Sammi Lee and Mary Ellen Shuman ran through four tandems in the USGA Four-Ball Championships to reach Wednesday’s final, but Georgia golf team’s recent graduates placed second to Alice Chen and Taylor Totland.
Chen and Totland, products of Furman, finished four up and at three holes to play to put a stop to Lee and Shuman’s run in the match play tournament at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. The top-seeded Chen and Totland raced to an early 3-0 lead, which proved difficult for Lee and Shuman to chip away at. Seeds were based on finishes in stroke play.
“We went into the tournament with no expectations,” Lee said. “We just looked to have a fun week and we wound up in the finals. We made a lot of putts and were hitting the ball well. The beauty of this format is having a partner, which is rare for us in college golf. It is helpful to have someone there to back you up and someone to cheer and support you as well. It helped both our games. There were times where Mary Ellen picked me up and times that I picked her up.”
Play on Wednesday also featured the semifinals as Lee/Shuman defeated Kathleen Gallagher and Kendall Griffin two up with one hole to play. The former Georgia twosome jumped out to an early two-point advantage in the first two holes. Play remained steady until Gallagher and Griffin birdied the 14th hole to cut it to a one, however, Lee/Shuman birdied back and held on the 17th hole to secure a seat in the finals.
Also in the match-play field was Georgia’s rising junior Bailey Tardy, playing aside Arizona State alum Monica Vaughn. Tardy and Vaughn dispatched two teams, before falling in the Quarterfinals on Tuesday.
In the Round of 32, Lee/Shuman’s birdie bested the Angelina Kim and Brianna Navarrosa on an extra hole, while Tardy and Vaughn beat Jaravee Boonchant and Ya Chung Chang by two.
The Sweet Sixteen matches weren’t as close as Lee/Shuman defeated Brittany Fan and Esther Lee three up with two to go, and Tardy/Vaughn clinched over Katrina Prendergast and Ellen Secor after going four up with three holes left.
In the quarterfinals, Lee and Shuman trailed by two after the front nine, but took the next three holes to move ahead by one. A birdie on the 17th hole sealed the win over No. 6-seed Annick Haczkiewics and Sydney Smith, sending Lee and Shuman into Wednesday’s play. Jennifer Chang and Gina Kim halted Tardy and Vaughn’s run, winning by two with one hole to play.
Bulldogs’ signee Elisa Yang participated in stroke play but missed the cut with her partner by one stroke.
“At the end of the day, it will be one of my biggest memories in my college career,” Lee added. “It is amazing and a memory in itself to end my golfing career with my former Georgia teammate, Mary Ellen.”