ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia women’s golf team has signed five prospects – three international standouts and two Georgia natives – to join the program in the future, head coach Josh Brewer announced on Friday. Celeste Dao from Canada, Caterina Don from Italy and Jo-Hua Hung from Taiwan have inked letters-of-intent with Georgia, as have Jenny Bae from Roswell and Caroline Craig from Sautee Nachoochee.
“It started as a couple (of recruits) as we were planning on replacing our current senior class and it just kind of continued to grow,” Brewer said. “A lot of credit goes to the golfers we’ve had who have made this a very attractive destination to play college golf. When you have some of the best players in the state of Georgia and around the world who want to come, you figure out how to do it. It just says a lot about where the program is currently and what the future holds.”
Bae and Hung will join the Bulldogs in January and be immediately eligible for the spring season.
“I expect them in the lineup instantly just based on their résumés and what they’ve already accomplished,” Brewer said.
Hung, who is from New Taipei City, Taiwan, has competed in 53 events over the past three years, recording seven victories and posting 26 top-10 finishes. Most recently, she has made the cut in three professional tournaments, including a 24th-place showing at the Taiwan Open. In 2017, she played in five tournaments in the U.S., winning the Folds of Honor Junior hosted by Bob Estes and securing two more top-10 finishes.
“Jo-Hua loves golf and loves to compete in tournaments,” Brewer said. “Much like signing (current freshman) Harmie (Constantino), it speaks volumes that Georgia is attractive all around the world. She’s played the Australian Open as an amateur and represented Taiwan in the World Team Championships. She brings a wealth of experience. It will be great to have her in the spring and help the squad immediately.”
Bae was named the Georgia Class 7A Player of the Year after winning medalist honors at the state tournament for Collins Hill High School. She also won the 2018 Georgia Junior Championship in record fashion. Bae shot a tourney record 9-under 207 and led wire-to-wire en route to a 10-stroke victory. She also helped Georgia win both the 2018 Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match and the 2018 Women’s Southeastern Challenge Match against teams from Alabama and Florida.
“We’ve tried to do it every year,” Brewer said. “If the fit is right, we try to keep the top player or top two players in Georgia to represent their state university. Jenny has been committed for a long time. Jenny has also been number one in the state for a long time, and it’s exciting to have her in Athens to continue the legacy of Georgia players having success as Bulldogs.”
Dao, Don and Craig will join the Bulldogs in the fall for the 2019-20 campaign as freshmen.
Dao has enjoyed a stellar 2018 campaign, headlined by appearances in the U.S. Women’s Open and the Canadian Women’s Open this year. A native of Notre-Dame L’lle Perrot, Quebec, she earned a spot in the U.S. Open field by earning medalist honors at a qualifying event on Cape Cop, Mass. Dao also won the Canadian Junior Girls’ Championship and the Mexican Junior Girls’ Championship and finished fifth individually at the World Junior Girls’ Championship in 2018.
“Celeste has played in the U.S. Open and the Canadian Open in the same the year, which is an incredible achievement,” Brewer said. “Her golf game, since I’ve known her, continues to improve every year. Not even every year, but kind of every three months she becomes better and better. It’s kind of exciting to have signed someone that’s already good but continues to improve. On top of that, she is from just a wonderful family who loves the game of golf.”
Don, who is from Turin, also has enjoyed a strong season in 2018, one that has vaulted her to No. 56 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. She finished sixth individually to help lead Italy to team title at the World Junior Girls’ Championship in September. Don also helped Italy capture the 2018 Girls’ Team Championship, going 5-0 in the match play portion of the competition. She won the 2017 and 2018 Italian U18 Match Play Championships and finished fifth at the 2018 Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship.
“Caterina been a part of some very good Italian teams that have brought home gold medals and won European team championships on top of her individual accomplishments,” Brewer said. “She has competed all over the world in top-notch competitions with great success. We’re extremely excited to have someone join us who’s as accomplished individually and as a team player.”
Craig was honored as the Georgia State Golf Association’s Girls’ Junior of the Year in 2017. She also captured medalist honors at the 2017 Georgia Class 4A State Tournament competing for White County High School. Craig has six top-10 finishes in AJGA events over the past three years, including a runner-up showing at the 2016 AJGA JAS Core Academy at PGA National.
“Caroline has been a key driver and force of putting this class together because she is kind of the ring leader,” Brewer said. “She’s loves golf but also loves the team aspect and wants the program to have the best four years it’s ever had while she’s here. She’s a hard worker and will be a valuable contributor on and off the golf course for us.”
The entire class was together in Athens for their official visits at Georgia’s football game versus Tennessee in September.
“The one thing that stood out to me when they made their official visit was I took them on the football field and I told them you only get back down here for special things,” Brewer said “That’s been a running joke in our messages with each other. They know they’ve got to win a title to get back ‘Between the Hedges.’ They’re already talking about it like ‘Let’s get back to the field.’ That’s now their motto as a recruiting class and a group.”