ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 2-ranked Georgia football team won’t be the only group of Bulldogs playing at Vanderbilt this weekend. The No. 5-ranked women’s golf team will be competing in Vanderbilt’s Mason Rudolph Championship on Friday-Sunday.
The Bulldogs are one of five top-20 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings in the 54-hole tournament at Vanderbilt’s Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. No. 4 Florida, No. 10 Vanderbilt, No. 13 Clemson and No. 20 Mississippi State also are in the field along with Alabama, Auburn, Chattanooga, Kentucky, Louisville, Middle Tennessee, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oregon and Washington.
“We’re excited to compete,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “We’ll just try to maintain the same mindset and approach. I think it’s a golf course that it fits us and what we do. Right now, I would argue any course would fit us.”
Georgia finished fourth at its season opener 10 days ago, shooting 12-under 852 at the Cougar Classic in Charleston, S.C.
“We’re off to a very good start which was really no surprise because we had a great summer individually,” Brewer said. “Now it’s time to go to Nashville, and again, build on it and just put ourselves in the same position come the final day.”
The Cougar Classic featured 36 holes on Monday, with Georgia firing a combined 16-under score that gave the Bulldogs a five-stroke lead over the field. That day included a school-record 14-under, 274 score in the second round.
“I am very excited,” Caterina Don said. “Last week we started really well. We shot the school record. We didn’t play great the third round. I think we’re all eager to get and do what we did the first two rounds and show off.”
“I like the quick turnaround because I feel like I need a lot of competing to stay into it and get into it,” Isabella Holpfer said. “I feel like it’s good when I just came out of a competition and then right away go to the next one. Our success (in Charleston) for sure helps and it gives us a lot of confidence. We’re very motivated to do it again.”
Jenny Bae, who led the Bulldogs with a third place individual effort after shooting a career-best 8-under 208 in Charleston, will occupy the No. 1 spot in Georgia’s lineup. Bae enters the weekend ranked No. 5 individually by Golfweek. She will be joined by Caroline Craig, Holpfer, Don and Candice Mahé. In addition, Jo Hua Hung will compete as an individual.
Competition for the Bulldogs’ lineup remains intense after a summer when Georgia’s 10 golfers combined to post 24 top-10 finishes.
“As a coach, it’s nice,” Brewer said. “I feel for the players because they’re battling almost weekly to make the lineup and then have the success in the tournament to make sure they go the next week. But if you’re a competitor, it’s what you want. I mean, you dream of playing the tour and this is just one of the steps. If you make this lineup right now, it’s like making cuts at the professional level.”
Both Don and Holpfer used the short break between events wisely.
“It was a very quick turnaround,” Don said. “Honestly, I just tried to get my body ready again, get caught up with school. Then there were a few things I had to work on with my putting stroke and my putting mental game. It was a nice short break but really useful for me.”
“In Charleston, my long game was pretty good, so I just tried to keep that sharp and work a lot on my putting because it was fine in Charleston but definitely has room for improvement,” Holpfer said. “This weekend, I will just try to have fun, to trust the process, to commit to my shot and see what happens.”
Georgia will be competing in the Mason Rudolph for the first time since 2015. The Bulldogs had significant success at the event during eight appearances between 2003-15. Georgia won the Mason Rudolph team title in 2003 and also finished as runners-up in 2005 and 2006. Emilie Burger was the tournament’s medalist in 2012. Burger (now Emilie Meason) is currently the assistant coach for Vanderbilt’s women’s golf team.
Georgia will be paired with Louisville and Oregon for Friday’s opening round. The Bulldogs, Cardinals and Ducks will tee off from No. 1 in 10-minute increments between 11:10-11:50 a.m. ET. Hung will tee off from No. 10 at 10:35. Live scoring will be available on golfstat.com.