ATHENS, G.A. — Georgia junior Manuela Carbajo Ré fired a 2-under 70 in the second round of the Lady Bulldog Individual Championship on Saturday en route to securing medalist honors at the UGA Golf Course. The third annual tournament was a one-day, 36-hole event that kicked off the 2015 calendar portion of Georgia’s season.
Carbajo Ré shot 76 in the morning round before her 2-under loop in the afternoon to finish at 2-over 146, two shots better than runner-up Emmie Pietila of Tennessee.
“I didn’t know I had won. I had no clue,” Carbajo Ré said. “It was really surprising and I’m really, really happy because it’s my first tournament win here at UGA. I think I would have cried had I known. I was really surprised.”
Carbajo Ré teed off from No. 2 with the shotgun start in both rounds. In the afternoon, she birdied No. 3, bogeyed No. 8 and posted back-to-back birdies at No. 9 and No. 10 before recording nine straight pars.
“My ball-striking was better than in the morning,” Carbajo Ré said. “I tried to keep calm during the whole day. I wasn’t expecting to win. I was playing to have fun. Even if I made a bogey or a double, I wasn’t angry. I was just trying to enjoy the beautiful day and play the 36 holes. I was thinking about the present.”
“It’s exciting. It’s what you dream of when you host a tournament, to get a win,” head coach Josh Brewer said.
“It was all coaching,” Brewer joked. “Truthfully, with all nine golfers on the course, I think I saw ‘Manu’ hit two shots today. During the last week of practice, I could see her ball-striking was getting a lot better. If she continues to play like she played today, she could be in contention on a consistent basis.”
All nine Bulldogs competed in the tournament, which also served as qualifying rounds for Georgia’s five spots in the lineup for next weekend’s Lady Puerto Rico Classic. All told, Bulldog golfers recorded three top-10 and six top-20 finishes on the day.
Harang Lee tied for sixth at 156, Amira Alexander tied for ninth at 157, Rocio Sanchez Lobato and Mary Ellen Shuman both tied for 16th at 161, Isabella Skinner tied for 19th at 163, Sammi Lee tied for 25th at 165, Isa Silva Zamora tied for 40th at 175 and Sylvie Brick tied for 45th at 180.
“I expected the morning to be a little jittery because we hadn’t teed it up in nearly four months,” Brewer said. “It’s a good sign when the afternoon rounds were so much better. It would have been a pretty good team score. That’s really why we came up with this tournament a couple of years ago. We need to know now where everyone is before we go to Puerto Rico.
“I think you saw them start to have more fun in the afternoon,” Brewer continued. “It’s not all unicorns and rainbows, but you have to enjoy it. We work so hard all week. When you get to tee it up and wear Georgia gear and have fans out here, that’s a fun experience. It’s just like Coach (Mark) Fox with the basketball team or Coach (Mark) Richt with the football team. When you finally get to go out there on a Saturday and play in front of your friends and family, you have to enjoy it. That’s something we’re going to preach. We push hard and it’s not so much fun during practice. We need to enjoy and appreciate when we get to play tournament golf.”
The Puerto Rico tournament will be Georgia’s first team event of the spring campaign. Fifteen teams will compete in the 54-hole event on Sunday-Tuesday at Wyndham Rio Mar Resort and Country Club.