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Oct. 2, 2008

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina women’s golf team will face nine teams ranked in the latest Golfweek Top 25 this weekend as the 19th-ranked Gamecocks travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. for the Lady Tar Heel Invitational at the Finley Golf Course. The tournament kicks off a stretch of three events in four weeks for South Carolina.

“We’ve got a busy October ahead of us,” head coach Kalen Anderson said. “Everyone has been practicing well, and everybody is excited to get out there and compete. But we’ve got to take it one tournament at a time. This is a great golf course we’re playing; I played it numerous times when I was competing in college and always enjoyed it.”

Anderson will send out the same lineup that took home a seventh-place finish from the season-opening Cougar Classic in Charleston nearly three weeks ago. Senior Meredith Taylor, juniors Taylor Barrett, Corrine Carr and Bénédicte Toumpsin and freshman Katie Burnett will look to continue their strong play against another tough field.

Burnett, playing in her first collegiate tournament in Charleston, picked up an eighth-place finish in the individual standings with a 54-hole total of 213 (-3). A pair of 2-under 70s in the tournament’s first two rounds preceded a 73 in the final round to give her a top 10 finish in her initial collegiate outing.

Toumpsin matched Burnett’s 73 in the final round to finish in 11th place with a 1-under 215. The native of Belgium is the only returning South Carolina player that played in the Lady Tar Heel Invitational in 2007 where she finished in a tie for 31st place with a 224 (+8). The previous year in Chapel Hill, Toumpsin finished tied for 33rd with a 230 (+16).

Fellow junior Barrett closed strong at the Cougar Classic with a 74 (+2) and looks to improve on her 45th-place finish in the Gamecocks’ previous tournament. Barrett played in the Lady Tar Heel in her freshman year of 2006 and fought to a 77th-place finish at 243 (+27).

Carr, a native of North Carolina and a transfer from Furman, returns to her home state where she will compete against her former teammates for the second time in as many tournaments. The junior from Pinehurst improved as the Cougar Classic went along, opening with an 85 but shooting 76 (+4) in the final round.

Senior Meredith Taylor will compete in her fourth tournament in the Garnet and Black and look to improve on her 59th-place finish at the Cougar Classic. Taylor shot a career-best 74 (+2) in the opening round at Charleston.

Ten of the 18 competing teams, including the Gamecocks, are ranked in the latest Golfweek Top 25. No. 4 Tulsa, No. 6 Vanderbilt and No. 8 Virginia headline the field, followed by the host Tar Heels (12th), Auburn (13th), Florida State (14th), Kent State (20th), Michigan State (21st) and Wake Forest (22nd). Central Florida, Furman, Kentucky, Louisville, NC State, Ohio State, Texas A&M and UNC-Greensboro round out the field.

South Carolina has been a frequent participant in the Lady Tar Heel Invitational, having played in the event each of the last four years. The Gamecocks finished 13th last year with a score of 902 (+38).

UNC Finley Golf Course on the campus of the University of North Carolina is a par 72 layout that will play at 6,285 yards for the tournament. The course did not yield low numbers last year as Duke took the tournament title with a 13-over-par 877.

Teams will go off No. 1 and No. 10 tees beginning at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and play will begin with a shotgun start at 9:15 a.m. Sunday. South Carolina will be paired with Tulsa and NC State in Friday’s first round.

Round 1 – No. 10 Tee
10:30 a.m. – Corrine Carr
10:39 a.m. – Meredith Taylor
10:48 a.m. – Taylor Barrett
10:57 a.m. – Benedicte Toumpsin
11:06 a.m. – Katie Burnett