The Georgia women’s golf team will begin play in the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, the nation’s premier fall event, on Sunday. The 54-hole event, which is presented by 3M, will be contested Sunday-Tuesday at Olympic Hills Golf Club in Eden Prairie, Minn.
“It should tell us exactly where we are,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “It’s going be the ‘who’s who’ of college golf. It should be, when Annika (Sorenstam) is hosting it and going be on site. It definitely draws the best teams and therefore the best players in the world.”
The 12-school field includes nine teams in the top-13 of Golfweek’s preseason rankings. Georgia, which was tabbed No. 9, will be competing against No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Stanford, No. 7 Furman, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 10 Southern Cal, No. 11 Texas, No. 12 Florida State, No. 13 South Carolina, No. 27 Miami, Baylor and tournament host Minnesota.
“We’re playing well at home, qualifying scores are great and it’s just an exciting time,” Brewer said.
The Bulldogs’ lineup will feature Georgia’s three returning All-Americans – Bailey Tardy, Rinko Mitsunaga and Jillian Hollis – sophomore Gabriela Coello and senior Isabella Skinner.
The trio of juniors will be making their fall debut. All three missed Georgia’s first tournament of the fall after competing in the first stage of LPGA Q-School.
“it’s exciting to have them,” Brewer said. “I love that the first tournament of the year gave other people experience, and I think that’s why you saw Gaby and Bella re-qualify. It really gave them confidence, which is what you want. But at the same time, our strongest lineup is with the three juniors. They’ve won nine times in two years. They’ve put Georgia Golf back on the map. When we show up Sunday, it’s a little different Georgia team than when we played with a few weeks ago.”
The Bulldogs opened the season last month by finishing 12th at the Minnesota Invitational.
After competing individually several times over the summer, Hollis is excited about returning to team golf.
“I’m just excited to start playing again, and to play with my teammates,” Hollis said. “Playing the team experience is just the best. When you’re playing individual tournaments, it’s definitely different just because you are in your own, you get to do your own thing. But playing on a team and playing for your school and playing for each other, you have your teammates there to lift you up.”
While just the second event of the season, Brewer will have slight thoughts of the postseason on his mind at the Annika.
“With a (NCAA) Regional site in Wisconsin, it’s a great opportunity to play on a different surface that we probably won’t see again,” Brewer said. “We could get shipped there for a regional late in May. The conditions at the Annika should be similar to the Regional. It should be a typical, upper-midwest course with thick rough, fast fairways, big greens that are gonna be pretty slick. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
CLICK HERE for live scoring which will be available throughout the tournament.