The Georgia women’s golf team was tabbed as the No. 2 seed for the Texas A&M Regional during the announcement of the 72-team field for the NCAA Championships on Monday evening.
The Bulldogs will be among 18 teams competing at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas on May 5-7. Regionals also will be held in Birmingham, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Stanford, California. The top-six teams from the four Regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be contested on May 20-25 at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon.
“We just wanted to go somewhere,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “You’ve worked since August for your name to be called tonight, and it was exciting for them to talk about the success of our program on the Golf Channel when we were selected. It’s the players who have worked and sacrificed and gotten themselves ready. Now we just need to continue to do that. I was curious to see how they would react. They were very excited, and I think that tells me they’re ready.”
Georgia is currently No. 4 and No. 6 in the Golfweek and Golfstat rankings, respectively. The Bulldogs have captured four tournament titles this season, the Cardinal Kickoff Classic and the Windy City Collegiate in the fall and the Lady Puerto Rico Classic and the Mountain View Collegiate this spring. That represents UGA’s most team wins in a season since securing a school-record seven titles during the 1998-99 NCAA runner-up campaign.
Individually, junior Harang Lee is ranked No. 2 by Golfweek and No. 9 by Golfstat, freshman Bailey Tardy is No. 6 by Golfstat and No. 11 by Golfweek and freshman Jillian Hollis is No. 24 by Golfweek and No. 51 by Golfstat.
“I’m really excited,” Tardy said. “Obviously, it’s my first time going. It was a really cool experience when we saw it revealed which Regional we’ll be playing in. I’m excited to go to Texas. I’ve played there plenty of times and even played at Texas A&M for the Junior PGA. I’m ready to practice to get ready to play. We need to bond as a team and build some momentum so we can go out there and play well.”
Tardy, Hollis and classmate Rinko Mitsunaga all have individual victories this season, the first time Georgia has produced three different medalists since its 2001 NCAA Championship team.
“The fact that we know where we’re going can help us prepare for the conditions like the wind in Texas,” Mitsunaga said. “We’re really excited to be going. We haven’t gone to Texas as a team so this will be a new experience. I’m just excited to officially qualify for NCAAs and get that done.”
Georgia sports one of the nation’s richest histories in women’s golf, with one team and three individual national titles. Georgia won the 2001 NCAA Championship. The individual medalists include Terri Moody at the 1980 AIAWs, Cindy Schreyer at the 1984 NCAAs and Vicki Goetze at the 1992 NCAAs. All told, the Bulldogs have 25 top-20 and 20 top-10 finishes at the national championships since women’s golf became an intercollegiate sport at UGA in 1979. Individually, Georgia golfers have compiled 36 top-20 finishes at the national championships, including 2001 when Reilley Rankin, Laura Henderson, Angela Jerman and Summer Sirmons all did so en route to winning the team title.
Ten SEC schools were selected for 2016 NCAA competition. The Bulldogs will compete with tournament host and No. 6 seed Texas A&M in Bryan. The Birmingham Regional features No. 1 seed Alabama, No. 7 seed Tennessee, No. 8 seed Missouri and No. 11 seed Vanderbilt. The Baton Rouge Regional will include No. 2 seed Florida, No. 6 seed South Carolina and No. 12 seed LSU. Arkansas will be the No. 2 seed at Stanford.