ATHENS, Ga. —- The 50th annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic will cap the Georgia women’s golf team’s 2021-22 regular-season schedule next March 25-27 at the UGA Golf Course. Head coach Josh Brewer announced the Bulldogs’ complete slate for the upcoming campaign on Thursday, including one of the longest running sporting events in women’s intercollegiate athletics.
“The name ‘Liz Murphey’ is synonymous with some of college golf’s greatest players and tournaments,” Brewer said. “I was not fortunate enough to meet or work with Liz, but I still feel the impact she has on our program through my conversations with our alums and the amazing stories they tell about Liz. That weekend is always special for our current golfers, and I hope we can make this 50th event one of the best ever.”
Overall, the Bulldogs’ schedule features a mix of five traditional tournaments and four first-time events before competing in the SEC and NCAA Championships. After playing within the SEC footprint for every event prior to the NCAA Regionals and NCAA Championships last season, the Bulldogs will trek to Illinois, California, Houston and Arizona during 2021-22.
“Last year was great getting to play against the SEC – the best conference in the nation – on a week-in, week-out basis, but we’re excited to have the chance to travel more this season and play more of a national schedule,” Brewer said.
Three of the Bulldogs’ four fall tourneys are events they have competed in regularly over the years – the College of Charleston’s Cougar Classic on Sept. 13-14, Vanderbilt’s Mason Rudolph Championship on Sept. 24-26 and the Stanford Intercollegiate on Oct. 15-17. Rounding out the 2021 calendar portion the slate is the Illini Invitational at Medinah Country Club on Oct. 11-12.
Georgia opens the spring with a first-ever trip to the Columbia Classic in Melbourne, Fla., on Feb. 13-14 and also will travel to Houston’s ICON Invitational on Feb. 21-22 and the Clover Cup, which will be hosted by Notre Dame in Mesa, Ariz., on March 11-13, for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs also will venture to the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in Hilton Head Island, S.C., on Feb. 28-March 2 and host the Liz Murphey in the regular-season finale.
“The way the scheduling broke this year allowed us to go to some places for the first time,” Brewer said. “In the fall, we get the chance to play at Medinah, which has hosted numerous major events. In March, we get the chance to play some desert golf, which will hopefully help us prepare for the national championships. We were on a high when we arrived at the nationals last spring coming off our Regional win, and I think a couple of more days or desert golf before the national championships would have helped us.”
The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic began in 1973 as the Georgia Invitational before becoming the Women’s Southern Intercollegiates from 1977-94. In 1995, it was renamed in honor of Liz Murphey, UGA’s Hall of Fame golf coach and long-time Senior Woman Administrator. The list of golfers who have competed in the LMCC reads like a “Who’s Who” of women’s golf, including LPGA Hall of Famers Beth Daniel, Betsy King and Julie Inkster. The list of recent medalists includes current LPGA standouts such as Jillian Hollis, Cheyenne Knight and Gaby Lopez.
Following the Liz Murphey, the SEC Championships will be held at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Ala., from April 13-17, and NCAA Regionals will be contested on May 9-11 in Tallahassee, Fla.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Stillwater, Okla.; and Albuquerque, N.M. The NCAA Championships will be staged at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., on May 20-25.
The Bulldogs return nine letterwinners from last year’s team that won the NCAA Columbus Regional title before finishing 18th at the NCAA Championships. Returning All-Americans Jenny Bae and Caterina Don anchor a lineup which also features seniors Alison Crenshaw, Jo Hua Hung and Zoé Walker; juniors Céleste Dao, Caroline Craig and Candice Mahé; and sophomore Isabella Holpfer. In addition, Georgia will welcome freshman LoraLie Cowart to this year’s roster.
Last season, Georgia produced six top-5 team finishes in 11 tournaments. The Bulldogs’ best outing was their sweep of the team and individual titles at the NCAA Columbus Regional. There, Georgia topped the team field by 15 strokes and Bae captured medalist honors by three shots.
“We would like to have the week we had a Regionals 10 or 12 times this year,” Brewer said. “Our expectations are high, and every one of our golfers has had very good summer performances individually. We’ll focus on building that into the team piece and look for more consistent results this season from start to finish. Our ultimate goal, as it is every season, is to compete for conference and national championships, and we feel like we have team very capable of doing just that.”