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Oct. 9, 2014

Top-ranked South Carolina women’s golf travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., this weekend for the Tar Heel Invitational, a 54-hole stroke play event at the UNC Finley Golf Course. The three-day event is set to begin on Friday morning at the par-72, 6,379-yard course.

Dates: Fri. Oct. 10 – Sun., Oct. 12
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Course: UNC Finley Golf Course
Format: 54-hole stroke play
The Lineup: Justine Dreher, Nanna Madsen, Mary Fran Hillow, Jia Xin Yang, Katelyn Dambaugh
The Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Duke, Florida, LSU, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi, North Carolina, NC State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rollins, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest
Live Scoring: GolfStat

Tournament Notes Get Acrobat Reader

A week after facing 11 of the country’s top 13 teams at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate last weekend, the Gamecocks will face another stiff test, with the 18-team field featuring 10 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin top 25 and eight SEC programs.

ANNIKA Intercollegiate individual medalist Justine Dreher, freshman Nanna Madsen, junior Mary Fran Hillow and sophomores Jia Xin Yang and Katelyn Dambaugh are set to make the trip for the Gamecocks. Freshman Ainhoa Olarra will make her collegiate debut, competing as an individual.

“We’re going to have to see the same thing (as we did last week). We’re going to have to be ready to go,” said South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris of the challenge at the Tar Heel Invitational. “We gave them a couple days of rest, and I told them we’ve got to get ready to win another tournament. We’ve got to prepare like we’ve been preparing. Our goal is to get better every day, every tournament. We’re going to look at Duke and Vanderbilt and Arkansas and a lot of other great teams in the top 10 (this weekend). We’ve got to look to do what we did last week — play really solid golf, make a lot of birdies and be smart. Hopefully the results will add up at the end.”

The Gamecocks kicked off the season in impressive fashion, besting a field that featured 11 of the top 13 teams in the country by seven strokes at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate in Reunion, Fla. South Carolina fired a 10-under 854 at the event to take home the title. Senior Justine Dreher captured medalist honors with a 9-under 207 to lead the team. On the final day of competition all five golfers finished the day at par or better and the team recorded nine birdies on the back nine to pull away from the field. The Gamecocks swept Golfweek’s weekly honors with the team earning Team of the Week honors and Dreher garnering Player of the Week recognition.

WHO’S NO. 1?
For the first time in program history, the Gamecocks earned a No. 1 ranking after their head-turning win at the ANNIKA. In a record-breaking season in 2013-14, South Carolina reached as high as No. 4 in the Golfweek rankings and No. 5 according to Golfstat.

This marks South Carolina’s 27th trip to the Tar Heel Invitational. Last season, the Gamecocks finished in a tie for fifth place at 14-over par (299-291-288=878). Justine Dreher was the top South Carolina finisher, carding a 2-under 214 with rounds of 70, 71 and 73. Then-No. 4 Duke took the team title and was the only team to finish under par, completing the tournament at 7-under (857). Ashlan Ramsey from Clemson earned medalist honors at 9-under.

After starting the season a few weeks later than usual because of freshman Nanna Madsen’s trip to the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, the Gamecocks matched their 54-hole score at last year’s NCAA East Regional with an 854, the second-lowest 54-hole score in program history. Dreher equaled All-American Kristy McPherson’s 2001 SEC Championship score of 207 as the lowest individual 54-hole score in school history.

Three of the five golfers from the Gamecocks’ core lineup in 2013-14, including Dreher and sophomore All-SEC honoree 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.

South Carolina continues the fall season at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tenn. The event is set for Fri., Oct. 17 – Sun., Oct. 19, at the Cherokee Golf Club.