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Sept. 12, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s golf begins its 2008-09 campaign Sun., Sept. 14, at the Cougar Classic at Yeamans Hall Golf Club in Hanahan, S.C. The Gamecocks will face tough competition as six of the 22 teams are ranked in the Golfweek Preseason Top 25. Led by juniors Bénédicte Toumpsin and Taylor Barrett, the Gamecocks will look to better their sixth-place finish in last year’s event.

“We’re looking forward to kicking off the season close to home in Charleston,” said South Carolina head coach Kalen Anderson. “Yeamans Hall will be a good challenge for the entire field. The team has been working hard to prepare, and we are all excited to finally start competing.”

Toumpsin is the Gamecocks’ returning top scorer, toting a 74.03 stroke average last season. She earned All-America honors from the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) and Golfweek for her efforts in the 2007-08 season. Toumpsin fared well in this event last year, shooting 71 in the first and final rounds to finish fourth overall with a score of 215 (-1). It was the first of five top-five finishes for her in 2007-08.

Barrett looks to be a contender this season after a 14th-place finish at last year’s SEC Championship, where the Gamecocks took fifth place. Barrett was also busy over the summer as she participated in the U.S. Women’s Amateur where she fell in a playoff, narrowly missing the final spot in the match play bracket.

Meredith Taylor will begin her senior year after battling injuries in her first two seasons and making her collegiate debut in 2007-08. The highlight of her junior-year effort was a second-round 76 at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.

Two newcomers also look to make an impact in their Gamecock debuts. Corrine Carr, a junior transfer from Furman, and freshman Katie Burnett, the 2006 Georgia PGA Player of the Year, earned the final two spots in the season opener.

The Gamecocks are one of six Southeastern Conference teams in the field, joining No. 10 Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State, No. 13 LSU, Tennessee and No. 9 Georgia. The field also features three other teams from the Palmetto State in Furman, Charleston Southern, and tournament host College of Charleston. Florida State, Maryland, Miami, UNC Greensboro, No. 20 North Carolina, NC State, No. 22 Notre Dame, Richmond, South Florida, Tulane, No. 14 Virginia and Wisconsin round out the field.