ATHENS, G.A.— The Georgia women’s golf team came up painfully short of its third win over a top-10 team in a two-day span on Sunday, March 29th, 2015. The Bulldogs fell to No. 1 Southern California in a tiebreaker in the Liz Murphey final after the two teams finished match play at 2.5-2.5.
Each team won two matches, while the fifth match halved. Southern California won because the margin of victory in its two wins was larger than in Georgia’s in its two.
The 75th-ranked Bulldogs tied for seventh in Friday’s stroke play-qualifying to earn a spot in a stacked eight-team championship bracket featuring six top-10 teams. Georgia defeated No. 3 South Carolina Saturday morning and then topped No. 9 Northwestern in the afternoon to reach Sunday’s final.
“I think Friday was huge, just to make the top eight,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “We were borderline, but our hard work finally paid of. After that, we were able to just relax and play golf. I was really proud of the energy we showed out there. We were high-fiving each other. I know that’s weird in our sport, but I think they need that. It helps you get pumped up if you just three-putted or made a mistake. It makes it feel more like a team.”
On Sunday, Amy Lee gave Southern California a 1-0 lead by defeating Rocio Sanchez Lobato, 6-and-4. Lee made six birdies, including four on her final eight holes to close out the match.
“Ro played well today,” Brewer said. “Lee was amazing. That’s when you just have to tip your hat to someone and say ‘congrats.’ ”
Georgia surged to a 2-1 lead with a 2-and-1 victory by Harang Lee followed shortly thereafter by a 3-and-2 win by Manuela Carbajo Ré.
“It felt great to tie, but we didn’t get the trophy,” Carbajo Ré said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t win the tiebreaker. I enjoyed the surroundings. I enjoyed the course. I enjoyed the weather. I enjoyed the people watching and cheering for us. We didn’t win, but it was a positive weekend for us.”
USC’s Annie Park, who won the NCAA individual title while leading the Women of Troy to a team national title at the UGA Golf Course two years ago, won No. 18 to pull all-square and halve her match with Sylvie Brick.
Shortly thereafter, Kyung Kim, another member of the 2013 NCAA Championship team, birdied No. 17 to secure a 2-up decision over Sammi Lee.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t win but the weekend was a very good for us as a team,” Sammi Lee said. “We believe in ourselves 100 percent, we believe in each other and Josh believes in us. To be shooting the scores we have been recently and to have it unfold the way it has made it hard to keep believing we had it in us. But we proved it out there today. We were just as good as those kids. We didn’t win, but we deserve a spot with them.”
Ironically, the same tiebreaker that awarded Southern California the Liz Murphey title was the same one Georgia used a day earlier to defeat Northwestern.
The Bulldogs will hope to carry over the momentum from this weekend at the Seton Hall Pirate Invitational later this week. Georgia will travel Tuesday and compete on the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N.J., on Thursday and Friday, April 2nd and 3rd, 2015.