MEDINAH, Ill. — The No. 20-ranked Georgia women’s golf team shot the second-best tournament score in school history en route to winning the Illini Invitational and Medinah Country Club on Tuesday. The Bulldogs wrapped up the 54-hole event at 15-under 849, tying with Louisville atop the team leaderboard.
Georgia’s golfers played approximately 25 holes on Tuesday, finishing Monday’s second round, which was suspended due to the weather, and then immediately playing the final round. The entire tournament was played under a shotgun format, with pairings remaining the same for all three rounds.
“It was hard today, with everyone starting in different places with a shotgun start and the golf course playing under very different conditions for everyone,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “Then, you’re not sure who’s keeping live scoring and if it’s correct. You just play as well as you can and hope for the best.
“I think we were the one team in the field that was up around first or second for the entire tournament,” Brewer added. “Both days, everyone was chasing us. Everyone was chasing us from the moment we teed off to the final putt. With the shotgun start, which was what had to happen under these circumstances, we didn’t get to look the people in the eye we were competing against. I think we would’ve enjoyed that, but at the same time, a win’s a win.”
Georgia wrapped up the second round with a 3-under 288 team total. The Bulldogs counted a pair of 2-under 70s from Isabella Holpfer and Caroline Craig, a 72 from Jo Hua Hung and a 73, the score posted by both Jenny Bae and Caterina Don.
That left the Bulldogs in second place, a shot behind Purdue.
Craig paced Georgia in the final round with a 3-under 69, while Hung added a 70, Holpfer shot 71 and Don fired a 72.
Of Georgia’s 12 counting rounds during the tournament, 11 were par-or-better scores.
Overall Holpfer tied for sixth individually at 5-under 211, five shots behind medalist Emily Price of Kent State. Craig and Hung both tied for 13th at 3-under 213, Don tied for 25th at 1-under 215 and Bae tied for 42nd at 219. Zoë Walker, who was competing as an individual, also tied for 42nd after shooting a career-low 1-under 71 in the final round.
Louisville closed with an 11-under 277 to tie the Bulldogs late in the day. Following the Bulldogs and Cardinals at 849 and rounding out the top-10 teams were Purdue at 850, LSU at 853, San Jose State at 854, Kent State and Illinois both at 858, Maryland and No. 16 Texas Tech both at 865 and No. 21 Oklahoma at 866.
“Hats off to Louisville,” Brewer said. “They played great today. We’re a seasoned team, and we know how to handle ourselves under pressure. We would’ve liked the chance to play with the other leaders today to see if we could have put some pressure on them but that just wasn’t the case.”
The win represented the Bulldogs’ 15 team title during Brewer’s 10 seasons in Athens and the 96th all-time for Georgia. The 15-under effort fell four strokes shy of the school record of 19-under 845 at the 2016 Annika Intercollegiate.
Georgia was scheduled to fly from Chicago to San Francisco on Tuesday evening. The Bulldogs will compete in the Stanford Intercollegiate this Friday-Sunday in their final tournament of the 2021 calendar.
“Everyone has worked hard, and they’re all willing to listen,” Brewer said. “We think we have a special group this season. We know we’re building for what’s coming next April and May, but we have lots of tournaments before then when we can create some neat memories from this season. We know the ultimate prizes are at the end of the season, and we want to make sure we’re ready for SECs and then Scottsdale (for the NCAA Championships).”