Oct. 23, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- The 19th-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer golf team fired its second-lowest closing round in program history while competing at the Mercedes-Benz (293) to earn a solid fifth-place showing as the tournament concluded Sunday afternoon at Cherokee Country Club. Marci Turner carded a three-under-par 68, the best round by any player in the event, to lead the way for the Big Orange and earn runner-up honors (215) behind Arkansas' Amanda McCurdy (213).
Overall, No. 4 Georgia claimed the team title with the fourth-lowest score in tournament history (882), which allowed it to hold off No. 6 Purdue by three strokes. It is the second Mercededs-Benz crown for UGA, as it was also victorious in 2000.
"Purdue and Arkansas are the two most improved teams in the country." Georgia head coach Todd McCorkle said. "They have had great years to this point. To get a win against such a good field is very satisfying."
McCurdy's tally of 213 is the fourth-best effort in the annals of the event. She broke par on two of her three rounds, including turning in two-below-par 69 on Sunday.
"It means a lot to me to win," McCurdy said. "I had a rough tournament last year, so to come back this year and win is very satisfying. I like this course, but I just love this town and love this atmosphere."
As far as the Lady Vols, they improved their score for the third straight day to hold on to fifth place. Tennessee's three-round score of 899 is its second-lowest sum recorded at the Mercedes.
"We played a lot better today," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "We are getting close to where we need to be. Holly playing so well is great for the team. We just need to get all five players going well."
Turner had a sparkling start to the round. The Tompkinsville, Ky., native made a pair of pars before sinking consecutive birdie putts. Turner followed that up with three pars and a birdie, and headed to the back nine at two-under par for the day. She moved to three under following a terrific tee shot at the par-three 10th which allowed her to drain another birdie.
Down the stretch with the tournament title still in grasp, Turner kept the pressure on by sinking six pars along with one birdie. Her score of 68 ties as the fifth lowest in event history, while the tournament total of 215 matches the second lowest in program annals by a UT sophomore.
Holly Cantwell (Morristown, Tenn.) continued her strong play. The junior played the front nine at one-over par, compiling four pars to go along with two birdies. Cantwell remained steady, carding four pars and a birdie at the first six holes of the back nine. With three to play, Cantwell kept her focus by drilling two additional par putts. Her 54-hole total of 227 placed her in a tie for 24th.
Nicole Smith (Riverside, Calif.) displayed her mental toughness on Sunday, as she overcame a second-round 93. The freshman had a challenging front nine with two bogeys and a double to head to No. 10 at four over. Smith bogeyed the hole, but pulled herself together for the stretch run. On the strength of a long tee shot she reached the green in two at the par-five 11th, knocking two strokes off her scorecard by sinking an eagle putt.
Smith then poured in two consecutive birdies, which were followed by three straight pars to stand at one over on the round with three holes to play. She made pars at 16 and 17 before running into trouble with a triple bogey at 18. It was still a solid overall effort by Smith, as she carded a four-over-par 75. The three-round sum of 246 placed Smith in 71st.
2005 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Violeta Retamoza (Aguascalientes, Mexico) started the round with a par before double bogeying the second hole. A bogey on four was sandwiched by two pars, although the All-American ran into trouble at No. 8 with another double bogey. After making the turn at four over Retamoza regained control of her round by making par at three of the next four holes. She finished the day with a score of 78 to bring her total to 238. Retamoza concluded play alone in 56th place.
Golda Johansson (Lund, Sweden) recorded an 85 on the day. Her 54-hole sum of 232 placed the senior in a tie for 43rd. Although Johansson had a challenging final round, her efforts the previous two days (75-72) played a crucial role in Tennessee's fifth-place finish.
Jennifer Davis (Seymour, Tenn.), competing as an individual, carded a 97 on Sunday and finished in 75th with a score of 270. Tennessee returns to action from Nov. 4-6 when it will compete at the Auburn Tiger Derby Invitational in Auburn, Ala.