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May 24, 2012

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The South Carolina women’s golf team has moved into position to contend for the program’s first national title after shooting a third-round 300 (+12) on Thursday at the 2012 NCAA Championship at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

With the course playing extremely difficult, the Gamecocks made up ground to climb into a tie for third place with a total of 883 (+19). Carolina is just six strokes back of tournament leader Alabama. The Crimson Tide posted an 18-over 286 on Thursday and has a three-round score of 877 (+13). Southern California is in second with a score of 879.

“It was quite windy out and the greens were very, very firm,” South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said. “It was hard to get the ball close. It took a lot of gauging of how the greens would react. We hung in there as well as we could and are still in a great position. I was real proud of what we did today.”

Senior Katie Burnett led the way with a 2-over 74 as she remains in contention for the individual title in a tie for fifth with a total of 215 (-1). She is just three shots back of co-leaders Chirapat Jao-Javanil (Oklahoma) and Giulia Molinaro (Arizona State), who are at 4-under with a total of 212.

Burnett had an up and down front side, recording three bogeys, a birdie and five pars to make the turn at 2-over. Despite the winds picking up in the afternoon and the greens becoming less receptive, she finished strong by shooting even-par 36 on the back nine.

Junior Meredith Swanson and freshman Justine Dreher each shot a 3-over 75. Swanson jumped into a tie for 27th with a score of 222 (+6), while Dreher is tied for 77th with a total of 229 (+13).

Swanson came up big early for the Gamecocks with three birdies and four pars on her first seven holes. She bogeyed the eighth hole to begin a rough stretch that included seven bogeys in nine holes to drop to 4-over but she drained a 10-foot putt on No. 18 to finish strong.

Dreher seemed to be headed for a high score after a rough start that included double bogeys on the second and third holes and a bogey on the eighth to drop to 5-over. However, she turned it around quickly with three straight birdies to play 2-under for the remainder of her round.

Junior Amanda Strang carded a 4-over 76 and is in a tie for 40th with a score of 224 (+8). Strang recorded two birdies, six bogeys and 10 pars for her round. Sophomore Suzie Lee turned in a 9-over 81 and is in a tie for 82nd with a score of 230 (+14).

Purdue and Virginia are tied with the Gamecocks for third place with a score of 883, while LSU (884), North Carolina (885), Arizona State (887), UCLA (888) and Oklahoma (888) round out the top 10.

“Our message tomorrow is to just relax and stick to our game plan and stay tough out there,” Harris said. “I think it will be very similar conditions. We just need to stay committed on every shot and add them up at the end.”

The Gamecocks will tee off in the final round on Friday beginning at 11:50 a.m. CT and are paired with Virginia and LSU. Live scoring and live video of the ninth and 18th holes will be available at

T5. Katie Burnett 74-67-74=215 (-1)
T27. Meredith Swanson 76-71-75=222 (+6)
T40. Amanda Strang 75-73-76=224 (+8)
T77. Justine Dreher 77-77-75=229 (+13)
T82. Suzie Lee 79-70-81=230 (+14)

1. Alabama 286-285-306=877 (+13)
2. Southern Cal 297-288-294=879 (+15)
T3. Purdue 293-295-295=883 (+19)
T3. South Carolina 302-281-300=883 (+19)
T3. Virginia 288-294-301=883 (+19)
6. LSU 293-294-297=884 (+20)
7. North Carolina 290-292-303=885 (+21)
8. Arizona State 292-291-304=887 (+23)
T9. UCLA 292-290-306=888 (+24)
T9. Oklahoma 294-299-295=888 (+24)
T11. Duke 289-302-301=892 (+28)
T11. Florida 302-293-297=892 (+28)
13. NC State 299-294-305=898 (+34)
14. Texas A&M 301-298-300=899 (+35)
15. Colorado 297-298-305=900 (+36)
T16. Michigan State 296-311-294=901 (+37)
T16. Vanderbilt 306-284-311=901 (+37)
T18. Pepperdine 306-293-304=903 (+39)
T18. Baylor 299-304-300=903 (+39)
20. Texas 297-295-313=905 (+41)
21. Arkansas 303-301-309=913 (+49)
22. Tennessee 300-307-307=914 (+50)
23. Ohio State 303-307-305=915 (+51)
24. Stanford 309-304-307=920 (+56)