April 17, 2005
TUNICA, Miss.- University of Tennessee senior golfer Jessica Shepley claimed third place as the 2005 Southeastern Conference Women's Golf Championships concluded on Sunday in Tunica, Miss. The senior fired a 76 on the last round for a tournament total of 221. In a nerve-wracking final day, Tennessee was just two shots shy of joining Auburn and Georgia in a playoff to determine the champion. Following the third-round score of 303, UT's team total of 906 matched LSU to tie for fourth place while Auburn and Georgia sat at 904. Entering Sunday, the Lady Vols had trailed LSU by seven strokes and Georgia by 10.
Shepley's finish ties as the sixth best in UT history and improves upon her previous high of fourth place at the SECs which came last year. The Oakville, Ontario, native had an impressive showing in her final league championships with the Lady Vols, as she made par of better in 48 of the 54 holes.
Sarah Bonner-Shanks (Kingsport, Tenn.) turned in a one-below-par 71 on Sunday, the second-lowest closing-round score in school history. It also matches her collegiate low. After a challenging first day in which she carded an 85, the senior responded nicely during the final two rounds to conclude the event with a season-low total of 230. She claimed a tie for 22nd place, an improbable move up from her standing of 58th after the first round.
Golda Johansson (Lund, Sweden) also proved her mental toughness by overcoming a first-round score of 79 to finish with tallies of 76 and 75 to end the event. Following a front nine of 40 on Sunday, the junior focused in down the stretch to make par for eight straight holes before concluding with a birdie on the 18th. She matched Bonner-Shanks' tally of 230 to join her deadlocked at 22nd.
Violeta Retamoza (Aguascalientes, Mexico) concluded the tournament with a total of 233 as she carded an 81 on the final round while freshman Marci Turner (Tompkinsville, Ky) wrapped up her initial league championships with a score of 242, after she shot an 83 on Sunday. The junior finished tied for 30th while Turner was tied for 51st.
Next up, the Big Orange will await the decision of the selection committee to determine its destination for the NCAA Regional Tournament. The hosts of this year's regional championships are Florida (Gainesville, Fla.), New Mexico State (Las Cruces, N.M), and Texas Tech (Lubbock, Texas).