AUGUSTA, Ga. — Led by junior Jillian Hollis’ career-low loop, the Georgia women’s golf team posted the sixth-best round in school history in Friday’s opening round of the 3M Augusta Invitational. Hollis fired a 6-under 66 to lead the Bulldogs to a 7-under 281 at the Forest Hills Golf Club.
Georgia grabbed a 12-shot lead on the team leaderboard, while Hollis is two strokes ahead of the individual field.
“When you post one of the top-10 scores in school history, it’s a special day,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “They’ve been working so hard. We’ve challenged them, even with the difficult conditions we’ve had at times. It’s nice to see them rewarded. They’ve be working hard and wanting to get better every day and that effort was rewarded today.”
In addition to Hollis’ 66, Georgia also counted a 2-under 70 from Isabella Skinner, a 1-under 71 from Gabriela Coello and a 74 from Rinko Mitstuanga. Paula Neira’s 76 was the Bulldogs’ drop score, while Stephanie Carras and Elisa Yang, who are competing as individuals, shot 77 and 79, respectively.
Overall, Skinner is tied for fourth, Coello is tied for eighth, Mitsunaga is tied for 21st, Neira Garcia is tied for 37th, Carras is tied for 41st and Yang is tied for 55th.
Hollis blistered the layout to the tune of 5-under on the front half. She birdied No. 3, No. 5, No. 6, No. 8 and No. 9. Hollis birdied No. 10 to move to 6-under on the day, a shot off the school record a 7-under 65 by Vicki Goetze in the final round of the 1992 NCAA Championships. Hollis finished with eight consecutive pars and tied her career-best effort of 6-under 66 in the opening round of the 2016 Mountain View Collegiate.
“Jillian just continues to build on her confidence following a great showing at the Darius Rucker,” Brewer said. “She actually had a couple more looks to tie or break the record, but when you’re mentioned with names like Vicki and are so close to 7- or 8-under, you’re allowed to miss a putt or two. Really, the whole team played well today, Bella and Gaby in particular, and I’m happy for them.”
Hollis finished fifth at the Darius Rucker, an event that featured six of the nation’s top-10 teams.
Skinner also tied her best collegiate score from the final round of the Gold Rush earlier this spring. The senior was steady for most of the day. She was 1-over through 12 with a lone bogey at No. 4 as the only blemish on her day. Skinner then birdied No. 13, No. 17 and No. 18.
Coello was under par most of the day. She birdied No. 6 and turned at 1-under and notched another birdie at No. 11. Coello remained at 2-under until at bogey at No. 18.
Georgia is a dozen shots clear of Virginia Tech on the team leaderboard. No. 21 Purdue is third at 294.
“This is a different position for us this season,” Brewer said. “We’ll see how we handle being front with people chasing us. We have a good opportunity for us to learn as a team tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs will be paired with the Hokies and Boilermakers for Saturday’s second round, teeing off in waves at No. 1 from 9:30-10:06 am ET. Live scoring is available via www.golfstat.com.
3M Augusta Invitational
Forest Hills Golf Club
Par 72, 6228 Yards
Friday’s First-Round Results
Virginia Tech 293
Central Arkansas 295
Daytona State 298
Middle Tennessee 306
East Tennessee St. 307
Eastern Michigan 310
Southern Miss 311
James Madison 312
Jillian Hollis, Georgia 66
Amanda Hollandsworth, Virginia Tech 68
Fernanda Lira, Central Arkansas 69
Isabella Skinner, Georgia 70
Emily Goldenstein, Memphis 70
Jiwon Jeon, Daytona State 70
Hee Ying Loy, ETSU 70
Gabriela Coello, Georgia 71
Micaela Farah, Purdue 71
Emma Svensson, Central Arkansas 71
Additional Georgia Scores
T21. Rinko Mitsunga 74
T37. Paula Neira Garcia 76
T41. Stephanie Carras 77
T55. Elisa Yang 79