The sixth-ranked Georgia women’s golf team soared to second place at the SEC Championships on Saturday after they delivered a 7-under-par 282 in the second round of play. The Bulldogs did their damage on the final three holes and cut a 10-shot deficit in half to tournament leader, No. 8 Florida, putting them within striking distance of first place and a potential SEC title.
“It gave us hope,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “Without that finish, some schools are playing really well, especially Florida, and it would’ve been really tough. It also tells us that tomorrow if we happen to fall further behind, we have the firepower to make up shots quickly. We’ve got to stay really patient.”
No. 8 Florida shot 8-under 280 and moved to 12-under through 36 holes. Georgia is at 7-under 569.
When the Gators, who were playing in the groups ahead of Georgia, finished their day, the Bulldogs were at 2-under through 33 holes. In less than an hour, Mary Ellen Shuman, Jillian Hollis and Harang Lee all birdied both No. 16 and No. 18. Lee wrapped up the day with a 25-foot birdie putt for Georgia.
In the process, Lee moved atop the individual leaderboard at Greystone Golf and Country Club. She posted a 5-under 67 – her career-low round at Georgia – to move to 8-under 136 and one shot ahead of Tennessee’s Anna Newell.
“I’m just hitting it really close to the pins,” Lee said. “I had so many birdie opportunities, and they were all pretty short. As I said yesterday, I tried to stay patient. Having so many opportunities can make you rush and be impatient. Tomorrow, I hope to keep maintaining that attitude.”
Georgia counted a quartet of par-or-better rounds on Saturday, with a 1-under 71 from Jillian Hollis and a pair of even-par 72s from Rinko Mitsunaga and Mary Ellen Shuman helping the Bulldogs comprise a 6-under 282.
“I’m extremely happy for Harang and her 5-under 67,” Brewer said. “And Mary Ellen’s 72 was huge, too. You just hope they can continue that one more day and cap off their senior year at SECs in a special way.”
Overall, Hollis is tied for 11th at 143, Shuman is tied for 27th at 146, Mitsunaga is tied for 32nd at 158 and Bailey Tardy, who shot 77 on Saturday, is tied for 40th at 149.
Trailing the Gators and Bulldogs and rounding out the top-10 teams are No. 13 Arkansas at 570, No. 20 Texas A&M at 572, Tennessee at 573, No. 11 South Carolina at 576, No. 1 Alabama at 580 and both Kentucky and LSU at 587.
Lee turned at 1-under after posting birdies at No. 2 and No. 7 and her lone bogey of the day at No. 8. On the back side, she birdied No. 10 and No. 11 and then posted four straight pars before the aforementioned birdies on two of her final three holes.
Lee played with Newell on Saturday, with the two atop the individual field matching each other shot for shot.
“It was a lot of fun,” Lee said. “She’s super nice, and we were both hitting great shots and making good putts. We were having a nice conversation, too. I feel like we got in good timing. It was fun playing with her.”
Georgia will play with Florida in Sunday’s final pairings, teeing off between 1:16-1:48 pm ET. Live scoring is available via golfstat.com.
“It’s exactly why we do everything we do all year,” Brewer said. “All year, we preach `final group, final group, have a chance’ so we’re right where we want to be.
“We’re playing well,” Brewer added. “I think it took five or six holes today for us to make a bogey as a team. It was a great start. They’re a very confident bunch, but they should be. They’ve been practicing hard and playing well.”
SEC Women’s Golf Championships
Greystone Golf & Country Club
Par 72; 6202 Yards
RESULTS FROM SATURDAY’S SECOND-ROUND
Texas A&M 282-290=572
South Carolina 286-290=576
Ole Miss 296-295=592
Mississippi St. 295-300=595
Harang Lee, Georgia 69-67=136
Anna Newell, Tennessee 69-68=137
Maria Torres, Florida 70-68=138
Katelyn Dambaugh, S. Carolina 68-70=138
Maddie Szeryk, Texas A&M 69-71=140
Alana Uriell, Arkansas 68-72=140
Taylor Tomlinson, Florida 72-68=140
Alexandra Farnsworth, Vanderbilt 68-72=140
Kristen Gillman, Alabama 72-69=141
Bianca Fabrizio, Texas A&M 70-72=142
Additional Georgia Scores
T11. Jillian Hollis, Georgia 72-71=143
T27. Mary Ellen Shuman, Georgia 74-72=146
T32. Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia 76-72=148
T40. Bailey Tardy, Georgia 72-77=149