The No. 4-ranked Georgia women’s golf team shot 9-over 297 in Sunday’s final round of the SEC Championships at Greystone Golf and Country Club to finish the tournament in sixth place at 889.
The Bulldogs received five solid scores but failed to have a single par-or-better effort for just the third time in 24 team rounds this season.
Junior Sammi Lee paced Georgia with a 1-over 73. The Bulldogs also counted a 74 from Jillian Hollis and a pair of 75s, the score posted by Harang Lee, Rinko Mitsunaga and Bailey Tardy.
“Today was the first time all week that all five golfers were in it all the time,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “I can look at that as a positive. But at the same time, we weren’t sharp from the time we arrived. We just have to get better for Regionals. There’s no other way around it. I don’t sugar-coat things. I’m disappointed with a sixth place finish, but we still have two tournaments left and chances to win two more trophies.”
After opening with 10 consecutive pars, Lee notched back-to-back birdies at No. 11 and No. 12. She bogeyed No. 13, No. 15 and No. 17 to just miss her first even-par loop of the season.
“Obviously it’s not the finish we were hoping for,” Lee said. “We were hoping to walk away with a win, but this gives us a lot of things we need to focus on, some things we need to tighten up before Regionals. I think it’s helpful to see what areas we need to work on.”
No. 1 Alabama captured the SEC title after closing with a 291 and finishing at 5-under 859. No. 7 Florida finished second at 864, followed by No. 8 Arkansas at 882, No. 25 Texas A&M at 884, No. 23 South Carolina at 888, the Bulldogs at 889, Ole Miss at 894, Tennessee at 896, Missouri at 900, Vanderbilt at 905, LSU at 911, Mississippi State at 914, Auburn at 919 and Kentucky at 921.
Maria Torres of Florida earned medalist honors. She shot 2-under on Sunday to finish at 9-under 207, two shots better than Katelyn Dambaugh of South Carolina.
For Georgia, Hollis tied for 11th at 219, Harang Lee tied for 16th at 221, Tardy tied for 23rd at 223, Mitsunaga was 39th at 228 and Sammi Lee tied for 48th at 232.
The Bulldogs will return to action in three weeks when they open NCAA Regional play. Four Regionals will be contested on May 5-7 in Birmingham, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; College Station, Texas; and Stanford, California. Each Regional will feature 18 teams, with the top-six teams after 54 holes of play advancing to the NCAA Championships on May 20-25 in Eugene, Oregon.
The Regional fields will be announced on Monday, April 25th at 6 pm ET on the Golf Channel.
“We have to find the enthusiasm we had in the fall,” Brewer said. “We’ll talk as a team. Maybe we were put a little bit too much pressure on ourselves coming in here so highly ranked and trying to live up to that ranking. We’ve just got to get back to grinding. We’re not going to let three rounds define us. They were solid rounds, just not great rounds. It has been a very good year, and we have a chance to make it a great year if we continue to work and believe in each other.”
“We have a good amount of time now before Regionals,” Lee said. “We know we need to focus on wedges and our short games and work on our putting. Everyone’s long game is great. We all hit the ball well. We just need to tighten up a few areas. We have the time, and we need to get in the right mindset.”
2016 SEC Women’s Golf Championships
Greystone Golf and Country Club Legacy Course
Course: Par 72; 6195 Yards
Sunday’s Second-Round Standings
Texas A&M 299-291-294=884
South Carolina 298-301-289=888
Ole Miss 301-300-293=894
Mississippi State 305-303-306=914
Maria Torres, Florida 69-68-70=207
Katelyn Dambaugh, S. Carolina 72-71-66=209
Cheyenne Knight, Alabama 72-71-69=212
Emma Talley, Alabama 70-73-70=213
Maria Fassi, Arkansas 75-71-69=215
Lakareber Abe, Alabama 70-74-71=215
Maddie Szeryk, Texas A&M 75-70-71=216
Ainhoa Olarra, S. Carolina 69-77-71=217
Alison Horvatter, Ole Miss 74-71-73=218
Amanda Kim, Missouri 70-75-73=218
Additional Georgia Scores
T11. Jillian Hollis, Georgia 73-72-74=219
T16. Harang Lee, Georgia 74-72-75=221
T23. Bailey Tardy, Georgia 71-77-75=223
39. Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia 78-75-75=228
T48. Sammi Lee, Georgia 79-80-73=232