After the Fall 2019 college golf season, four of Georgia’s six Division 1 women’s teams were ranked among the top 75 nationally, with Georgia the highest ranked at No. 38.
GEORGIA played a strong Fall schedule, with a third place in Portland, Ore., the team’s only finish better than sixth. The Bulldogs were led by Caterina Don, a freshman from Italy, who comes into the Spring as the 17thranked player nationally by Golfstat.
Don won her college debut in Minnesota and added two more top-5 finishes in four Fall starts. The only other Georgia golfer with a top 15 finish was Caroline Craig of Sautee Nacoochee, who tied for fourth in her first college start in Minnesota.
Craig was only in the starting lineup for two of Georgia’s four Fall tournaments, and the team’s roster will get deeper for the Spring with the addition of freshman Candice Mahe of France, like Don a top internationally ranked amateur. Both Don and Mahe have been invited to compete in the 2020 Augusta national Women’s Invitational, along with 2020-21 Georgia signee Isabella Holpfer of Austria.
Georgia’s No. 2 player in the Fall was sophomore Jo Hua Hung from Taiwan, whose top finish in four starts was a tie for 17th. Canada’s Celeste Dao was the third Bulldog to start in all four tournaments, with a top finish of 22nd.
Jenny Bae, a sophomore from Lawrenceville, made three Fall starts and turned in solid showings in the team’s final two events at Stanford and in the Bahamas.
With the addition of Mahe for the Spring and Holpfer next season, the Bulld0gs are looking to return to national prominence after more than a decade of mostly disappointing season finishes. Georgia won the 2001 NCAA Championship, but has captured the SEC title just once since (2007), and has not been a factor in the NCAA Championship since 2008.
Georgia’s Spring schedule begins Feb. 9 in Puerto Rico, and includes stops in California and Arizona, along with an event hosted by Darius Rucker on Hilton Head Island. The Bulldogs will host the annual Liz Murphey Collegiate March 20-22 and will compete in the SEC Championship beginning August 15 in Birmingham. Georgia will also serve as a host of an NCAA Regional at the UGA course May 11-13.
AUGUSTA is the state’s next highest ranked team at 52, with a sixth place finish in Knoxville in the Jaguars’ Fall opener their best showing. The team features an all-international lineup, with players from Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and two from Spain.
Linda Lundqvist, a senior from Sweden, was the team’s top player in the Fall with a trio of top-25 finishes. Junior Teresa Diez-Moliner of Spain notched a pair of ties for 20th, and freshman Maria Villanueva, also from Spain, joined Lundqvist with a trio of top 25s. Charlotte Alran, a senior from Switzerland, has started since her freshman season, with Thailand’s Napabhach Boon-In starting all four tournaments in the Fall.
Augusta’s women’s team plays as an independent, and has qualified for the NCAA Regionals seven times in the past nine seasons. The Jaguars open their Spring schedule in Puerto Rico Feb. 9, and also play in the Liz Murphey in Athens. The team will host the Valspar Augusta Invitational March 14-15 at Forest Hills and closes out the Spring March 27-29 at Clemson.
KENNESAW STATE competed in the Spring with a 5-player roster and had middle-of-the-pack finishes in two of its three starts, placing sixth in its final Fall start in Mississippi. The Owls were ranked 62ndafter the Fall.
Clara Aveling, a senior from Belgium, is the team’s only returning player from last season, with junior college transfer Tal Anudit from Thailand the team’s top player in the Fall with a pair of top-25 finishes, including a tie for 14that Mississippi’s Old Waverly Club.
Indonesia’s Neva Schmit, one of three freshman starters, had the Owls’ best Fall finish, tying for eighth in her college debut in Colorado. She was tied for second after the first round in Mississippi, but was disqualified in the final round.
The team’s other two freshman starters were Chatsworth’s Tori Owens and Australia’s Bella Kil. The Owls will add Alizee Vidal, a freshman from France, for the Spring.
Kennesaw State plays a busy Spring schedule, with two tournaments in Florida and one each in Texas, Hawaii, Alabama and Mississippi. They will play in the Atlantic Sun Championship April 19-21 at Chateau Elan.
MERCER closed out its Fall schedule with a runner-up finish in an event hosted by the Bears at Idle Hour. The team’s next best showing was a tie for sixth in Missouri, with the Bears ending the Fall ranked 75thnationally.
The Bears’ starting lineup includes a pair of seniors from metro Atlanta – Payton Schanen and Lauren Lightfritz, both 4-year starters. Schanen was the team’s top player in the Fall, recording four top 25s in five starts, highlighted by a tie for fourth in the finale at Idle Hour, capped by a final round 67. Lightfritz also had her best showing at Idle Hour, tying for 18th.
Mercer’s third Georgia starter is Macon sophomore Carol Pyon, who had solid showings in four of the team’s five tournaments, including finishes of 15thand 11thin her last two starts.
Junior Laila Hrindova, a junior from Slovakia, also had her best tournament at Idle Hour, tying for third. Tracy Rodriguez, a freshman from France, was Mercer’s fifth starter throughout the Fall.
Senior Tiffany Kim, a teammate of Lightfritz at Lambert in Forsyth County, will compete for playing time this Spring along with Roswell freshman Emily Haigwood.
Mercer begins its Spring schedule by hosting the Reynolds Lake Oconee Invitational at the Landing course Feb. 21-23. The Bears will also host the Brickyard Collegiate in Macon April 6-7 before traveling to Hilton Head for the Southern Conference Championship April 18-20.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN enjoyed a successful Fall, placing third in three of four tournaments, including a 16-team event at Idle Hour in Macon.
The Eagles were led by senior Ella Ofstedahl from England and freshman Alberte Thuesen of Denmark. Ofstedahl, the medalist in the conference championship last season, finished 21stor better in all four Fall events, highlighted by a tie for first at Idle Hour, one of her two top 10s. Thuesen had three top 10s in four starts, including a pair of sixth place showings. Junior Sarah Noonan, a third year starter, posted a pair of top 25s, with a season best finish of 15th.
Sophomores Savannah Satterfield of Chatsworth and Emma Bell of Braselton saw limited playing time as freshmen, but both made three starts in the Fall, with Satterfield tying for 11thin the Eagles’ season opener in North Carolina.
Julianna Collett of St. Simons, whose career at Georgia Southern has been hampered by injury, tied for 21stin Florida in her lone start, withdrawing after one round at Idle Hour. Collett has started in each of her first three seasons, and has been granted an extra year of eligibility after missing half her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Other than a tournament in Arizona, the Eagles will stick close to home this Spring, with their first two tournaments in the Jacksonville area and two in Georgia. They play at Forest Hills in Augusta March 14-15 and at Eagle’s Landing in Stockbridge March 29-31 in an event hosted by Georgia State. The Sun Belt Championship is scheduled for April 20-22 in Daytona Beach.
GEORGIA STATE closed out the Fall with a tie for seventh at Idle Hour in Macon, the Panthers’ best showing in four starts.
Sophomores Emma Berlin (Sweden) and Maria Blasco (Spain), who both played extensively as freshmen, started the Fall with top-20 finishes in Mobile, with Berlin turning in solid efforts in the final two events.
Lawrenceville senior Harmanprit Kaur closed out the Fall with a tie for 18that Idle Hour after not playing in the previous event, the first time in her four years at Georgia State she has missed a tournament.
Chloe Howard, a three-year starter from England, and freshman Jenny Marston from Thailand both competed in all four Fall tournaments, but the team’s five Fall starters will be challenged for playing time by transfer Kelly Strickland, who was on the team at Kansas last fall as a freshman. Strickland played in high school at South Forsyth.
Georgia State opens in Spring schedule Feb. 17-18 in Jacksonville, and closes out the 2019-20 regular season March 29-31 with the annual John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate at Eagle’s Landing, The Panthers play in the Sun Belt Championship April 20-22 in Daytona Beach.