April 18, 2009
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. -- Led by a spectacular round by senior Nicole Smith and a hole-in-one by junior Ginny Brown, the Tennessee women's golf team fired a 293 (+9) on Saturday at the Cobblestone Park Golf Club and are in fourth-place at the 2009 SEC Championship.
The Lady Vols head into Sunday's final round with a total score of 295-293=588 (+20), and will tee off from the first hole at 8 a.m on the par-71 6,156-yard course. UT is six shots behind tournament leader Arkansas (582). Auburn (585) and LSU (587) hold the second and third positions on the leaderboard.
"We are in great position," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "Six shots back is nothing on this course. We are definitely capable of making that up. There are six teams right in this that can still win, and we are glad to be one of them."
UT will tee off with fifth-place Alabama (591) and sixth-place Georgia (592).
After firing a 5-over 76 for the first round on Friday, Smith carded five birdies en route to a 2-under 69 - tied for the second best round of the day - on Saturday. The Riverside, Calif., native is tied for ninth with a total score of 76-69=145 (+3) heading into the final round of her last conference tournament.
"Nicole really had it going today," Pavon said. "She finished with a couple of bogeys otherwise her score would have been unbelievable. We really needed her score. She was really determined today and I'm really proud of here."
Smith, Tennessee's lone senior, finished seventh at the 2006 SEC Championship and 14th in 2007. She missed last season's tournament and the 2008 fall season because of injury. She is using the lost time as motivation in her final conference tournament.
"That's what's driving me," Smith said. "I want to leave the biggest impact on Tennessee I can. I'm going to fight as hard as I can tomorrow and hopefully I can light the same fire under everybody else on my team."
Brown had the shot of the tournament, making a hole-in-one on the par-three, 140-yard 11th hole. The Austin, Texas, native used an 8-iron off the tee and hit the ball over the water before it took one hop and rolled into the hole. It was her second eagle at an SEC tournament as she holed in from the fairway on the par-four 16th at the 2008 conference championship.
"It was awesome," Brown said. "I hit an OK shot - I pulled it a little bit. I knew it was a hole-in-one when I saw my parents and everybody by the hole cheering. I holed out on the fairway at SECs last year, too."
Brown finished the round 1-over-par and is tied for 11th in the tournament with a total score of 74-72=146 (+4).
Freshman Nathalie Mansson carded a 76 on Saturday. She is still tied for 17th after two days, though, with a total score of 147 (+5).
Junior Diana Cantú also shot a 76 for the second round and her total of 74-76=150 (+8) puts her in a tie for 25th.
Sophomore Lauren Spurlock took a stroke off her first round score from Friday and is tied for 34th with a 77-76=153 (+11) total.
Georgia freshman Marta Silva fired a 4-under 67 to grab the individual lead with a 139 (-3) total, just ahead of Arkansas' Lucy Nunn (140) and South Carolina's Benedicte Toumpsin (141).
The Lady Vols have chance to become the first UT women's golf team to win the SEC Championship on Sunday. Tennessee has finished runner-up three times (1993, 1999 and 2006).
UTLadyvols.com will be maintaining live scoring throughout final round on Sunday.
|Lady Vol Placements|
|T9.||Nicole Smith||76-69=145 (+3)|
|T11.||Ginny Brown||74-72=146 (+4)|
|T17.||Nathalie Mansson||71-76=147 (+5)|
|T25.||Diana Cantú||74-76=150 (+8)|
|T34.||Lauren Spurlock||77-76=153 (+11)|
|T7.||South Carolina||299-300=599 (+31)|
|12.||Mississippi State||318-307=624 (+57))|