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May 9, 2002

BATON ROUGE, La. – The 21st-ranked South Carolina women’s golf team carded a 10-over 298 team score Thursday and stands in ninth place after 18 holes at the NCAA East Regional at the University Club. Florida shot a two-under 286 and has a one-stroke lead over top-ranked Auburn with the Lady Gamecocks just one stroke back of the all-important eighth place.

The second round gets underway at 9 a.m. (ET) Friday. After Saturday’s final round, the top eight teams and three individuals from non-qualifying teams will advance to the NCAA Championships, May 21-24, in Auburn, Wash.

South Carolina, coming off a record-shattering performance in capturing the SEC Championships two weeks ago, put together a solid round, but unlike the SECs, had no individual shoot at or below par. The top Carolina finisher through 18 holes is senior Reetta Laakkonen, who had a two-over 74 after going four-over par on the final six holes. Laakkonen and sophomore Marci Robinson are tied for 28th place while sophomore Adrienne Gautreaux and junior All-American and two-time defending SEC champion Kristy McPherson are tied for 43rd after carding three-over 75 scores. Rounding out the Carolina contingent is junior Kacy Thompson, who fired a eight-over 78.

In the team competition, the Lady Gamecocks stand 12 strokes out of first place in a remarkably-tight field. Florida shot a 286 and leads Auburn by one stroke. South Florida (289), Duke (291) and Wake Forest (293) round out the top five. South Carolina and Furman are tied for ninth place at 10-over 298 and are just one stroke back of eighth-place and host Louisiana State.

Individually LSU’s Meredith Duncan, South Florida’s Jameica Duncombe and North Carolina’s Beth Lever all scorched the course for a four-under 68 to share first-place honors through 18 holes. Florida’s Whitney Code, Furman’s Jennifer Perri and Auburn’s Celeste Troche are tied for fourth place at three-under 69 as the top 20 golfers Thursday had scores at or below par. Carolina’s Laakkonen and Robinson are six strokes off the lead at 74.


T  1  South Carolina      298T28   Reetta Laakkonen     74T28   Marci Robinson     74T43   Adrienne Gautreaux     75T43   Kristy McPherson     75T67   Kacy Thompson   78