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Oct. 23, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Top-ranked South Carolina wraps up its fall slate this weekend at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. The 54-hole event hosted by UNC-Wilmington runs Friday through Sunday at the par-72, 6,204-yard Country Club of Landfall on the Pete Dye Course.

Dates: Fri. Oct. 24 – Sun., Oct. 26
Location: Wilmington, N.C.
Course: Country Club of Landfall
Format: 54-hole stroke play
The Lineup: Nanna Madsen, Mary Fran Hillow, Justine Dreher, Jia Xin Yang, Katelyn Dambaugh
The Field: Alabama, Arizona, Central Florida, Duke, Florida, Michigan State, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wake Forest, UNC-Wilmington
Live Scoring: GolfStat

Tournament Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Gamecocks’ third-straight tournament will not be easy as they will face nine other teams in the top 25 on the Pete Dye Course. The ranked teams include No. 3 Duke, the defending National Champions. The Blue Devils are the only team to beat South Carolina this season, taking a four-stroke win at the Tar Heel Invitational after the Gamecocks defeated Duke to open the season at the ANNIKA. Three other SEC foes – Alabama, Florida and Tennessee – also await South Carolina in Wilmington.

Already, this fall has been the best in program history, with a pair of wins at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate and the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships along with a runner-up finish at the Tar Heel Invitational. The 54-hole scores from the Gamecocks first three events all rank in top seven in program history.

Nearly half (20 of 43) of the Gamecocks’ individual rounds at their first three events have been at par or better. The total includes junior Mary Fran Hillow’s program record 65 at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships and 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 nine top-15 individual finishes in the first half of the fall season. Freshman Nanna Madsen posted a pair of top-10 results, finishing T9 at the ANNIKA and T5 at the Tar Heel Invitational, before capturing her first collegiate win at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate, the second individual win by a Gamecock in their first three events. With a consistent start to the season, Hillow has finished in the top-15 in her first two events before surging to the runner-up spot with a program-record 65 in the final round of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate.

The Gamecocks are set to play the same combination as they have in the first three events, freshman Nanna Madsen, junior Mary Fran Hillow, senior Justine Dreher, sophomore Jia Xin Yang and sophomore Katelyn Dambaugh.

The Gamecocks earned their second win in three fall starts last weekend, despite playing with just four players for the final two rounds. Entering the final round back four-strokes, South Carolina rallied for a 14-shot victory and a 54-hole total of 13-over 865. Freshman Nanna Madsen (-1) won her first collegiate event and junior Mary Fran Hillow (+2) surged to the runner-up spot after a final-round 65, a tournament and program record. Senior Justine Dreher was the third Gamecock in the top four, taking fourth at 4-over. South Carolina earned their second Golfweek Team of the Week recognition for the performance.

This weekend’s trip will mark South Carolina’s fifth consecutive trip to the Landfall Tradition. Last season, the Gamecocks finished in fourth with a 54-hole total of 904 (+40). Katelyn Dambaugh was the top Gamecock, wrapping up the event in a tie for fourth at 3-over 219. The fourth-place finish matches South Carolina’s 2011 result as their best-ever at the event.

The Gamecocks returned to the No. 1 spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin and assumed the top spot in the Golfstat Relative Rankings for the first time ever this week after their win at the Mercedes-Benz Championship. South Carolina is off to its best fall season in program history with two wins and a runner-up finish along with a pair of individual titles from senior Justine Dreher and freshman Nanna Madsen.

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 will look to maintain their white hot fall season this spring. The Gamecocks’ first tournament of 2015 will be the Florida State Match-Up (Feb. 13-15, 2015) at the southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla. South Carolina won the 2014 Florida State Match-Up.