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April 6, 2012

GREENSBORO, N.C. — In the first round of her final regular season tournament as a Gamecock, senior Katie Burnett got off to a solid start on Friday at the Bryan National Collegiate as she fired a 2-under 70 on the Players Course at Bryan Park Golf and Enrichment Center.

Burnett finished the day in sole possession of the lead, holding a one-stroke advantage over a group of six golfers at 1-under. As a team the Gamecocks are in contention after putting together a round of 292 (+4) to wrap up the day in second place. Carolina trails tournament leader Northwestern (290) by just two strokes.

“Overall it was a very solid day,” South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said. “I’m very happy with the start. We’ve been playing solid golf the last couple of weeks. Katie Burnett needs to continue to play steady golf and be a rock for us. She almost made birdie on the last hole to add to her lead. I’m very happy with the way she is playing. All of them are playing really good golf. The exciting part is we have six players capable of playing very solid golf. There are a lot of things that I’m excited about. We have put ourselves in very strong position after day one.”

Burnett’s day began on the back nine, and it didn’t take long for her to get into red numbers as she birdied the par-5 12th. She quickly fell back to even par with a bogey on the 13th, but it turned out to be her only blemish on the scorecard. The Brunswick, Ga., native recorded two more birdies and 12 pars the rest of the way to head into the clubhouse at 2-under.

Three other Gamecocks positioned themselves inside the top 15. Junior Amanda Strang shot an even-par 72 to finish the round in a tie for eighth, while freshman Justine Dreher and sophomore Samantha Swinehart each carded a 1-over 73 to move into a tie for 13th.

Strang recorded five birdies, five bogeys and eight pars for her round. She entered the clubhouse on a high note after making birdie on her final hole of the day. Dreher made the turn at 2-over but recorded birdies on the first and sixth holes to move back to even. However, she recorded a bogey on the eighth to drop back to 1-over, where she finished the round. Swinehart, who is playing as an individual, recorded three birdies, four bogeys and 11 pars on the day.

“Amanda came in and birdied her last hole to give her some momentum going into tomorrow,” Harris said. “Justine was very steady in her round, and Samantha put together a solid round as our individual.”

Junior Meredith Swanson and sophomore Katie Rose Higgins each turned in rounds of 5-over 77 to close out the round in a tie for 43rd.

Tennessee is in third place after shooting a 5-over 293, followed by Wake Forest (295) and Ohio State (297).

The Gamecocks will be paired with Northwestern and Tennessee for the second round and will tee off on hole No. 1 on Saturday beginning at 9:50 a.m. Live scoring will be available at

1. Katie Burnett 70 (-2)
T8. Amanda Strang 72 (E)
T13. Justine Dreher 73 (+1)
T43. Meredith Swanson 77 (+5)
T43. Katie Rose Higgins 77 (+5)
*T13. Samantha Swinehart 73 (+1)
*Playing as an individual

1. Northwestern 290 (+2)
2. South Carolina 292 (+4)
3. Tennessee 293 (+5)
4. Wake Forest 295 (+7)
T5. Ohio State 297 (+9)
T5. Florida State 297 (+9)
7. Duke 298 (+10)
8. Virginia 299 (+11)
9. North Carolina 301 (+13)
10. Kentucky 304 (+16)
T11. UNCG 306 (+18)
T11. Tulane 306 (+18)
T11. North Carolina State 306 (+18)
T14. UNC Wilmington 310 (+22)
T14. Michigan State 310 (+22)
16. College of Charleston 313 (+25)
17. Louisville 317 (+29)