Tardy shot 5-under 67 en route to victory, including five birdies in her final nine holes.
“It’s a great accomplishment and even more so to do it when your team needs you,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “For Bailey to close 5-under on the back nine when we’re trying to win a team title competing against maybe four top-5 programs – that says a lot about her and a lot about her round.”
“I’m very excited,” Tardy said. “I made two really clutch birdie putts coming in on 17 and 18, but I had no idea I was even close to breaking any records.”
Tardy’s 12-under tally bested Reilley Rankin’s 11-under Georgia record during the 1998 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. She broke the Windy City Collegiate Classic mark of 5-under set by Arizona’s Lindsey Weaver in 2013 and equaled by Southern Cal’s Annie Park last year.
Georgia’s 12-under team total is the second-best in school history, trailing only a 14-under effort at the 2009 Cougar Classic.
Tardy bookended seven pars with a birdie at No. 1 and a bogey at No. 9 to turn at even. She then posted birdies at No. 10, No. 11, No. 14, No. 17 and No. 18 and eventually finished five shots ahead of the field.
“I think how I struck the ball was pretty equal on the front and back nine,” Tardy said. “I just made more putts. I could have shot a scary score today, but my putts weren’t falling. At No. 8, it was a reachable par-5 and I missed a 4-foot, tap-in birdie putt. That got me a little heated, and I made a stupid mistake on No. 9. After that, I just stepped on No. 10 tee and thought, ‘It’s a new nine. Anything can happen. Just play like you’ve been playing for the last two rounds.’ I started trusting my line and putting better strokes on my putts. I didn’t make any mistakes on the back nine. It was pretty much perfect golf.”
Georgia closed with a 2-over 290 as a team, also counting a 73 from Rinko Mitsunaga and a pair of 75s from Jillian Hollis and Harang Lee.
The Bulldogs entered the final round with a two-shot lead over Northwestern. The Wildcats appeared to take control early in the day after playing the first three holes at 5-under. Northwestern’s lead bulged to eight shots at one point before the Wildcats came back to the field.
The Bulldogs were in a similar position two weeks ago at the Mason Rudolph Championship, leading after two rounds before finishing third.
“I knew just from watching that Northwestern was making a lot of birdies,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “This is where we learned from the Mason Rudolph. We knew we had to be patient and hang around and hopefully they would come back and we would start making some birdies at the end, which we did.”
In addition to Tardy’s five birdies, Mitsugana played the back side at 1-under and Hollis birdied No. 16 and No. 18.
Tardy, playing in the final group, didn’t know the Bulldogs were in contention until after she finished.
“I had no clue,” Tardy said. “I hit a really bad drive on 18 about 20 yards right in the trees. Luckily, I hit a 7-iron over the trees and into the green. People clapped, and I thought it was a pretty good shot. Then a Northwestern girl hit it further out than I was. Everyone cheered and I thought Northwestern must be winning. When I hit the putt, the team didn’t come after me because there were still other people who needed to putt out. When they came up to hug me I asked how the team did and they told me my putt tied us for the win. I had no idea.”
Through four tournaments and 11 rounds this season the Bulldogs are a combined 22-under as a team. Georgia shot even-par at the first two events and finished the Mason Rudolph at 10-under. By comparison, Georgia posted six par-or-better tournament scores in 36 seasons and 413 events prior to this fall.
“We’re off to a great start,” Brewer said. “You want to win everything, but you couldn’t ask for a better start as a coach and a program. It’s good for players who have worked so hard. It’s a very exciting time in Athens right now.”
Georgia will return to action next weekend when the Bulldogs complete their fall slate at the Stanford Intercollegiate on Oct. 18-20.
Windy City Collegiate Classic
Westmoreland Country Club
Par 72, 6291 Yards
Tuesday’s Final Results
Arizona State 291-282-280=853
Southern Cal 283-283-290=856
Oklahoma State 293-276-288=857
Iowa State 294-287-290=871
Ohio State 295-284-298=877
UC Davis 292-299-297=888
Virginia Tech 299-297-300=896
Bailey Tardy, Georgia 70-67-67=204
Jessica Vasilic, Arizona 70-69-70=209
Karen Chung, Southern Cal 68-71-70=209
Silvia Garces, Tulane 70-72-69=211
Kacie Komoto, Northwestern 73-71-67=211
Madison Kerley, Arizona State 76-68-68=212
Wanasa Zhou, Arizona 73-70-69=212
Hannah Kim, Northwestern 66-71-75=212
Celia Barquin, Iowa State 71-69-73=213
Maddie McCrary, Oklahoma State 78-65-70=213
Monica Vaughn, Arizona State 72-71-70=213
Linnea Strom, Arizona State 70-69-74=213
Chih-Min Chen, Oklahoma State 69-71-73=213
Additional Georgia Scores
T19. Harang Lee, Georgia 70-70-75=215
T25. Jillian Hollis, Georgia 71-70-75=216
T34. Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia 73-72-73=218
T64. Isabella Skinner, Georgia 77-71-79=227