Oct. 23, 2008
COLUMBIA – South Carolina, fresh off a much-needed weekend off, will play its third tournament in four weeks as the Gamecock women’s golf team travels to Auburn, Ala., for The Derby Invitational, which runs Friday-Sunday at the Auburn University Club.
The Gamecocks will send out the same lineup that has played in all three tournaments thus far, with Benedicte Toumpsin, Meredith Taylor, Taylor Barrett, Corrine Carr and Katie Burnett making the trip to the Plains. In addition, the Gamecocks will have an individual competitor for the first time this season as Cayci Ruppe will make her initial start as a collegian.
Barrett and Toumpsin are two Gamecocks with experience in this tournament, having competed at The Derby in 2006. In the rain-shortened event, Barrett grabbed a career-best 14th-place finish with a 151 (+7). Toumpsin will look for better results after finishing 79th two years ago. Carr also competed in the same event in 2006 while a freshman at Furman, shooting a 157 to finish tied for 47th.
Toumpsin has been a rock for coach Kalen Anderson and the Gamecocks, gaining top-20 finishes in two of Carolina’s three tournaments thus far. She leads the team with a 73.67 stroke average through nine competitive rounds.
Burnett, a freshman from Brunswick, Ga., looks to get back on track after posting the hottest start for South Carolina with an eighth-place finish at the season-opening Cougar Classic, then another top-20 performance at the Lady Tar Heel Invitational.
Taylor and Burnett will be making their initial appearances at The Derby, as will Ruppe. A freshman from Gaffney, Ruppe was an all-state performer at Gaffney High School competing for the boys’ team and earned runner-up honors at the state tournament two years running.
The Derby, which has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s premiere collegiate tournaments, features a 17-team field again laden with the nation’s top teams. Four top-10 squads headline the field with No. 2 Arizona State, No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Alabama and No. 7 Virginia in attendance. Two other ranked SEC foes – No. 12 Auburn and No. 13 LSU – join Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State in bringing the total of SEC teams competing to eight of 12. Also competing will be Central Florida, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Furman, Kansas, Tulane and Chattanooga.
The Auburn University Club at Yarbrough Farms is a par-72, 6,301-yard layout. The Derby was not contested last season, but host Auburn has won the event the last two times it was played, in 2005 and 2006. The Gamecocks finished fifth in their last trip to Auburn in 2006.
Full information on the tournament, including tee times, will be available at auburntigers.com, and live scoring is available through golfstat.com.