The South Carolina women’s golf team is making its fourth straight trip to the NCAA Championship, which starts on Tuesday. The 72-hole event runs through Friday at the par-72, 6,372-yard University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
The streak ties the Gamecocks for the fifth longest current streak in the nation. USC has played its best golf of the year during the postseason, finishing third at the SEC Championship and fourth at the NCAA West Regional.
“We have some momentum going in this year,” coach Kalen Harris said. “We have three returnees from last year. If we can handle adversity well, then we are going to have a successful week.”
Junior Suzie Lee, senior Meredith Swanson and sophomore Justine Dreher all played key roles in leading the Gamecocks to a fifth-place finish a year ago at the NCAA Championship. Freshmen Sarah Schmelzel and Mary Fran Hillow round out the lineup.
Lee has the team’s second-lowest stroke average (75.33) after leading the way at the West Regional with a tie for 14th finish. Schmelzel, an SEC All-Freshman Team selection, leads the team with a scoring average of 74.57 and is tied for the team lead with three top-20 finishes.
Top-ranked Southern California and defending national champion Alabama highlight the field. South Carolina is one of seven SEC programs to make the championship along with Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
The Gamecocks are making their 13th NCAA Championship appearance. At last year’s championship, Carolina delivered the program’s best finish, claiming fifth place with rounds of 302-281-300-293=1176 (+24), which is the lowest 72-hole score in school history.
Carolina tees off in the first round on Tuesday at 12:55 p.m. and will be paired with Florida and Oklahoma State.