April 15, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina is proud to welcome student-athletes, coaches and fans from all 12 Southeastern Conference member schools to the 2009 SEC Women’s Golf Championship, which runs Friday, April 17, through Sunday, April 19, at Cobblestone Park in Blythewood, S.C. Tee times will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday and at 8 a.m. Sunday. The tournament is free and open to the public.
South Carolina will be looking to take advantage of playing on its home course as the Gamecocks seek their second SEC title. Last season, the Gamecocks held steady in the final round to take a fifth-place finish at Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, Tenn. The Gamecocks shot their tournament-best round of 296 (+8) on the final day to finish with a total of 915. Then-sophomore Benedicte Toumpsin turned in three straight rounds of 72 to finish in third place at even par, the best South Carolina finish since Kristy McPherson’s back-to-back SEC titles in 2001 and 2002.
Florida is the defending SEC Champion after claiming their eighth team title at Tennessee National last year. The 2008 championship saw the Gators fire an 874 to run away with the team title, 17 shots ahead of runner-up Arkansas. The Razorbacks’ Stacy Lewis won her second individual conference crown with a score of 214 (-2).
This year marks the second time that South Carolina has played host to the SEC Women’s Championship. The previous championship contested at Cobblestone Park (then known as the University Club) came in the 1997 season when Georgia captured its seventh league title with a score of 899. That year, the Bulldogs’ Shauna Estes won the first of her two SEC individual medals with a score of 215. Now known as Shauna Estes-Taylor, the native of Orangeburg, S.C., returns to Cobblestone Park this year as head coach at the University of Arkansas.
Resting on 240 acres of rolling hills, there are three distinct nines, proudly named the Garnet, Black and Gold in honor of the course’s affiliation with USC. The SEC Championship will be played on the Garnet and Black nines, and the course will play at par 71, 6,204 yards. The wide landing areas and strategically placed bunkers are lined with majestic oaks and pines. The natural elevation provides some of the highest points in Richland County, offering panoramic views. By design, the course co-exists with the environment making the serenity of nature present throughout. The large, undulating greens are consistently smooth and fast and are well-protected by bunkers and collection areas.
In their 18th season in the SEC, South Carolina has captured one SEC Championship (2002), one runner-up finish (1995) and four finishes of third place (1992, 1993, 1996, 2001). The last time the championship was at Cobblestone Park, the Gamecocks finished fourth out of the 12 teams with a score of 910 and got a pair of sixth-place finishes from Camila Faaborg-Andersen and Rebekah Lee.
South Carolina’s lineup will include juniors Benedicte Toumpsin, Taylor Barrett and Corrine Carr and freshmen Katie Burnett and Cayci Ruppe. Toumpsin and Barrett both played in last year’s event as Toumpsin was third at even par and Barrett finished 14th with a 226 (+10).
Tee times run from 8:30-10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 8-9:30 a.m. Sunday. An awards ceremony will follow the conclusion of play Sunday afternoon. Live scoring, tee times and results will be available at golfstat.com.