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May 21, 2002

AUBURN, Wash. – The 22nd-ranked South Carolina women’s golf team carded a 10-over 298 Tuesday and stands in a five-way tie for fourth place after one round of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships at the Washington National Golf Club. Seventh-ranked Arizona was the only team to shoot under par and has a nine-stroke lead over a pair of teams on the par 72, 6,424-yard course.

The second of four rounds gets underway at 11 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday. The Lady Gamecocks will tee off at 3:20 p.m. (EDT) from the No. 10 tee.

South Carolina, the reigning Southeastern Conference champions making a bid to improve on the school’s best finish ever in the NCAAs (9th in 1995), got solid play from a pair of individuals, including one who made a run late to key Carolina’s surge. Sophomore Adrienne Gautreaux was five-over par through 12 holes, but finished the final six holes at three-under to finish with a two-over 74 and in a tie for 30th place. The Lady Gamecocks were led by senior Reetta Laakkonen, who had two birdies, two bogies and 14 pars en route to an even-par 72 and a tie for 14th place after 18 holes.

South Carolina junior All-America Kristy McPherson played each nine at two-over par and finished Tuesday’s play in a tie for 55th place at four-over 76. Sophomore Marci Robinson survived a triple-bogey No. 9 hole and played the back nine at even par to also tie for 55th place at 76, while junior Kacy Thompson had a birdie on hole No. 17 and also finished tied with McPherson and Robinson at four-over 76.

The Lady Gamecocks, at 10-over 298 as a team, are in a five-way tie for fourth place with top-ranked Auburn, No. 16 California, No. 11 Florida and No. 20 Wake Forest. Seventh-rated Arizona easily had the best team score of the day (three-under 283) and has a nine-stroke lead over second-ranked Duke and No. 10 Georgia, each which fired a six-over 294 Tuesday. The field is amazingly tight in the top half as just one stroke separates nine teams as four teams – Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Stanford – are tied for ninth place at 11-over 299.

In the individual competition, Duke’s Virada Nirapathpongporn carded a four-under 68 and has a one stroke lead over Georgia’s Summer Sirmons, who had a 69 Tuesday. Sirmons’ teammate Angela Jerman is tied with six other golfers for third place at two-under 70. Unfortunately for the Lady Bulldogs, the remainder of the lineup featured a 75 and a pair of 80s, pushing Georgia nine strokes back of Arizona. South Carolina’s Laakkonen is at even-par 72 and just four strokes back of Nirapathpongporn for top honors.

South Carolina’s best finish ever at the NCAA Championships was ninth in the 1995 event in Wilmington, N.C. In that event, the Lady Gamecocks were as high as sixth place along the way with Tuesday’s fourth-place showing after 18 holes being the highest a Carolina team has ever placed at any point in the NCAA Championships.


 T4   South Carolina      298  298T14     Reetta Laakkonen   72   72T30     Adrienne Gautreaux   74   74T55     Kristy McPherson   76   76T55     Marci Robinson   76   76T55     Kacy Thompson     76   76