The No. 4-ranked Georgia women’s golf team shot a 8-over 296 in Friday’s opening round of the SEC Championships at Greystone Golf and Country Club, leaving the Bulldogs in fourth place. No. 1 Alabama leads the field at 2-under 286.
“You’d rather be 10 shots ahead after day one, but we know you can’t win the tournament after 18 holes,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “Now we’re in a position where if we play golf the way we know we can the last two days, we’ll be fine.”
Bailey Tardy led Georgia with a 1-under 71. The Bulldogs also counted a 73 from Jillian Hollis, a 74 from Harang Lee and a 78 from Rinko Mitsunaga, while Sammi Lee carded a 79.
Georgia got a late boost when Hollis, Harang Lee and Mitsunaga combined to post five birdies on the final two holes.
“I got off to a good start with an early birdie, but then I struggled a little bit at the start of the back side,” Harang Lee said. “I was able to fix some of that with a couple of birdies on the last two holes. The birdies are out there, and we have the talent on our team. We’ve just got to be smart because it’s a course where I feel we can shoot very low as a team. We’ve just got to find that path to get there.”
“It was a little bit of a slow start, but I kept in there and was able to make a lot of pars,” Hollis said. “I did make some dumb mistakes and decisions mentally out there. I feel like I was in between clubs all day. It was like I had to choke down or try to swing hard and compensate. At the end, I got my putting going.”
Georgia turned at 3-over but then lost four more strokes on the first three holes of the back side.
“We weren’t as sharp with our irons as we’ve been,” Brewer said. “Maybe we were a little bit anxious, wanting to get out there and we forced it. We had five birdies on our last two holes so we’ll run with that tomorrow, and I expect us to make a lot of birdies over the next two days.”
South Carolina’s Ainhoa Olarra and Florida’s Maria Torres are atop the individual leaderboard after signing for 3-under 69s. For Georgia, Tardy is tied for seventh, Hollis is tied for 13th, Harang Lee is tied for 17th, Mitsunaga is tied for 47th and Sammi Lee is tied for 52nd.
The Crimson Tide owns a four-shot lead at 286 and rounding out the top-10 teams are No. 7 Florida at 292, Missouri at 295, the Bulldogs at 296, Tennessee at 297, No. 23 South Carolina at 298, No. 25 Texas A&M at 299, No. 8 Arkansas at 300, Ole Miss at 301 and Auburn at 304.
“I like where we are right now,” Hollis said. “We have come from behind this season. We do a good job of keeping our heads down and grinding it out. If adversity comes, we just fight through it. I think it’s going to be a good day tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs will be paired with Tennessee and South Carolina on Saturday, teeing off in waves between 9:50-10:30 am ET. Live scoring is available via golfstat.com.
2016 SEC Women’s Golf Championships
Greystone Golf and Country Club Legacy Course
Par 72; 6195 Yards
Friday’s First-Round Standings
South Carolina 298
Texas A&M 299
Ole Miss 301
Mississippi State 305
Ainhoa Olarra, S. Carolina 69
Maria Torres, Florida 69
Amanda Kim, Missouri 70
Kelly Grassel, Florida 70
Lakareber Abe, Alabama 70
Emma Talley, Alabama 70
Anna Newell, Tennessee 71
Thanya Pattamakisak, Texas A&M 71
Bailey Tardy, Georgia 71
Regina Plascenia, Arkansas 72
Katelyn Dambaugh, S. Carolina 72
Cheyenne Knight, Alabama 72
Additional Georgia Scores
T13. Jillian Hollis 73
T17. Harang Lee 74
T47. Rinko Mitsunaga 78
T52. Sammi Lee 79