First tournament, first round: USC sets set the school record for the lowest 18 holes under par at 274, minus 14.
First tournament, finish: they set the school record for the lowest 54 holes at 849, 15 under par.
Second tournament, individual: the school record for the lowest score in a 54-hole tournament fell at 10-under 206.
What next for South Carolina’s women’s golf team?
“Lots of positives,” coach Kalen Anderson said in reviewing her squad’s first three tournament. “It’s early in the season, and we’re young, but we have a lot to build on.”
Indeed, the Gamecocks have earned a place among the best in women’s college golf. USC is one of five programs to reach the national championship tournament for seven straight years, has more quality depth than ever and Anderson, in her 10 th season, said, “They’re competitive, and they’re going to push each other to get better.”
The quality starts at the top with senior Katelyn Dambaugh, ranked among the top 10 women amateur golfers in the world who is rewriting the school record book for individual excellence. She set the USC mark for best individual tournament in the Cougar Classic at Yeamans Hall and has finished fifth, second and tied for six individually in the Gamecocks’ three starts.
“We’ve played seven different players this year, and it’s exciting to see them develop,” Anderson said. “They need experience, and consistency will come with experience. They’re going to improve drastically.”
Dambaugh (69.9 scoring average), junior Anihoa Olarra (72.4) and sophomore Marion Veysseyre (73.2) have played in all three tournaments. Competing in two events have been sophomore Isidora Nilsson (75), senior Jia Xin Yang (75) and freshman Anita Uwadia (73.3), and freshman Ana Palaez (74) has started one.
“Katelyn is so consistent and is obviously an exceptional player,” Anderson said. “She pulls the rest along. But she can’t do it by herself, You watch them develop and can’t help but be excited about the possibilities. The young players have to adjust to the golf, of course, but we have international players who have to adjust to the language. The young ones have to get accustomed to time management and gauge their responsibilities.”
The Gamecocks have finished sixth, tied for seventh and tied for fifth in their three starts, showing progress each time out.
“We use the fall to evaluate, to see where we are,” she said. “We’ll see some ups and downs.
As an example, Anita (Uwadia) went low (T11) in her first start and high in the second. After the Landfall (tournament in Wilmington, N.C., that begins Friday), we’ll see what we need to work on and plan for the spring. I have seen them mature every tournament, and there are so many positives.”
The middle-of- the-pack fall finishes are typical for Anderson’s teams. The spring is different, a point emphasizes by the Gamecocks’ streak of national championship tournament appearances.
The 2015-16 team did not post a top-five finish last fall, then had two seconds, won a regional and made match play in the nationals in the spring.
Oh, as part of the development, Anderson said, “They have to learn my expectations.”
Those expectations are lofty, and the Gamecocks are again on track to turn fall positives into spring production.
Joe Hackler (Myrtle Beach) won his second straight championships in the SCGA’s Harry Wilson Super Senior Championship at Florence CC. He earned the title for players 65-69 with a two-round total of 147. Bob Stringer (Blythewood) took the Legends title for players 70 and older with a 36-hole total of 143. … Following Hurricane Matthew’s strike at Hilton Head Island, three of Sea Pines Resort’s courses – Harbour Town, Heron Point by Pete Dye and Alantic Dunes by Davis Love III – are scheduled to reopen the week of Nov. 21.… The Carolinas team, which included Columbia-area players Jarrett Grimes and Steve Liebler, won the Captain’s Putter, a competition featuring top amateurs from the Carolinas against their counterparts from Virginia and West Virginia. … Sophomore Alice Hewson led Clemson’s women to a fourth-place finish in the Greenville Regional Preview tourney in Greenville, N.C.