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    SEC Women's Golf in the NCAA Tournament - Thursday

    Gamecocks Set to Contend on Final Day at NCAA Championship

    FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The South Carolina women’s golf team has moved into position to contend for the program’s first national title after shooting a third-round 300 (+12) on Thursday at the 2012 NCAA Championship at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

    With the course playing extremely difficult, the Gamecocks made up ground to climb into a tie for third place with a total of 883 (+19). Carolina is just six strokes back of tournament leader Alabama. The Crimson Tide posted an 18-over 286 on Thursday and has a three-round score of 877 (+13). Southern California is in second with a score of 879.

    “It was quite windy out and the greens were very, very firm,” South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said. “It was hard to get the ball close. It took a lot of gauging of how the greens would react. We hung in there as well as we could and are still in a great position. I was real proud of what we did today.”

    Senior Katie Burnett led the way with a 2-over 74 as she remains in contention for the individual title in a tie for fifth with a total of 215 (-1). She is just three shots back of co-leaders Chirapat Jao-Javanil (Oklahoma) and Giulia Molinaro (Arizona State), who are at 4-under with a total of 212.

    Burnett had an up and down front side, recording three bogeys, a birdie and five pars to make the turn at 2-over. Despite the winds picking up in the afternoon and the greens becoming less receptive, she finished strong by shooting even-par 36 on the back nine.

    Junior Meredith Swanson and freshman Justine Dreher each shot a 3-over 75. Swanson jumped into a tie for 27th with a score of 222 (+6), while Dreher is tied for 77th with a total of 229 (+13).

    Swanson came up big early for the Gamecocks with three birdies and four pars on her first seven holes. She bogeyed the eighth hole to begin a rough stretch that included seven bogeys in nine holes to drop to 4-over but she drained a 10-foot putt on No. 18 to finish strong.

    Dreher seemed to be headed for a high score after a rough start that included double bogeys on the second and third holes and a bogey on the eighth to drop to 5-over. However, she turned it around quickly with three straight birdies to play 2-under for the remainder of her round.

    Junior Amanda Strang carded a 4-over 76 and is in a tie for 40th with a score of 224 (+8). Strang recorded two birdies, six bogeys and 10 pars for her round. Sophomore Suzie Lee turned in a 9-over 81 and is in a tie for 82nd with a score of 230 (+14).

    Purdue and Virginia are tied with the Gamecocks for third place with a score of 883, while LSU (884), North Carolina (885), Arizona State (887), UCLA (888) and Oklahoma (888) round out the top 10.

    “Our message tomorrow is to just relax and stick to our game plan and stay tough out there,” Harris said. “I think it will be very similar conditions. We just need to stay committed on every shot and add them up at the end.”

    The Gamecocks will tee off in the final round on Friday beginning at 11:50 a.m. CT and are paired with Virginia and LSU. Live scoring and live video of the ninth and 18th holes will be available at NCAA.com.

    Alabama Women’s Golf Still in the Lead at NCAA Golf Championships
     
    FRANKLIN, Tenn.  – The second-ranked Alabama women’s golf team struggled on the closing holes of the third round Thursday at the NCAA Championships and finished with an 18-over-par round of 306 on the par-72, 6,264-yard North Course at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.
     
    The Crimson Tide (+13, 877) is two-shots better than Southern California (879), who shot 6-over 294 on Thursday, with Purdue, Virginia and South Carolina tied for third at 19-over 883. LSU is sixth at 20-over 884 while North Carolina (885), Arizona State (887), UCLA (888) and Oklahoma (888) round out the top 10.
     
    The back nine, particularly the final four holes, proved to be the biggest obstacle for the Crimson Tide in round three. Alabama’s top four-players shot 10-over on the final four holes and saw a 15-shot lead, with the Tide’s No. 5 player in the fairway on the 17th, dissipate to two shots as the final putt dropped on 18.
     
    Alabama head coach Mic Potter addressed the team following the round and reinforced that a tremendous opportunity remains in front of the Crimson Tide with the lead heading into Friday’s final round.
     
    “The thing we need to do is stay positive, work on whatever went wrong, and see if we can get better by tomorrow,” Potter said. “Then come out and play a little more lose, a little more confident.”
     
    Senior Brooke Pancake, who held the 36-hole individual lead, was working on a 1-under-par round Thursday through 14 holes before back-to-back double bogeys on the 14th and 15th marred an otherwise solid 16 holes to finish at 3-over 75. She is 3-under 213 for the tournament and tied for third, one shot back of Oklahoma’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil and Arizona State’s Giulia Molinaro.
     
    “I made two pretty careless mistakes that definitely killed me,” Pancake said. “I can’t ponder on those and let it change my mind set for tomorrow. I’ve had two good rounds that put me in the position I’m in, and hopefully I can get another good one in tomorrow and finish well.”
     
    Jennifer Kirby shot 2-over 74 in the third round to move into a tie for 11th at 3-over 219. The junior was level par going into the 16th where she hit it into the water and made double bogey. Kirby then made bogey the 17th, but finished strong with a birdie on the 18th.
     
    Stephanie Meadow was Alabama’s third score at 6-over 78 and is tied for 17th at 4-over 220 over 54 holes. Courtney McKim also counted toward the Tide’s score on Thursday with a 79. Hannah Collier was the drop score at 80.
     
    “I think down the line, 1 through 5, we were holding on a little too tight all day,” Potter said. “It is human nature to try to protect a lead. I don’t know why it is that way because it almost always jumps up and bites you.”
     
    Alabama will play in the lead group in Friday’s final round with Southern California and Purdue. The Tide will tee off at 12:56 p.m. at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

    Tough day on the links for Razorbacks
                
    FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Scoring temperatures and shifting winds made a tough golf course tougher for the University of Arkansas in third round action at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at the Legends Course in Franklin, Tenn.
                
    The Razorbacks posted a 21 over 309 in the third round for a 913 (303-301-309) in the four-day tournament.  Play concludes with the final round Friday.  Arkansas is 21st overall.
                
    “Ah it was a tough one for us,” said Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor.  “We just didn’t quite get the breaks we needed today.  It’s a hard golf course and requires a lot of precision and we didn’t quite have it today.”
                
    Sophomore Emily Podzielinski continues to play well shooting a team-best 76 in the third round.  Podzielinski is in the clubhouse with a 226 (78-72-76).
                
    The Noblesville, Ind., native, turned at two-over and birdied 10 and 11 moving to even for the day.
                
    “I got off to a good start and turned two-over then I birdied the next two and it was really exciting,” Podzielinski said.  “Things just didn’t’ go my way coming it.  It was just one of those days.  Have to think of every shot as my last and leave everything out there. “
                
    Podzielinski hit a pair of good drives on both 10 and 11.  She left herself a tough putt on 10 but drained in for a three on the par four 382 yard hole.  Another good drive on 11 followed by a second shot that came within five feet of the pin allowed Podzielinski to drain the putt and count a three on the par four 362 yard 11th hole.  Podzielinski is tied for 54th overall.
                
    “Pods has a great spirit out on the golf course,” Estes-Taylor said.  “It doesn’t matter where her ball goes she just makes something happen and I love that.  She did a fantastic job the last two days.”
                
    Sophomore Emily Tubert leads the team with a 224 (73-74-77) but struggled with an uncharacteristic round that including five bogeys on the back nine.  Tubert turned even but stumbled on 10 and 11 followed by bogeys on 13, 14 and 16 to finish the day.  Tubert is tied for 40th overall.
                
    The four counting players were plus 14 for the day on the back nine.
                
    Sophomore Emma Lavy has a three-round 230 (75-77-78) heading into the last day of play.  The Fayetteville, Ark., native opened with back-to-back bogies on holes one and two but settled in playing the next eight holes even.  Lavy didn’t make it easy on herself, hitting a good tee shot on five but her ball rolled away from the cup on the hard and fast greens.
                
    She had a 60 foot putt and put it close enough to two putt and save par.  She seemed to be in trouble again on the sixth hole after leaving her second shot below the hole in the fringe, but Lavy chipped up hitting the three foot putt for par.  Lavy is tied for 82nd overall.
                
    Junior Victoria Vela finished the day with a 78 for 233 (77-78-78).  Vela was plus three on each side.  Vela is tied for 101st overall.
                
    Freshman Hally Leadbetter rounded out the Razorback scoring.  Leadbetter is in the clubhouse with a 238 (79-80-79).  Leadbetter doubled her first hole but rallied with a birdie on the second.  She bogeyed three of the next six holes before getting a birdie on No. 9 turning three over.
                
    Her back nine looked similar with three bogeys, a double and one birdie for the round.  Leadbetter is tied for 119th overall.
                
    “Tomorrow’s a new day and we’re going to lay it all on the line and see what happens,” Estes-Taylor said.  “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  We have all of the tools and want to go out and fun in the last round of the National Championship.”
                
    Second-ranked Alabama continues to lead the field.  The Crimson Tide have a two stroke lead over No. 3 Southern California at 877.  There is a three-way tie for third with No. 33 Purdue, No. 25 South Carolina and No. 27 Virginia with 883.  Seventh-ranked LSU is sixth with 884, followed by No. 6 North Carolina at 885, No. 5 Arizona State with 887 and No. 1 UCLA and No. 26 Oklahoma tied for ninth with 888.

    Sanchez Lobato Posts 75 At NCAAs

    FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Rocio Sanchez Lobato notched her second consecutive 3-over 75 at the NCAA Women's Golf Championships on Thursday, placing the Georgia freshman at 8-over 224 entering Friday's final round at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

    Sanchez Lobato began the day at 53rd on the individual leaderboard but ascended 12 spots to 40th after the round.

    "The conditions were tough again," head coach Kelley Hester said. "The greens were firm even though we had the morning tee time, and looking at the hole location sheet before the day even started, we knew it was going to be a tough one. She navigated the course pretty well. She had three birdies but did have a double, her first of the tournament. Overall, I thought she played fairly well today."

    Sanchez Lobato teed off from No. 10 and played the back side of the course first. She slipped to 2-over following bogeys at No. 11 and No. 13 but gained a stroke back with a birdie at No. 14. After another bogey at No. 16, Sanchez Lobato birdied No. 17 and turned at 1-over.

    The freshman from Marbella, Spain, bogeyed No. 1 and double-bogeyed No. 4 to fall to 4-over but regrouped well. She converted short par putts on No. 5 and No. 6 before a birdie at the par-5 No. 7 and closed out her day with two more par putts of less than five feet.

    "I played pretty solid today, I just had two bad holes," Sanchez Lobato said. "The rest I think I played pretty good. I didn't make as many pars and birdies as I wanted to, but I still played pretty good."

    Sanchez Lobato will play in the afternoon wave on Friday, teeing off at 12:45 CT from No. 1.



    Thomas Solid for UT but Lady Vols fall to 22nd at NCAAs


    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A 2-over 74 performance from sophomore Chessey Thomas anchored the No. 14-ranked Tennessee women's golf team Thursday during third round action at the 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championship.

    The Lady Vols turned in a team score of 307 – 19 over par – for the second consecutive round and sit in 22nd position heading into the tournament’s final round.

    "Today was another disappointing round for us,” head coach Judi Pavon noted. "I am hoping we can go out and play well and have a good round to finish as a team tomorrow."

    Opening the day on the back side at the par-72 Vanderbilt Legends Club course, Thomas strung together eight pars before birdieing No. 18 to make the turn at one under par. The Spokane, Wash., native was even through 16 holes, but found herself in trouble on No. 8 and picked up a double bogey on the par four on her way in.

    Thomas and senior Nathalie Mansson have been Tennessee’s most consistent players at the national championship, sharing 71st place with three-day totals of 228 (+12).

    Mansson found herself under par early in the third round, making birdie on the par 4 No. 11, but immediately negated her advantage with a double bogey on No. 12. The Lady Vol veteran recorded three birdies in the round, but was plagued by bogeys, making seven on the day. She finished Thursday’s round at 78 (+6).  

    Junior Erica Popson turned in her second straight 4-over 76 performance in the third round. Even through 13 holes, the Davenport, Fla., product picked up back-to-back bogeys on No. 5 and No. 6 before counting six strokes on the par four No. 8. She will enter the final round tied for 77th place.

    Rounding out the Lady Vol performers on day three were freshman AJ Newell and junior Sara Monberg. Newell, who followed a day-two 83 with a 7-over 79, is tied for 115th, while Monberg added a round three 81 for a 233 total and a share of 101st place.

    No. 2 Alabama will head into the final round of the NCAA Championship tournament atop the leader board at 13-over 877 and hold a two stroke lead over second place Southern California going into Friday’s final round.

    Oklahoma’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil and Arizona State’s Giulia Molinaro are tied atop the individual leaderboard at 4-under 212.

    The Orange and White will start Friday's final round from the 10th hole at 7:33 a.m. CT in a group with Ohio State and Stanford.