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Feb. 12, 2012

SORRENTO, Fla. — South Carolina sophomore Suzie Lee tied a career-low with a 1-under 71 on Sunday to lead the Gamecocks in the opening round of the UCF Challenge at RedTail Golf Club. As a team, Carolina shot a 290 (+2) in its first tournament of 2012 to finish the day in fifth place.

The Gamecocks’ score is their second best opening round total of the season, and South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said she couldn’t have been more pleased with her team’s start after going close to four months without playing in a tournament.

“Overall I was real happy with our start,” Harris said. “From top to bottom, everybody played really steady. There are birdies to be made out there. We established ourselves with a good solid first round and are in the hunt. We just have to go out there and keep doing what we are doing. The conditions this year are much more difficult than in the past, but they hung in there and played steady golf.”

Lee played near flawless golf for most of the day as she headed into her final two holes at 3-under. However, the East Northport, N.Y., native recorded bogeys on holes 17 and 18 to fall back to 1-under and into a tie for fifth place. She finished her round with five birdies, four bogeys and nine pars.

“She’s got a lot of talent and played some real solid golf,” Harris said. “For her to get under par, that’s always a good thing. She was hitting it real well and had tons of good opportunities for birdies.”

Sophomore Samantha Swinehart also had a stellar day for the Gamecocks with an even-par 72. Swinehart walked onto the No. 17 tee box at 1-over but she played the 520-yard par 5 to perfection, recording birdie to move her back to even par to finish the round in a tie for 13th.

Junior Amanda Strang is tied for 22nd after posting a 1-over 73. Strang carded three bogeys, two birdies and 13 pars for her best opening round of the season.

Senior Katie Burnett and freshman Justine Dreher are tied for 32nd after each shooting a 2-over 74. Burnett shook off a double bogey on hole No. 3 to play even par the rest of the way, while Dreher recorded two birdies, four bogeys and 12 pars.

Junior Meredith Swanson, who is playing as an individual, recorded a 3-over 75 and is tied for 43rd.

Baylor shot a 4-under 284 to finish the round atop the leaderboard, while No. 3 Auburn is close behind after shooting a 3-under 285. Augusta State is third with a 286 (-2), and Tulane is fourth with a 287 (-1).

Baylor’s Hayley Davis and Auburn’s Victoria Trapani share the lead after each carding a 4-under 68.

Second-round play is scheduled to get underway on Monday at 9:30 a.m. Live results will be available at

T5. Suzie Lee 71 (-1)
T13. Samantha Swinehart 72 (E)
T22. Amanda Strang 73 (+1)
T32. Katie Burnett 74 (+2)
T32. Justine Dreher 74 (+2)
*T43. Meredith Swanson 75 (+3)
*Playing as an individual

1. Baylor 284 (-4)
2. Auburn 285 (-3)
3. Augusta State 286 (-2)
4. Tulane 287 (-1)
5. South Carolina 290 (+2)
T6. South Florida 292 (+4)
T6. Texas 292 (+4)
8. UCF 295 (+7)
9. Kentucky 297 (+9)
10. UTSA 299 (+11)
T11. Kennesaw State 300 (+12)
T11. Memphis 300 (+12)
13. Miami 301 (+13)
14. Georgia State 302 (+14)
15. Coastal Carolina 303 (+15)
16. Kansas 306 (+18)
17. Mississippi State 308 (+20)
18. Minnesota 310 (+22)