On Thursday, the NCAA announced the field for the 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships – Athens Regional where 8th-ranked Georgia will compete against 17 teams and six individuals.
The Bulldogs garnered the No. 2 seed for the Regional. The competition will begin on May 8th and conclude on May 10th at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
The field features six top-25 teams. No. 2 Alabama is the top seed, followed by the No. 8 Bulldogs, No. 11 Northwestern, No. 14 Arizona, No. 19 Baylor and No. 22 Wake Forest. The remainder of the competing teams are Auburn, Augusta, Clemson, Kansas State, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Florida, Princeton, Quinnipiac, Tennessee, Troy and UCF.
The six individual entrants are: Chieh Jessica Peng, Mississippi State; Laura Fuenfstueck, College of Charleston; Lisa Pettersson, East Carolina; Vanessa Ha, San Francisco; Alexandra Farnsworth, Vanderbilt; and Anna Redding, Virginia.
The top-six teams from the Regional and the low three individuals who are not members of those teams will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be contested on May 19-24 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Hills, Ill., outside Chicago.
“Even though we knew we were going to be playing here, it’s still exciting to see your name go up,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “And it’s exciting to see your name as a No. 2 seed. That speaks to the hard work the members of this program have put in to earn that seed. Now we have work to do. We remember what happened at the end of last year, and we know we have to continue to work hard and take care of our business.”
Last season, the Bulldogs won the NCAA Bryan Regional before finishing a disappointing 18th at the NCAA Championships.
Georgia has been ranked among the nation’s top-10 teams throughout the 2016-17 campaign. The Bulldogs have won five titles – three team and two individual – this season. Georgia swept both trophies at the Cardinal Kickoff Classic last September and the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic last month. The Bulldogs also won the team title at the Windy City Collegiate Classic last October.
Four Bulldogs are currently ranked among the nation’s top-55 individuals by both Golfstat and Golfweek. According to Golfweek, Jillian Hollis is No. 12, Harang Lee is No. 15, Rinko Mitsunaga is No. 33 and Bailey Tardy is No. 31. In the Golfstat rankings, Lee is No. 18, Hollis is No. 26, Tardy is No. 34 and Mitsunaga is No. 55.
The UGA Golf Course has a long history with women’s intercollegiate golf. The layout has hosted the women’s national championships five times – the 1971 Division of Girls’ and Women’s Sports (DGWS) Intercollegiate Championships, the 1981 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Championships and the 1983, 1993 and 2013 NCAA Championships.
“You could even say this venue is to women’s collegiate championships in the same fashion as what Oakmont Country Club might be to the U.S. Open,” Golfweek’s Lance Ringler wrote when UGA host the 2013 NCAAs.
The UGA course also hosted the 2008 NCAA East Regional and last week was tapped to host an additional Regional in 2020. In addition, the course is home to the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. Named for hall-of-fame coach and administrator Liz Murphey, the tourney is one of the oldest and most prestigious events in all of women’s intercollegiate athletics. The 45th annual LMCC was contested at the UGA Golf Course earlier in April.
“I’m biased, but I think it’s one of the best courses in the country and one of the best venues in all of college golf,” Brewer said. “When you hear coaches and players from other teams say they hope they’re sent here for Regionals, that speaks to the quality and the reputation of our golf course. I think the UGA Course also is one of the reasons both our women’s and men’s programs at Georgia have been so successful and have the storied histories that they have. Great players want to come here and play a golf course that challenges them every day.”
For more information on the NCAA Athens Regional, CLICK HERE.