern, No. 22 Purdue, No. 24 Notre Dame, No. 26 Iowa State, No. 27 Texas Tech, No. 32 Mississippi and No. 33 Ohio State. Florida State, UNC Greensboro, host UNC Wilmington and Wake Forest round out the field.
The Gamecocks are making their third straight appearance at the Landfall Tradition. South Carolina finished fourth last season, as then-senior Katie Burnett led the way with a tie for fourth showing.
First-round play will begin on Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the Country Club of Landfall. South Carolina will be paired with UNC Wilmington and Notre Dame and will tee off hole No. 1. Live scoring will be available by clicking here.
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