The No. 5-ranked Georgia women’s golf team covered six holes late in the day at 5-under to rally and win the team championship at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic on Tuesday. The Bulldogs finished play at 2-over 290 on Tuesday and at 3-over 867 for the tournament, three shots better than No. 8 Arkansas.
“That was fun,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “Winning is so much fun.”
The Bulldogs trailed Arkansas by seven shots entering the final round and lost even more strokes to the Razorbacks in the first half of the day before catching fire.
“I really think we were down about 10 shots with nine or 10 holes to play,” Brewer said. “We got off to a slow start on the hardest part of the golf course. I think we sort of got in our own way with some of our mistakes. Harang (Lee) played well enough to keep us in contention. After we made the turn, everyone made one or two birdies coming in. If you do that, you can erase a 10-shot deficit pretty quickly.
“I give a lot of credit to (assistant coach) Whitney (Young),” Brewer added. “She was walking with Rinko (Mitsunaga) but was telling everyone ‘Be patient. Be patient. Our time will come.’ That’s what happened.”
Lee’s 3-under 69 led Georgia and was one of only three scores in the 60s on Tuesday among the 88 golfers in the field. The Bulldogs’ remaining counters were a pair of 73s from Jillian Hollis and Mitsunaga and a 75 from Bailey Tardy.
Everyone but Lee struggled somewhat early in the day. With the shotgun start, the Bulldogs started on holes Nos. 1-3. When each golfer completed their first nine holes, Georgia was 7-over as a team. The back two-thirds of the course proved to be much more friendly. Georgia played holes Nos. 13-18 at a combined 5-under two flip that sizable deficit into a virtual tie with the Razorbacks. Key to completing the comeback was Hollis finishing her day posting bogey-par-par, while her playing partner from Arkansas covered the same three holes at 5-over.
“When I finished, I thought we were two or three shots behind,” Lee said. “But then we started hearing about other things happening on the course, and we figured out it was pretty close. We didn’t know we had won until everyone got of the course, but it was very exciting.”
While much of the field struggled, Lee was a model of consistency. She birdied No. 3 and No. 10 to move to 2-under. After her lone bogey of the day at No. 12, Lee birdied No. 15 and No. 18 to post her second 3-under tally in three days. Also key to her loop was playing the final three holes of the front side at even-par. Lee was a combined 7-over on that same stretch during the first two rounds.
“I was just trying to stay calm and not make mistakes,” Lee said. “I didn’t do well on 7-8-9 the first two days so I just tried to stay calm and do the best that I could there today.”
Individually, Lee finished tied for third a 3-under 141, five shots back of medalist Maria Fassi of Arkansas. In addition, Tardy placed fifth at 1-under 215; Manuela Carbajo Ré, who shot 76 on Tuesday, finished 12th at 220; Mitsunaga tied for 15th at 222; and Hollis tied for 26th at 224.
“We were consistent throughout the lineup all week,” Brewer said. “I think our drop scores were 75-76-75. Most teams would be happy to have what we were throwing away.”
Following the Bulldogs and Razorbacks on the leaderboard were No. 25 Texas Tech at 878, No. 18 Iowa State at 884, No. 6 Northwestern and No. 9 Kent State both at 886, Augusta and TCU at 891, Louisville at 898, N.C. State at 902.
The victory was Georgia’s third in six team events this season. Last fall, the Bulldogs won their opener at the Cardinal Kickoff Classic and then shared the team title with No. 3 Arizona and No. 6 Northwestern at the Windy City Collegiate.
Georgia will return to action in two weeks when the Bulldogs compete in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C.
Lady Puerto Rico Classic
Rio Mar Country Club River Course
Rio Grande, P.R.
Par 72; 6203 Yards
Tuesday’s Final-Round Results
Texas Tech 283-300-295=878
Iowa State 294-291-299=884
Kent State 293-297-296=886
N.C. State 290-302-310=902
Maria Fassi, Arkansas 72-67-69=208
Gabby Barker, Texas Tech 66-73-70=209
Harang Lee, Georgia 69-75-69=213
Kelly McGovern, TCU 75-69-69=213
Bailey Tardy, Georgia 68-72-75=215
Wad Phaewchimplee, Kent State 71-72-73=216
Laura Restrepo, Louisville 73-73-71=217
Alana Uriell, Arkansas 71-70-78=219
Parinda Phokan, Iowa State 74-70-75=219
Kacie Komoto, Purdue 73-71-75=219
Sarah Brown, Texas Tech 72-76-71=219
Additional Georgia Scores:
12. Manuela Carbajo Ré, Georgia 70-74-76=220
T15. Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia 76-73-73=222
T42. Jillian Hollis, Georgia 76-75-73=224
T81. Isabella Skinner, Georgia 84-80-78=242
For more information on the Georgia Women’s Golf team, follow the team on:
Face Book: UGA Bulldogs Women’s Golf
and on Vine at UGA Womens Golf