SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The No. 11-ranked Georgia women’s golf team posted a 12-over 300 in Sunday’s third round of the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club. The Bulldogs wrap up the tournament in 18th place, Georgia’s 27th top-20 finish at the national championships over the last 43 years.
“It’s something we’ve got to build on,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “It’s been five years since Georgia women’s golf has been here. We need to become a staple at the national championships. You’ve got to take the right steps I guess is the way you have to look at it. In a lot of sports it happens that way. It’s a step we’re here and disappointed we finished 18th. We feel like we have a team that was capable of competing for a national title. We’re disappointed, but we’re young. We’ve got to do a lot of work over the next 365 days to extend next season by three more days.”
Sophomore Caterina Don led the Bulldogs on Sunday with an even-par 72. Georgia’s other three counting tallies were a trio of 76s from Jenny Bae, Isabella Holpfer and Candice Mahé.
Don’s day featured six pars, six birdies and six bogeys. The Bulldogs teed off from No. 10 on Sunday and Don opened with a trio of birdies at No. 10, No. 12 and No. 14. She bogeyed No. 15 and No. 16 before an additional birdie at No. 18 put her 2-under at the turn. Don bogeyed No. 1 and No. 6 to move back to even before a birdie at No. 7. She bogeyed No. 9 to complete her loop.
“I am satisfied with my round, but on the other side disappointed because we came here to play on Tuesday and we’re going home on Sunday,” Don said. “It’s not what we wanted. I played good today, but it’s still a team event so it’s more about the team than myself.”
Georgia wavered above and below the 15-team cut line for Monday much of the day. The Bulldogs were 1-under as a team through the first five holes before dropping six shots over No. 16 and No. 17. Georgia’s hopes of advancing took a blow just after the turn as the Bulldogs played Nos. 1-3 at 8-over. Georgia dropped to 23rd on the leaderboard before a combined six birdies at No. 7 and No. 8 brought the Bulldogs back into the top 20.
“We fight,” Brewer said. “That’s one thing we take a lot of pride in. We try to finish any thing we do as well as we possibly can. We could’ve kind of just given up, quite honestly, because we knew where we stood. We battled and tried to make as many birdies as we could. In football terms, we needed a Hail Mary and an onside kick and a Hail Mary and an onside kick coming in. We just had some rushing touchdowns and didn’t get an onside kick.”
No. 6 Stanford continued its dominance on the team and individual leaderboards. The Cardinal are 18-under entering Monday’s final round of stroke play, 20 shots ahead of No. 2 Duke in second. Stanford’s Rachel Heck and Angelina Ye are 1-2 in the individual field at 10- and 5-under, respectively.
For Georgia, Bae finished tied for 59th at 224, Mahé tied for 70th at 225, Don tied for 82nd at 227, Holpfer tied for 97th at 230 and Jo Hua Hung tied for 117th at 235.
The Bulldogs’ lineup in Arizona featured two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. In addition, sophomores Caroline Craig and Céleste Dao were relative regulars in the lineup this season as well. Georgia will add LoraLie Cowart, who won the GHSA Class 6A state title for Carrollton High School last week, to the roster in the fall.
“We have a good team, and we’re excited to get back in August,” Don said. “We’ll have a good team with the people who were here and the people we have at home and we’ll get ready for another run at an SEC, Regional and national championship. We’ll hopefully get our revenge on this same golf course next year.”
“We won a Regional championship and competed at the national championships,” Brewer said. “We’ve got people who have played U.S Opens and Augusta National Women’s Ams. We’ve just got to continue to build on the momentum. It’s definitely there. We have the right pieces in place. You look back and there are a lot of great things that happened this year. At the same time, we also know we want to finish higher than 18th at the national championships so we’ve got to do better next year at this time.”
NCAA Women’s Golf Championships
Grayhawk Golf Club
Par 72; 6384 Yards
Sunday’s Third-Round Standings
Oklahoma State 297-289-282=868
Ole Miss 296-291-288=875
Arizona State 300-291-286=877
Wake Forest 292-293-295=880
Florida State 298-285-298=881
South Carolina 312-288-287=887
Michigan State 301-294-303=898
Kent State 292-310-297=899
Virginia Tech 302-304-300=906
Southern Cal 307-300-300=907
Rachel Heck, Stanford 69-67-70=206
Angelina Ye, Stanford 77-69-65=211
Ashley Menne, Arizona St. 76-72-65=213
Emma Spitz, UCLA 72-70-71=213
Gina Kim, Duke 74-67-72=213
Maja Stark, Oklahoma St. 78-69-68=215
Brooke Seay, Stanford 75-71-69=215
Julia Johnson, Ole Miss 73-71-71=215
Phoebe Brinker, Duke 73-70-72=215
Sara Kouskova, Texas 74-70-72=216
Briana Chacon, Oregon 71-72-73=216
Lauren Hartlage, Louisville 73-68-75=216
T59. Jenny Bae 75-73-76=224
T70. Candice Mahé 73-76-76=225
T82. Caterina Don 78-77-72=227
T97. Isabella Holpfer 81-73-76=230
T118. Jo Hua Hung 82-73-80=235