UGA women’s golfer Jillian Hollis fired off a 5-under-par 67 on the opening day of the 45th annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the University of Georgia Golf Course on Friday.
In the process, Hollis led Georgia to a 9-over 297 and the best score in the 12-team field. Denver and Alabama were second, six shots back at 303. The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 8 nationally, will be the No. 1 seed for the tournament’s match play portion, which begins Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m.
“It’s a win,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “That’s a great thing. It’s the first one this spring. I know it’s a one-day medal portion, but it’s still a win. We needed that. We’ve been playing well, practicing well. We were close last week. Now we’ll go into match play as the No. 1 seed with a bullseye on our back.”
Georgia finished as runner-up at the Bryan National last weekend.
Hollis earned a 3-shot victory over the field and came within a stroke the tournament record on a windy day that yielded only three under-par scores among 60 golfers.
“I’ve been super-chill on the golf course lately,” Hollis said. “Keeping that mindset was good to have, especially because it’s really windy today. I played my game. I had three chip-ins and an eagle, and that helped a lot. I could have made a couple more putts, but I’m really happy with how I played today.”
Hollis turned at 1-under after posted birdies at No. 4 and No. 7 and a bogey at No. 5. She moved to 2-under with another birdie at No. 11 but gave that stroke back with a bogey at No. 14. Hollis bounced back with an eagle-2 at No. 15 and then birdied No. 15 and No. 17 en route to the clubhouse.
“It might be one of the best two or three rounds of the year in college golf,” Brewer said. “You’ll see 65s and 64s in our sport, but in these conditions it’s unbelievable. I’m super-proud of her.”
The Bulldogs’ other counting rounds were a 73 from Rinko Mitsunaga, a 76 from Harang Lee and an 81 from Bailey Tardy. Georgia dropped Mary Ellen Shuman’s 82. Overall, Mitsunaga tied for sixth, Lee tied for 14th, Tardy tied for 38th and Shuman tied for 43rd.
Hollis and Mitsunaga credited yesterday’s practice round as a major factor in Friday’s performance.
“We played our practice round yesterday, and it was the same the conditions if not a little bit worse,” Hollis said. “It was really good to play yesterday. We play this course all the time so I was even thinking ‘we don’t need a practice round,” but it was good because I hit the same kind of clubs in the same kind of wind yesterday that I hit today.”
“I knew it was going to be windy after playing yesterday,” Mitsunaga said. “I think because this is our home course we did have an advantage. I think I played our whole team played well today considering the conditions.”
The victory was Georgia’s third of the season, following victories at the Cardinal Kickoff and the Windy City Collegiate in the fall. Hollis notched her second career win. She also won the Mountain View Collegiate last spring.
Georgia will face Daytona State, the nation’s top junior college team, in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. The other quarterfinal matchups include Auburn vs. Arkansas, Alabama vs. Southern Cal and Denver vs. Oklahoma State.
The semifinals will begin at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, with the champion set to start at 9:20 a.m. on Sunday. Admission is free throughout the tournament. Live scoring is available throughout the tournament at www.birdiefire.com.
45th Annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic
UGA Golf Course
Par 72; 6300 Yards
FRIDAY’S STROKE PLAY RESULTS
Oklahoma State 310
Southern Cal 310
Daytona State 311
South Carolina 313
Old Dominion 321
Jillian Hollis, Georgia 67
Kristen Gillman, Alabama 70
Kaylee Benton, Arkansas 71
Cara Goriel, Arkansas 72
Sophie Newlove, Denver 72
Lauren Whyte, Denver 73
Jiwon Jean, Daytona State 73
August Kim, Purdue 73
Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia 73
Cheyenne Knight, Alabama 74
Additional Georgia Scores
T14. Harang Lee, Georgia 76
T38. Bailey Tardy, Georgia 81
T43. Mary Ellen Shuman, Georgia 82
CLICK HERE for the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic brackets.