Oct. 16, 2014
No. 2 South Carolina continues its fall slate this weekend at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship at Knoxville, Tenn. The 54-hole event hosted by the University of Tennessee runs Friday through Sunday at the par-71, 5,870-yard Cherokee Country Club.
Dates: Fri. Oct. 17 – Sun., Oct. 19
Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
Course: Cherokee Country Club
Format: 54-hole stroke play
The Lineup: Nanna Madsen, Katelyn Dambaugh, Mary Fran Hillow, Justine Dreher, Jia Xin Yang
The Field: Central Florida, Chattanooga, College of Charleston, Denver, Eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee State, Furman, Kent State, Louisville, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Penn State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Live Scoring: GolfStat
Continuing their rigorous schedule, the Gamecocks will face four more top 25 teams at this weekend’s tournament. There are four SEC teams in the 17-team field scheduled to play Cherokee Country Club, including the hosts No. 9/13 Tennessee.
Over half of the Gamecocks’ individual rounds at their first two events have been at par or better (16 of 30). The total includes three rounds of 68 – two from senior Justine Dreher at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate and one from sophomore Katelyn Dambaugh at the Tar Heel Invitational. Overall, South Carolina golfers have posted six top-15 individual finishes in the first half of the fall season. Freshman Nanna Madsen has a pair of top-10 results, finishing T9 at the ANNIKA and T5 at the Tar Heel Invitational. With a consistent start to the season, junior Mary Fran Hillow has two top-15 finishes and has been at par or better for five of her six rounds.
The Gamecocks are set to play the same combination as they have in the first two events, Madsen, Dambaugh, Hillow, Dreher and sophomore Jia Xin Yang. After slightly tweaking the order for last weekend’s Tar Heel Invitaitonal, this weekend’s lineup is the same as South Carolina’s first tournament of the year, a seven-stroke win at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.
LAST TIME OUT
South Carolina was the runner-up at the Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C., last weekend, finishing the 54-hole event at even-par. The Gamecocks and defending NCAA Champions Duke battled on the final day and were the only two of the 18 teams to finish at par or better. Freshman Nanna Madsen and sophomore Katelyn Dambaugh were the top South Carolina finishers, wrapping up the event in a tie for fifth at 1-under. The result was Madsen’s first collegiate top-five finish. Dambaugh surged more than 20 spots up the leaderboard on Sunday with a 4-under 68.
HISTORY AT THE MERCEDES-BENZ COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP
This weekend marks the Gamecocks’ 10th appearance in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship since the tournament began in 1997. Last year, South Carolina posted their best-ever finish at the event, taking the runner-up spot at 3-over (279-292=571) after the event was shorted by weather to 36 holes. Samantha Swinehart led the Gamecocks, shooting a pair of 70s to finish at 2-under.
Despite owning the nation’s best record against top 25 teams at 17-1-0, the Gamecocks are No. 2 in both Golfweek/Sagarin and the Golfstat Relative Rankings this week. It is the highest Golfstat ranking in program history. South Carolina was No. 1 in the Oct. 3 Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings for the first time ever. Washington moved into the top spot in both rankings after winning its first event of the season. South Carolina has posted the best record in the nation vs. top 25 teams while playing the second-toughest schedule. The Huskies have just a 2-0-0 record against the top 25 with the 47th-toughest schedule.
RECORDS ARE FALLING
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.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
South Carolina wraps up its fall season at The Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. The event at the Country Club of Landfall begins Fri., Oct. 24.