The 6th-ranked UGA women’s golf team fired a 3-under 285 – the Bulldogs’ second-best score ever in NCAA Regional or Championship competition – to grab a share of the first-round lead at the NCAA Bryan Regional on Thursday.
Georgia is tied with No. 11 Arizona. The Bulldogs’ only better NCAA score was a 7-under 281 in the third round of the 2003 NCAA East Regional.
“I’m very happy,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “They’ve been playing well all year, and today they performed the same way. We had a lot of birdie chances throughout the line, 1 through 5.”
Georgia received a trio of par-or-better efforts – a 3-under 69 from Bailey Tardy, a 2-under 70 from Jillian Hollis and an even-par 72 from Harang Lee. The Bulldogs also counted a 74 from Rinko Mitsunaga, while dropping Mary Ellen Shuman’s 75.
“Everyone played well today,” Lee said. “We had two scores under par and we needed it. As long as we keep doing the same things tomorrow and Saturday, this will be a very good tournament for us.”
The Bulldogs started relatively hot, playing the first five holes at 4-under, but stumbled late on the front side and turned at 3-over. Georgia then covered the first six holes of the back side at 7-under to move back into red numbers on the day.
“We had a short mental breakdown on a few swings, but I knew we would bounce back,” Brewer said. “I saw Mary Ellen birdie No. 13, then saw Bailey birdie No. 8, No. 10 and No. 11 and then saw Jillian birdie No. 9. The way we were playing was the way we played in Puerto Rico and last fall. We had a swagger and a confidence. It was fun to see. You can sense a great energy right now around the team.”
Tardy is tied for third individually, two shots off the pace of Gonzaga’s Bianca Pagdanganan. Hollis is tied for seventh, Lee is tied for 20th, Mitsunaga is tied for 36th and Shuman is tied for 46th.
Following the Bulldogs and the Wildcats and rounding out the top-10 teams are No. 19 Furman and Campbell at 288, No. 3 UCLA at 289, Miami at 290, No. 23 Texas A&M at 292, TCU and Texas both at 293 and Texas State and Louisville at 296.
Tardy turned at even after mixing seven pars with a bogey at No. 6 and a birdie at No. 8. She posted back-to-back birdies at No. 10 and No. 11 and another at No. 15 to move to 3-under. After her lone bogey on the back side at No. 16, Tardy birdied No. 17 before finishing her loop with a par.
Hollis also played her first nine holes at even-par. She opened with a birdied and notched another at No. 5. Successive bogeys at No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 pushed her to 1-over before she closed the front side with a birdie at No. 9. Hollis stayed at even for four holes before birdies at No. 14 and No. 15 followed by three pars to wrap up her day.
Lee mixed three front-side bogeys – at No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 – with three back-side birdies – at No. 13, No. 15 and No. 18 – en route to her even-par 72.
“I made a few stupid mistakes (on the front side),” Lee said. “I was just waiting for it come back to me. All of my birdie putts were pretty close. One was a tap-in, and the other were around five yards.”
The Bulldogs will tee off at the same time on Friday, beginning in waves from 10:50-11:30 ET. Live scoring is being updated on a hole-by-hole basis at golfstat.com.
NCAA WOMEN’S GOLF TOURNAMENT
BRYAN, TEXAS REGIONAL
Traditions Golf Club
Par 72; 6373 Yards
Texas A&M 292
Texas State 296
Kent State 298
Bianca Pagdanganan, Gonzaga 67
Daniela Darquea, Miami 68
Bailey Tardy, Georgia 69
Gigi Stoll, Arizona 69
Alessandra Liu, William & Mary 69
Bronte Law, UCLA 69
Jillian Hollis, Georgia 70
Lilia Vu, UCLA 70
Julia Beck, Texas 70
Annelie Sjoholm, Campbell 70
Dewi Weber, Miami 70
Madison Opfer, Tulane 70
Alexandra Rossi, SMU 70
Additional Georgia Scores
T20. Harang Lee, Georgia 70
T36. Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia 74
T46. Mary Ellen Shuman, Georgia 75