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April 15, 2010

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – South Carolina’s women’s golf team faces a demanding golf course and 11 strong foes this weekend as the Gamecocks are set for the 2010 SEC Women’s Golf Championship, which runs Friday through Sunday at NorthRiver Yacht Club.

This week, 26th-ranked South Carolina will send out the same lineup that has competed in all four previous events this fall. Seniors Benedicte Toumpsin, Corrine Carr and Taylor Barrett lead the way, with sophomore Katie Burnett and freshman Amanda Strang rounding out the lineup.

Four of the five Carolina entrants in the SEC Championship played in last season’s event at Cobblestone Park in Blythewood, and two have multiple previous appearances in the league tournament. Benedicte Toumpsin will be making her fourth appearance in the event, looking to build on two solid performances her last two years. She was the runner-up last year in Columbia at 214 (+1), and finished third in 2008 in Athens, Ga., with a score of 216 (E). As a freshman, she finished tied for 25th. Taylor Barrett will be playing her third SEC Championship after a 44th-place showing last year and a career-best 14th-place finish in 2008. Katie Burnett and Corrine Carr will be making their second appearances; both tied for 32nd last year.

The Gamecocks completed their practice round Thursday afternoon on the par 72, 6,057-yard layout, surveying a relatively short but hilly course that rewards accuracy but puts shot-making at a premium as the undulating greens can present quite a challenge. The NorthRiver Yacht Club is approximately 12 miles northeast of downtown Tuscaloosa and the host school, the University of Alabama. It is a 1978 Gary Player design that meanders through the heavily wooded areas and rolling hills north of Tuscaloosa.

Of the 12 teams in this week’s field, 10 are ranked in the latest Golfweek Top 50, including two in the top 10. Defending champion and third-ranked Auburn leads the way, followed by tournament host and seventh-ranked Alabama. Other top-25 teams include No. 11 Florida, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 16 Georgia, No. 19 LSU and No. 24 Vanderbilt, with the Gamecocks just outside the top 25 at No. 26. Arkansas is 32nd and Ole Miss is 47th to round out the ranked teams in this week’s event.

South Carolina has faced all 11 SEC opponents this season, compiling a 21-27 record in tournament play against the league. The Gamecocks are 63-69-2 overall this season; 42 of the wins and all 69 losses have come against teams ranked in the Golfweek Top 50.

Coming into this weekend, the Gamecocks are ranked eighth in the SEC with a 301.05 scoring average in 22 tournament rounds. That translates to an individual scoring average of 75.26. Florida leads the league at 295.06 for their team average. Burnett is the Gamecocks’ top-rated player as she is ranked 15th in the SEC with a 74.86 season scoring average and six top-20 finishes in eight events. She is also ranked 64th in the nation, according to Golfweek.

The Gamecocks will be paired with Florida and Ole Miss for Friday’s first round with tee times beginning at 9:20 a.m. on the No. 10 tee. Live scoring will be available through, and fans can receive periodic updates via Twitter by following @GamecockWGolf and @SECSportsUpdate.