SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. — Georgia moved up two spots on the team leaderboard during the third round play at the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships on Sunday. The Bulldogs carded a 6-over 294 and in the process climbed from 11th to ninth in the team field.
The field was cut in half to 15 teams following Sunday’s round. After Monday’s round, the top eight teams will go on to a bracketed match play competition on Tuesday and Wednesday to determine the national champion.
“Now, it’s just give us a tee time every time they offer one and keep moving forward,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “We’re in a great spot, and we’ve just got to play golf tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs are among five teams separated by two strokes between seventh and 11th. No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 23 Arizona are tied for seventh at 5-over 869, followed by the Bulldogs and No. 16 Pepperdine at 6-over 870 and No. 24 Oklahoma State at 7-over 871.
Georgia also entered last year’s final round of stroke play in ninth before securing the eighth-seed. In the Bulldogs’ first appearance in match play since the format was instituted in 2015, Georgia dropped a 3-2 decision to Stanford, the eventual national champions, in the quarterfinals.
“We’ve been in this spot last year too so we know we can control our destiny tomorrow,” Mahé said. “We’ll try to stay focused and in the moment. Everyone is going to have to shoot really low if we want to make it into the top eight. We have the team to do it and believe we can do it. We just have to be patient tomorrow, and it’s going to come our way.”
Georgia teed off from No. 10 at Grayhawk Golf Club and reached the midway point at 3-over. The Bulldogs played the first two holes of the front nine at 1-under before dropping seven strokes from Nos. 3-6. Georgia bounced back with a quartet of birdies at the 474-yard, par-5 No. 7 and eventually played the final three holes at 3-under as a team.
“The golf course finally turned into the championship course you expect, firm and fast,” Brewer said. “It just took a while to adjust and kind of like we did yesterday at the end, we battled and got ourselves in a spot you want to be in heading into the final day of stroke play at the national championship.”
Candice Mahé led Georgia on Sunday with an even-par 72, while the Bulldogs also counted a trio of 74s from Jenny Bae, Caterina Don and Jo Hua Hung.
“It’s the national championships so mediocre golf is not going to get you anywhere,” Don said. “You always want to be in the right position starting the next day. You always want to be have the chance to do better tomorrow. I think our team has the chance to do better tomorrow and hopefully play on Tuesday.”
Mahé fought back after a slow start, bogeying No. 12 and doubling No. 16 to sit 3-over through seven holes. She gained two of those strokes back with birdies at No. 17 and No. 2 but carded another bogey at No. 6. Mahé birdied both No. 7 and No. 8 to move back to even before a closing par at No. 9.
“Today I really tried to stay patient because it was playing really hard out there,” Mahé said. “The pins were super hard. It was a bit windy, and the greens are getting faster and faster every day. I just tried to stay in my routine and maintain my focus. At the end, when I had the occasion, I tried to make my putts and it went good for me. We did a good job overall as a team because it was really hard today.”
Don was playing her first competitive round since the final day of stroke play at the SEC Championships more than a month ago on April 15. She was incredibly steady to start the day, mixing a birdie at No. 14 with eight pars to turn at 1-under. Don bogeyed No. 3, No. 6 and No. 8 to finish at 2-over.
“It was nice,” Don said. “I was waiting for my opportunity, and I was working hard while the others were playing. I was getting ready for whenever my opportunity came, and it was exciting to get out there.”
Though 54 holes, Bae leads Georgia at 1-under 215 and is tied for 20th, followed by Hung at 1-over 217 and tied for 30th, Mahé at 219 and tied for 47th and LoraLie Cowart, who shot 80 on Sunday, at 226 and tied for 100th.
Georgia will tee along with Oklahoma State and New Mexico off from No. 10 between 1:11-1:55 p.m. ET on Monday, the first round to feature live coverage on the Golf Channel. The network will be live from Scottsdale from 4:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Live scoring is being updated on a hole-by-hole basis at golfstat.com.
The match play quarterfinals and semifinals will be on Tuesday, with Golf Channel coverage from Noon-2:30 and 4:30-10:00 p.m. The championship match will be held on Wednesday and televised live from 4:30-10:00 p.m. ET.