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Sept. 27, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s golf makes its 2014-15 debut this weekend at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate in Reunion, Fla. The 54-hole stroke-play event beings on Sunday and runs through Tuesday on the Watson Course at the Reunion Resort, which features a par-72 course designed by Tom Watson.

Dates: Sun., Sept. 28 – Tues., Sept. 31
Location: Reunion, Fla.
Course: Watson Course at Reunion Resort
Format: 54-hole stroke play
The Lineup: Nanna Madsen, Katelyn Dambaugh, Mary Fran Hillow, Justine Dreher, Jia Xin Yang
The Field: Southern Cal, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Pepperdine, Northwestern, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke, Oregon State and Alabama.
Live Scoring: GolfStat

This weekend’s tournament is the inaugural ANNIKA Intercollegiate, an event co-founded by LPGA star Annika Sorenstam’s ANNIKA Foundation and Golfweek.

Freshman Nanna Madsen, sophomore Katelyn Dambaugh, junior Mary Fran Hillow, senior Justine Dreher and sophomore Jia Xin Yang are set to make the trip to Florida.

“We’ve had a lot of practice time this season, which is a little bit unique. I think they are really ready to compete. We’ve been hammering the wedge play and short game, like we usually do. We’ve been playing a lot. I’m really excited with the way they look. It’s been good to get some time in for development, especially with the freshmen. I’m pleased with where we’re at right now.”

Golfweek ranked the Gamecocks No. 10 in its preseason rankings. Eleven of the 12 teams at the ANNKIA are in Golfweek’s preseason top 13.

Three of the five golfers from the Gamecocks’ core lineup in 2013-14, including Dreher and All-SEC honoree sophomore Katelyn Dambaugh, return. Junior Sarah Schmelzel, an SEC All-Freshman selection in the 2012-13 season, is back as well. Nearly every returning player has been in the Gamecock lineup at some point in her career.

Climbing as high as No. 4, South Carolina finished last season at No. 6 in the Golfstat rankings. The team finished in the top six at every regular-season tournament and registered nine straight top-five finishes for the first time in program history. A pair of wins at the Florida State Match-Up and PING ASU Invitational as well as runner-up finishes at the SEC Championship and NCAA East Regional also highlighted the season.

A pair of Gamecocks represented their home countries in international competition over the summer. Justine Dreher and Team France captured the European Ladies Amateur Team crown in Slovenia, defeating England, Spain and Finland. Dreher went undefeated at the event.

Before coming to Columbia, Nanna Madsen won the Danish International Ladies Amateur by four strokes. She then went to the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Japan and led Denmark to a fourth-place finish. Madsen reached No. 3 in the Women’s World Amateur Rankings after the event.

South Carolina continues its season at the Tar Heel Invitational on the Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C. The event is set for Oct. 10-12.