WOMEN’S GOLF: UGA Opens Play in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate This Weekend

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WOMEN’S GOLF: UGA Opens Play in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate This Weekend

Georgia's Harang Lee (Photo by Sean Taylor)
Georgia’s Harang Lee
(Photo by Sean Taylor)

The Georgia women’s golf team will return to action on Friday when the Bulldogs open play in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C. Georgia is currently ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation and is coming off a victory at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic two weeks ago.

“So far we’ve played two tournaments this spring, and we’ve had one individual win and one team win,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “It’s a credit to the team. It shows that they worked hard during that four-month break and found a way to keep not only the momentum going but also keep themselves motivated at the same time. We’ve talked all year about the fact that we want to make sure we have a chance at SECs and NCAAs. To do that, you have to beat teams that are ranked No. 1 or No. 2. Now, we’re one of those schools.”

The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 3 and No. 5 by Golfweek and Golfstat, respectively. The Darius Rucker field includes five teams included in the top 10 in both polls. Southern Cal is the consensus No. 1, while Duke is No. 2. In addition to Georgia, Arkansas is No. 3 in Golfstat and No. 6 in Golfweek and Alabama is No. 4 in Golfstat and No. 8 in Golfweek. Oklahoma State (No. 12 Golfweek/No. 13 Golfstat) and Tennessee (No. 19 Golfweek, No. 21 Golfstat) round out the ranked entrants in the 15-team field. Other competing schools include Auburn, Furman, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest.

Georgia’s playing five this weekend will feature senior Manuela Carbajo Ré, juniors Harang Lee and Mary Ellen Shuman and freshmen Rinko Mitsunaga and Bailey Tardy.

Carbajo Ré believes the team is capitalizing on individual improvements en route to team success.

“It is a really, really, really good feeling,” Carbajo Ré said. “I’m super excited about the upcoming tournaments. I’m even more motivated every time we play. I’m happy with how things are with the team right now, and I know we have a real chance to win every time. That’s motivating as a team and as an individual as well. We are focusing on our individual scores. That makes the team great. Just trying to improve ourselves has worked really well for us in the past few tournaments.”

Shuman, a native of nearby St. Simons Island, Ga., will be making her first appearance in Georgia’s lineup this season. She has played in two events this season, finishing ninth individually while competing for UGA’s “Black” team at the Cardinal Kickoff and tying for 11th at the Lady Bulldog Individual Championship last month.

“It’s very exciting,” Shuman said. “I’ve been waiting for this chance for a while. I’ve played individually in a couple of tournaments, but it’s just not the same. It will be nice to get back out there with the team and be in a team atmosphere. (The season has been) great and awful at the same time. People ask me ‘How are you doing this year?’ I would have to answer ‘The team is doing great, but personally I’m not doing so great.’ We’re all in it together. People are going to have better weeks than others. You’re just going to have to pick each other up. I think that’s what makes us so good is that we have other people who can come into the lineup and still play really well.”

Despite the Bulldogs’ success, Brewer still feels like Georgia has much to prove and accomplish.

“I feel like we’re still fighting for respect,” Brewer said. “I think people are waiting for us to have that seventh- of 10th-place finish at a tournament. We don’t even talk about it as a team. We have bigger goals than winning the Darius Rucker. We want something bigger at the end of the year. We might be the darling story of the year and we’re happy to have people keep writing that if we’re collecting trophies and titles.”

Georgia will be paired with North Carolina and Tennessee for Friday’s opening round, teeing off between 8:30-9:10 from No. 10. Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com.


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