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April 19, 2009

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – South Carolina junior Benedicte Toumpsin earned a runner-up finish at the SEC Women’s Golf Championships Sunday afternoon at Cobblestone Park Golf Club, firing a final-round 73 (+2) to finish at 214 (+1) for the tournament. As a team, the Gamecocks finished ninth at 897 (+45). Auburn took the team title with a score of 870 (+18).

Toumpsin, playing on the Gamecocks’ home course, shot a final-round 73 (+2) to hang on to second place overall, improving on her third-place finish at last year’s championship. The native of Belgium birdied her first hole, but managed three bogeys and 14 pars the rest of the way to finish at 214 (+1) for the tournament, one shot ahead of Georgia’s Mallory Hetzel (a South Carolina native) and four shots back of individual tournament champion Marta Silva of Georgia.

Several Gamecocks improved in their final round from their showing on Saturday. Freshman Katie Burnett completed a successful first appearance at the SEC Championship with a final-round 74 (+3) to finish at 226 (+13) overall, tied for 32nd place. Also in a tie for 32nd was junior Corrine Carr, who was one shot better on Sunday with a 76 (+5) to finish at 226 (+13) for the weekend. Junior Taylor Barrett improved each day of the tournament, carding a 75 (+4) to finish at 233 (+20) for the tournament in 44th place.

Silva took the individual title at 210 (-3), the only player to finish under par for the tournament. Silva never relinquished her second-round lead with an even-par round of 71 Sunday to earn the tournament title in her first appearance at the SEC Championship. The native of Spain had a steady final round with two birdies and two bogeys to become the seventh different Georgia Bulldog to win an individual conference crown.

Auburn fired a 1-over-par 285 in Sunday’s final round to capture the championship by eight strokes over Arkansas and Alabama. The Tigers led by six strokes after Friday’s first round, but struggled to a 296 (+12) on Saturday to fall out of the lead, three shots behind Arkansas. But the Razorbacks shot an identical score to Auburn’s second round on Sunday, and the Tigers responded with the best team round of the tournament to take their eighth SEC Tournament title and their third in five years.

Alabama and Arkansas tied for second place at 878 (+26) as the Razorbacks faltered from their 36-hole lead and Alabama was solid with a final-round 287 (+3). Tennessee finished fourth at 881 (+29), and LSU dropped two spots to finish in fifth place at 886 (+34).

The golf course played slightly tougher Sunday than on Saturday to a field average of 75.20, but still more forgiving than the 76.44 in Friday’s first round. The 408-yard, par-4 sixth hole played the toughest of any on the course this week, yielding only three birdies against 90 scores of bogey or worse. Overcast skies were the order of the day Sunday after abundant sunshine the first two days, but the rain managed to hold off.

South Carolina will now await bids for NCAA Regionals, which run May 7-9 in Gainesville, Fla., Columbus, Ohio, and Tempe, Ariz.

SOUTH CAROLINA FINAL RESULTS2. Benedicte Toumpsin - 72-69-73=214 (+1)T32. Katie Burnett - 74-78-74=226 (+13)T32. Corrine Carr - 73-77-76=226 (+13)44. Taylor Barrett - 80-78-75=233 (+20)57. Cayci Ruppe - 82-76-84=242 (+29)
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS1. Auburn - 289-296-285=870 (+18)T2. Arkansas - 296-287-296=878 (+26)T2. Alabama - 300-291-287=878 (+26)4. Tennessee - 295-293-293=881 (+29)5. LSU - 295-293=293=881 (+34)6. Georgia - 300-292-295=887 (+35)7. Mississippi - 301-298-291=890 (+38)8. Florida - 307-295-293=895 (+43)9. South Carolina - 299-300-298=897 (+45)10. Vanderbilt - 304-301-310=915 (+63)11. Kentucky - 313-297-308=918 (+66)12. Mississippi State - 318-307-305=930 (+78)