The Georgia women’s golf team returns to action when the Bulldogs open play at the Stanford Intercollegiate on today (Monday). The 54-hole event will be contested through Wednesday at Poppy Hills Golf Club in Pebble Beach, California.
While Georgia has competed in the tournament several times in its 22-year history, this year’s event is being contested at the Poppy Hills instead of Stanford’s university course, which is undergoing renovations.
“The tournament has the same name, but we’ll be playing Poppy Hills in Monterey,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “We’ll be playing where the PGA Tour has played so it should be an exciting trip. It’s good to get back out there and compete again. It feels like we’re getting into a rhythm and a routine. We’re excited to tee it up and see some of the best schools on the west coast. This is a great opportunity for us to go out there and make a statement.”
Sophomore Gabriela Coello will occupy the top spot in Georgia’s lineup, followed by senior Isabella Skinner, junior Bailey Tardy and freshmen Paula Neira Garcia and Stephanie Carras.
There are six schools in the 15-team field that are currently in the top-25 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index – No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Stanford No. 13 Northwestern, No. 22 Iowa State and No. 23 Florida State. Rounding out the competitors are the Bulldogs, Cal, Cal Poly, Oregon, Pepperdine, San Jose State, Stanford’s “B” team, UC Davis and Washington.
The Bulldogs are coming off an 11th-place showing at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, competing against an elite field in college golf’s premier fall event. Brewer’s squad has spent much of the past two weeks focusing on minor tweaks.
“We’ve focused a lot on fundamentals and basics,” Brewer said. “It’s not like it’s ‘off.’ It’s just a couple of little things that look like bigger things when you see the final score. We’re very talented. I think some of it is concentration and confidence from it. I expect that to be much better at Stanford.”
The course will give Georgia a chance to play different conditions in a different part of the country.
“Any time you get to play a course you’re not used to practicing on or playing on consistently, it helps your game,” Skinner said. “If you can figure out how to play well on those different types of courses and conditions, I think it prepares you for later down the road in the season.”
“At Stanford last year, the course had the typical bluegrass and bent greens and moist conditions,” said Tardy. “I’ve never played this golf course, but I know it’s on the coast so there’s going to be a lot of prevailing winds and a lot of trouble around the golf course. Just keeping it in the middle of the fairways, on the greens or around the greens and not missing big is kind of key this weekend.
“I think playing more like golf courses like Minnesota, with danger on both sides of you, kind or intimidates you a bit when you step up,” Tardy added. “The more you play, the more you get used to that.”
Georgia will be paired with Iowa State and Oregon for Monday’s opening round, teeing off between 10:30-12:14 ET from No. 1. Live scoring can be tracked here via golfstat.com.