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Sept. 4, 2009

COLUMBIA – The University of South Carolina opens its 30th season of intercollegiate women’s golf this week at the Hooters/NGCA Match Play Championship, being played this year at the LPGA International Legends Course in Daytona Beach, Fla. The field for the season-opening event includes SEC foes Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi, along with UCF, Chattanooga, Colorado, Duke, Georgia State, Kent State, North Carolina, TCU and Virginia.

Live scoring will be available through

South Carolina’s Lineup
The five qualifiers for the Gamecock lineup this week are seniors Corrine Carr and Benedicte Toumpsin, sophomore Katie Burnett and freshmen Amanda Strang and Meredith Swanson. Taylor Barrett will also make the trip to Daytona Beach as an alternate. Strang has not yet been cleared to play by the NCAA and her status for this weekend is questionable.

Toumpsin, Burnett and Barrett played in all 10 events a year ago for South Carolina, and Carr played in eight of the 10. Strang and Swanson will be making their first collegiate appearances.

Familiar With The Format
Benedicte Toumpsin and Taylor Barrett will both be making their third appearances in the NGCA/Hooters Match Play Championships as both seniors were in the field the last two times South Carolina competed in the event. Toumpsin is 2-1-1 in four career matches in 2006 and 2007, and Barrett is 0-4 in those same years.

For Starters
South Carolina returns four letterwinners that competed in at least eight tournaments during the 2008-09 season. Seniors Benedicte Toumpsin and Taylor Barrett both played in all 10 events last year, as did sophomore Katie Burnett. Senior Corrine Carr played eight times during her first season as a Gamecock after transferring from Furman. Sophomore Cayci Ruppe played in five tournaments last year, and sophomore Taylor Weaver competed once.

Toumpsin has played in every tournament in her three years as a Gamecock, totaling 33 events (31 stroke play, two match play). Barrett has seen competition in 26 events, the second most among active players. Counting her years at Furman, Carr has played in 25 tournaments, eight as a Gamecock.

The Newbies
South Carolina added two freshmen to the mix this year with the signings of Meredith Swanson and Amanda Strang, who both bring impressive resumes with them to Columbia. Swanson, a native of Roanoke, Va., lettered all four years at Hidden Valley High School with the boys’ team. She was a two-time all-state player in the boys’ high school division and qualified for the state championship both seasons. She has competed at the highest level as well, earning a sponsor’s exemption into the LPGA Tour’s Michelob Ultra Classic last spring.

Strang comes to South Carolina from Jonstorp, Sweden, where she was ranked fifth among Skandia Tour Elite girls and second among all 19-year-olds. She won two of six STE events this year and even played in a Ladies European Tour event in 2008. She is no stranger to team competition, having played on the Swedish Junior National Team and helping them to the gold medal at the European Girls Team Championship in 2008.

Looking Back at 2008-09
South Carolina fell just short of a second-straight NCAA Championship appearance as it finished in 12th place at the NCAA East Regional May 7-9 at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. The Gamecocks turned in a total score of 897 (+57) after shooting 299 in the final round, falling eight strokes short of the top eight. Benedicte Toumpsin led the team with a 73.90 stroke average and turned in two top-five finishes on the year, including a tie for medalist honors at the LSU Golf Classic and a runner-up showing at the SEC Championship. Katie Burnett was right behind Toumpsin with a 75.27 average and one top-10 showing at the season-opening Cougar Classic.

The Gamecocks’ best team finish came in the Bryan National Collegiate when they finished sixth among an elite field heading into the SEC Championship. Another strong finish came at the Cougar Classic, where South Carolina turned in a seventh-place showing.

Summer Lovin’
The Gamecock women didn’t rest on their laurels during the summer of 2009 as most all of them competed in USGA qualifiers and various other tournaments:

• Taylor Barrett and Katie Burnett qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship and advanced to the second round of match play. Barrett never trailed in her first-round victory over Briana Mao (Folsom, Calif.) and went on to win, 2- up. Burnett had a tight first-rounder with Mari Chun, a Stanford graduate, but won the ninth and 10th holes and held on to win, 2 and 1. In the stroke play portion of the event, Barrett finished in a 13-way tie for 29th place at 4-over following rounds of 74-74-148. Burnett, in her first-ever USGA Championship event, tied for 43rd place in stroke play with rounds of 77-72=149.

• Benedicte Toumpsin advanced to the sectional round of U.S. Women’s Open qualifying as she tied for fourth in the local qualifier at Pinehurst, N.C. She tied for 23rd in the sectional qualifier at Sanford, N.C., with rounds of 73-78=151 (+7), missing the cut by five shots.

• Barrett, Burnett, Corrine Carr and Taylor Weaver all played in the North & South Women’s Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2. Barrett and Carr both advanced to match play with Carr making it to the third round.

• Carr and Weaver qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur by shooting matching scores of even-par 71 at the sectional qualifier in Lexington, N.C.

Last Time Out – 2009 NCAA East Regional
Junior Benedicte Toumpsin fired her second straight round of 71 (+1) 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.

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.

Last Time Here – 2007 NGCA Match Play

On the Independence Course at Kissimmee’s Ginn Reunion Resort, the 14th-seeded Gamecocks fell 4-0-1 in their opening match against third seed Auburn then narrowly dropped a 3-2 decision to 11 seed New Mexico. Against the Lobos, the match went down to the wire with the No. 3 match deciding the winner. Carolina’s Taylor Barrett just missed against UNM’s Alexandra Phelps, falling 1-up.