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March 26, 2006

Athens, Ga. – A final-round push helped lift the South Carolina women’s golf team to a sixth-place finish among a loaded field at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic played at the University of Georgia Golf Course. The Gamecocks fired the third-lowest score of any team in Sunday’s final round and finished the tournament with a three-round score of 317-309-301=927 (+63), 24 strokes behind tournament-winner Georgia. Carolina finished ahead of such teams as No. 9 Arkansas, No. 11 Vanderbilt, No. 19 Ohio State and No. 25 Washington.

The Gamecocks were led by Whitney Simons, who finished in a tie for 10th place on the individual leader board with a 76-75-74=225. Finishing at nine-over-par, Simons was only four strokes behind individual medalist Caroline Westrup of Florida State, who fired a 77-73-71=221 (+5). Simons’ performance was her best of the spring and marked her second top-10 finish of the 2005-06 season, as she finished in a tie for sixth at the Chrysler Invitational during the fall portion of the slate.

Junior Jenna Pearson finished in a tie for 30th with a 77-79-77=233 (+17), but one of the biggest reasons for Carolina’s improvement to sixth place was the improved play of senior Erica Battle, who overcame a shaky first round to finish in a tie for 35th with an 84-77-73=234 (+18). Battle’s final-round 73 was the lowest score of any Carolina player in Sunday’s final round and was the eighth-lowest score of any player in the field on Sunday. It also marked her second-lowest round of the 2005-06 season.

Sophomore Laura Raffo turned in one of the better tournament scores of her young career with an 80-78-77=235 (+19), good for a tie for 37th on the individual leader board, with senior Laura McCaslin rounding out the Carolina effort with an 85-83-84=252 (+36).

The Gamecocks are back in action next weekend, when they compete at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C.

Final Team Leader Board
1. Georgia: 301-302-300=903 (+39)
2. Auburn: 308-304-293=905 (+41)
3. Wake Forest: 298-310-302=910 (+46)
4. Florida State: 307-310-301=918 (+54)
5. Kent State: 311-305-307=923 (+59)
6. South Carolina: 317-309-301=927 (+63)
7. Ohio State: 314-307-307=928 (+64)
8. Washington: 312-309-308=929 (+65)
9. Arkansas: 324-309-301=934 (+70)
10. Vanderbilt: 305-310-320=935 (+71)
11. Michigan State: 316-313-307=936 (+72)
12. Alabama: 320-319-301=940 (+76)
13. Mississippi State: 320-325-312=957 (+93)
14. East Carolina: 332-315-312=959 (+95)
15. Furman: 334-325-305=964 (+100)
16. Oklahoma: 319-328-320=967 (+103)
17. Ole Miss: 324-333-315=972 (+108)
18. Coastal Carolina: 320-327-327=974 (+110)

Gamecocks on the Individual Leader Board
T10. Whitney Simons: 76-75-74=225 (+9)
T30. Jenna Pearson: 77-79-77=233 (+17)
T35. Erica Battle: 84-77-73=234 (+18)
T37. Laura Raffo: 80-78-77=235 (+19)
88. Laura McCaslin: 85-83-84=252 (+36)