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May 8, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – South Carolina fired a 290 (+10), tying Furman for the best score of the day on Friday, and moved up six spots to a three-way tie for 12th place at 598 (+38) after two rounds at the NCAA Women’s Golf East Regional at the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida. Junior Benedicte Toumpsin led the way for the Gamecocks with a 71 (+1). The top eight teams after Saturday’s final round will advance to the NCAA Championships in Owings Mills, Md., and at only six shots out of eighth place, the Gamecocks are squarely in contention.

“We definitely had a great day,” Carolina head coach Kalen Anderson said. “The conditions in the afternoon got tough and a few people backed up. We put in a solid round, we put ourselves in position for other teams to falter, and fortunately they did. We gave ourselves a shot. We just have to go out and do the same kind of things we’ve been doing. There’s not really a specific number I’m looking for. We know some people are going to back up, and if we go out and play pretty solid, we’ll just see what happens.”

The team score of 290 equaled South Carolina’s second-best single-day effort in its NCAA Regional history, tying for the 290 the Gamecocks shot in the first round of the 2007 regional in Baton Rouge, La. The best-ever score for Carolina came in the second round of that same regional, a 1-over-par 289.

Toumpsin, who led the Gamecocks in that regional two years ago, shook off a shaky first round to fire a 1-over-par 71 to lead South Carolina on day two. Things looked like she might run into trouble early as she opened with back-to-back bogeys, but she would go bogey-free over her final 16 holes and carded a birdie at the par-5 third to finish at 1-over. She stands at 150 (+10) for the tournament, tied for 46th place.

Freshman Katie Burnett had another solid day, firing a 2-over 72 to move into a tie for 24th place overall. After a bogey at her opening hole (No. 10), the native of Brunswick, Ga., carded back-to-back birdies to move to 1-under through three holes. Bogeys at 16 and 18 left her 1-over at the turn. She was mostly steady on the front nine with a bogey at No. 2 the only blemish on her scorecard.

Junior Taylor Barrett was steady as a rock for most of her second round, equaling Burnett with a 72 (+2), only one shot off her career best at South Carolina. She shook off an opening-round 80 by carding 13 straight pars to open her round, and then had a stretch of three bogeys sandwiched around a birdie at the long par-3 sixth to finish at 2-over. Barrett showed off her scrambling ability as she missed about two-thirds of the greens but found numerous ways to get up and down, draining several lengthy putts.

Meredith Taylor, the team’s lone senior, improved by four shots over her first-round score with a 75 (+5). She played her first eight holes at 2-over with bogeys at 12 and 13, then ran into trouble at 18 when she missed the green short and right, leaving a tricky pitch to a tight pin placement. She would take double-bogey to make the turn at 4-over, but then got one stroke right back by making birdie on No. 1 for the second straight day. She would finish with two more bogeys to sign for a 75.

Corrine Carr was one stroke higher Friday than in her first round with a 76 (+6) and stands tied for 54th overall. She got off to a rough start with three bogeys in her first four holes, but settled down and parred four of her final five holes of her first nine to make the turn at 4-over. A bogey at the first dropped her to 5-over, but she would get that stroke back with a strong birdie at No. 3, a lengthy, uphill par-5. She would have two more bogeys over her final six holes to finish at 6-over for the day, 11-over through two rounds.

South Carolina was fortunate to have the early-morning tee time as low scores were hard to come by for the second straight day. At 290, the Gamecocks tied Furman for the best round of the day. By contrast, first-round leader East Carolina played in the afternoon and shot the second-worst round of the day at 313 (+33) to drop from first to 11th.

The SEC represented itself in a very strong manner on Friday as three of the top four teams through 36 holes are league members. Alabama had the second-best round of the day – the best by far among teams playing in the afternoon – to propel the Crimson Tide to an eight-stroke lead at 575 (+15). Denver shot 296 (+16) to move into second place at 583 (+23), and Tennessee is tied with Vanderbilt is third, two shots back of the Pioneers at 585 (+25).

Alabama’s Camilla Lennarth is the only player in the field under par through 36 holes as she leads at 139 (-1). A three-way tie between three more SEC foes features Marina Alex (Vanderbilt), Nathalie Mansson (Tennessee) and Candace Schepperle (Auburn) all at 141 (+1).

The Gamecocks will tee off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, paired with Furman and East Carolina for the final 18 holes. Live results will be available through

T24. Katie Burnett – 75-72=147 (+7)
T46. Benedicte Toumpsin – 79-71=150 (+10)
T54. Corrine Carr – 75-76=151 (+11)
T59. Taylor Barrett – 80-72=152 (+12)
T75. Meredith Taylor – 79-75=154 (+14)

1. Alabama – 284-291=575 (+15)
2. Denver – 287-296=583 (+23)
T3. Tennessee – 292-293=585 (+25)
T3. Vanderbilt – 286-299=585 (+25)
5. Virginia – 290-297=587 (+27)
6. Tulane – 292-296=588 (+28)
7. Duke – 298-293=591 (+31)
8. Georgia – 297-295=592 (+32)
9. North Carolina -291-303=594 (+34)
10. Furman – 305-290=595 (+35)
11. East Carolina – 283-313=596 (+36)
T12. South Carolina – 308-290=598 (+38)
T12. Auburn – 304-294=598 (+38)
T12. Coastal Carolina – 301-297=598 (+38)
15. Mississippi – 307-293=600 (+40)
16. Florida State – 307-297=604 (+44)
17. Florida – 305-301=606 (+46)
18. UCF – 309-302=611 (+51)
T19. College of Charleston – 302-310=612 (+52)
T19. Stetson – 309-303=612 (+52)
21. Jackson State – 324-336=660 (+100)