Athens, Ga. — The No. 6-ranked Georgia women’s golf team finished third in the 48th annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, which wrapped up at the UGA Golf Course on Sunday. The Bulldogs closed with a 2-over 290 to complete play at 8-over 782, eight shots back of Auburn on the leaderboard.
“First of all, we made it through the fall season,” head coach Josh Brewer said enthusiastically. “To make it through all three tournaments to me speaks to the discipline not only in our program but the programs throughout the SEC. There were guidelines that we all were asked to follow and were willing to do. That’s the first positive.
“As far as this weekend, we wanted to win,” Brewer continued. “That’s hard in our sport, though. This was basically an SEC Championship minus a couple of schools. Hat’s off to Auburn for the victory.”
Caroline Craig was Georgia’s top individual finisher, carding a career-best, even-par 216 tally en route to tying for seventh place. Craig has now notched top-10 performances in seven tournament appearances in her two seasons as a Bulldog.
“Caroline played well in all three rounds in her first event of the fall,” Brewer said. “That’s a very bright spot.”
Three of the Bulldogs’ counting scores on Sunday were par-or-better efforts, with Caterina Don posting a 1-under 71 and Jenny Bae and Craig both shooting 72. Georgia also counted a 75 from Jo Hua Hung and dropped Isabella Holpfer’s 77.
Céleste Dao and Candice Mahe both shot 74 to lead Georgia’s Black team in the final round. Gabriela Coello’s 75 and Zoë Walker’s 78 closed out the counting tallies for the Black squad, which finished 12th overall after closing with a 301.
Don mixed a quartet of birdies – at No. 2, No. 3, No. 6 and No. 8 – with a bogey at No. 7 and four pars to turn at 3-under. She double-bogeyed No. 10 before posting eight straight pars to finish at 1-under on the day.
“I started really good today,” Don said. “The first few holes at UGA are really hard and making a bunch of birdies early gave me a bunch of confidence. I did make a mistake along the way, but I was able to finish good in the wind. We knew as a team we had a lot of strokes to get back, and we tried our best.”
Bae birdied No. 2 but posted consecutive bogeys at No. 3 and No.4, turning at 1-over. She played the back side at 1-under, with a birdie at No. 13, a bogey at No. 15 and a birdie at No. 18 to close out her loop. In the process, she also notched her sixth par-or-better effort in nine fall rounds.
Craig’s front and back sides mirrored each other as well. She was 2-over at the turn with a lone birdie at No. 6 to go along with bogeys at No. 2, No 4 and No. 9. Consecutive birdies at No. 11 and No. 13 brought her to even. Craig bogeyed No. 16 but immediately regained that shot with a birdie at No. 17 before a closing par.
In addition to Craig’s effort for the Bulldogs, Bae and Holpfer tied for 19th at 220, Don tied for 22nd at 221, Dao tied for 24th at 222, Hung tied for 33rd at 224, Mahe tied for 38th at 225, Coello tied for 42nd at 226, Alison Crenshaw was 56th at 235 and Walker as 57th at 243.
“Most of us have never played the Liz before so it was the first home course experience for us,” Don said. “It’s still a pretty good result and hopefully we’ll have the chance to come back in the spring and show our best.”
The Bulldogs will enjoy a break from competition during the rest of November through January and expected to return to action in February. Later this week, Golfweek and Golfstat will release their final team and individual rankings for the fall season.
“We’re going to have a winning record against almost every SEC school going into the off season,” Brewer said. “That includes some teams that are top-5 in the country. There are a lot of positives, but still we have some work to do. We finished fifth, fifth and third. We want to try to win so we need to continue working and not just rest. Whatever our spring schedule looks like, we’ll be ready to compete.”