ATHENS, Ga. — A balance of traditional tournaments and first-time trips comprise the 2017-18 schedule for the Georgia women’s golf team, which was released Tuesday. Headlining the spring slate is the 46th annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
“I expect it to be a top-10 schedule in the country again,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “That’s how we recruit. We tell players they’re going to play against the best amateurs in the world. We’re lucky enough to have a few of those. That’s one of the reasons why we had four All-Americans last year, because of the schedule we played. I like having our student-athletes win those types of honors. You have to formulate the schedule that gives them that opportunity.”
The Bulldogs will open the campaign with consecutive trips to Minnesota. Georgia will compete in the Minnesota Invitational on Sept. 11-12 in Woodbury. The Bulldogs will return for college golf’s premier fall event, the ANNIKA Invitational, on Oct. 1-3 in Eden Prairie. Georgia finished fourth at last season’s edition of the ANNIKA in Orlando.
A busy October also includes traveling to the Stanford Intercollegiate. While the Bulldogs have appeared in the last five editions of the event, this year’s tourney will be played at Poppy Hills Golf Club instead of at Stanford’s University Course. The Ladies Fall Intercollegiate at the Atlanta Athletic Club completes Georgia’s fall slate. The event, hosted by the University of Louisville, has served as the Bulldogs’ season opener at different locations each of the past three years. The 2015 event also was at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
“As we’ve always done, we are just trying to play the best competition we can,” Brewer said. “We’re going to go wherever we have to do that. We were excited to get the invitation to the ANNIKA because that’s the marquee event in women’s golf for the fall. That one, you always have to put on your calendar. We just had another chance to go to Minnesota for a great tournament.”
Three of four spring tournaments are regulars for the Bulldogs. Georgia will play in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic on Feb. 11-13, the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate on March 2-4 and the Liz Murphey on April 13-15. The Bulldogs also will venture to the Arizona State’s PING/ASU Invitational on March 22-24, UGA’s first appearance in the tourney since 2008.
Postseason play begins at the SEC Championships on April 18-22. NCAA Regionals will be contested on May 7-9at the following sites – Stanford, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Madison, Wis.; and Tallahassee, Fla. The top-eight teams from each Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships on Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
Georgia returns five letterwinners – including All-Americans Jillian Hollis, Rinko Mitsunaga and Bailey Tardy – from last year’s team that finished the season ranked No. 8 by Golfweek and No. 9 by Golfstat. The Bulldogs also will welcome three freshman, including Paula Neira Garcia, who won the 2017 Spanish Amateur earlier this summer.
“I expect to have eight players who believe they can and want to play every week for us,” Brewer said. “I think you’re going to see us continue to have great depth. It should be exciting for us as coaches in qualifying. It may make it a little bit stressful for the players at times. But to win at the end of the year, you need that depth. There are going to be times when certain individuals aren’t going to be in the lineup. We have three individuals who have played in just about every event since they’ve been at Georgia, but still they know they have to work on their game because there are talented people waiting to take their spot every week.”