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May 9, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Junior Benedicte Toumpsin fired her second straight round of 71 (+1) Saturday to lead South Carolina on the final day of the NCAA East Regional at the Mark Bostick Golf Course on the campus of the University of Florida. The Gamecocks finished in 12th place as a team with a total score of 897 (+57) after shooting 299 (+19) in the final round, falling short of the top eight and thereby missing an NCAA Championship berth by only eight strokes.

“I’m proud of the team, they put themselves in a position to give it a run today,” head coach Kalen Anderson said. “We just came up a little short. But we did our job coming back from putting ourselves in a hole the first day. They did a good job.”

Toumpsin shot 71 (+1) for the second time this week to finish at 221 (+11) for the tournament and tied for 30th place. The defending NCAA East Regional champion, Toumpsin bounced back from a rough first-day score of 79 to post two straight solid outings. Toumpsin got off to an up-and-down start with a bogey at the par-3 11th, but then came right back with a birdie at the uphill, par-5 12th. Bogeys at 14 and 16 dropped her to 2-over, but a beautiful approach led to a birdie at the 18th as she made the turn at 1-over. The native of Belgium would find the trees on the fourth hole but managed to escape with a bogey, then carded four straight pars before a birdie at the last to finish at 1-over. Toumpsin has led South Carolina in all three regionals she has played, finishing 26th in 2007 and winning the event last year in Athens, Ga.

One stroke behind Toumpsin was freshman Katie Burnett, whose 75 (+5) Saturday left her at 222 (+12) for the week, tied for 34th place in her initial NCAA Regional appearance. Burnett dropped to 3-over with bogeys at 11, 15 and 16, but came right back with a birdie at the 17th to get back to 2-over. Birdie opportunities slipped away over her next three holes as she made the turn at 2-over, then a bogey at the third and two more bogeys at Nos. 6 and 7 left her at 5-over for the day, equaling her first-round score.

Corrine Carr equaled her second-round score with a 76 (+6) Saturday where two bad holes proved to be the difference. Carr had double-bogey at No. 13 – a long, uphill par 4 – and a three-putt at 18 for another double to make the turn at 5-over. But Carr would play strong on her second nine, carding eight pars against just one bogey to finish at 6-over for the day and 17-over for the tournament, tied for 58th place.

Fellow junior Taylor Barrett started fairly strong with seven pars in her first nine holes, making the turn at 2-over with bogeys at 10 and 13. But the putter got the best of her on her final nine holes as she carded five bogeys to finish the day with a 77 (+7) and the tournament at 229 (+19).

Senior Meredith Taylor, playing her final competitive round as a collegian, had trouble hitting greens throughout the round and finished at with an 81 (+11), highlighted by a birdie at the par-3 eighth, her next-to-last hole of the weekend. Taylor finished the tournament at 235 (+25).

Sun Belt Conference champion Denver fired the only sub-par team round of the tournament with a 279 (-1) to overcome an eight-shot deficit and rally for the regional title at 862 (+22), four shots clear of runner-up Alabama with an 866 (+26). Tennessee played steady on the final day and finished third at 873 (+33). The other five teams advancing to the NCAA Championship will be Virginia, Tulane, Duke, North Carolina and Georgia.

Individually, Denver’s Dawn Shockley had the round of the tournament – a 4-under-par 66 – to rally from eighth place to take the individual championship at 209 (-1). Central Florida’s Stephanie Connelly was second at 210 (E) and will advance to the NCAA Championship as an individual. Also advancing as an individual will be Vanderbilt’s Marina Alex, who finished tied for fifth at 214 (+4).

With the college season complete, several team members will move on to various amateur tournaments and qualifiers for the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Women’s Amateur. The U.S. Women’s Open is set for July 6-12 at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa., and the U.S. Women’s Amateur runs Aug. 3-9 at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.

T30. Benedicte Toumpsin – 79-71-71=221 (+11)
T34. Katie Burnett – 75-72-75=222 (+12)
T58. Corrine Carr – 75-76-76=227 (+17)
T67. Taylor Barrett – 80-72-77=229 (+19)
T84. Meredith Taylor – 79-75-81=235 (+25)

1. Denver – 287-296-279=862 (+22)
2. Alabama – 284-291-291=866 (+26)
3. Tennessee – 292-293-288=873 (+33)
4. Virginia – 290-297-287=874 (+34)
5. Tulane – 292-296-288=876 (+36)
T6. Duke – 298-293-290=881 (+41)
T6. North Carolina – 291-303-287=881 (+41)
8. Georgia – 297-295-297=889 (+49)
9. East Carolina – 283-313-296=892 (+52)
10. Auburn – 304-294-295=893 (+53)
11. Vanderbilt – 286-299-309=894 (+54)
12. South Carolina – 308-290-299=897 (+57)
13. Coastal Carolina – 301-297-300=898 (+58)
14. Furman – 305-290-299=903 (+63)
15. Florida State – 307-297-303=907 (+67)
16. Florida – 305-301-302=908 (+68)
T17. Mississippi – 307-293-309=909 (+69)
T17. UCF – 309-302-298=909 (+69)
19. Stetson – 309-303-304=916 (+76)
20. Coll. of Charleston – 302-310-312=924 (+84)
21. Jackson State – 324-336-330=990 (+150)