Lady Bulldogs Record Fifth Straight Top-10 Finish at NCAA's
Playing some of their best golf of the season at the perfect time, the Georgia women's golf team finished fifth at the 2002 NCAA Championships at the Washington National Golf Club in suburban Seattle.
The Lady Bulldogs posted a 1,176 tally over the 72-hole event, ironically the same score Georgia recorded in winning the national title the previous spring. Considering the Lady Dogs replaced a two-time All-American and a four-time All-SEC selection from its NCAA Championship squad with a pair of freshman, it would be hard to call the finish at nationals anything but an amazing achievement.
"I think the expectation at the University of Georgia is to go out and compete for a national championship, and we did that," head coach Todd McCorkle said. "This team fought through a lot of adversity and to finish fifth at the NCAAs is a real testament of their character."
As was the case throughout the 2001-02 campaign, senior Angela Jerman and junior Summer Sirmons carried the battle flag for the Lady Bulldogs. Sirmons tied for second individually at 4-under 284 mark, while Jerman placed sixth at 3-under 285.
Those represented eighth top-10 individual finish for Jerman and the seventh such performance for Sirmons during in 11 tournaments in 2001-02. It also represented only the second time two Lady Bulldogs finished among top-10 individuals at the NCAA Championships. In 1999, Shauna Estes finished third and Reilley Rankin placed ninth to lead Georgia to a runner-up showing.
Angela Jerman, Summer Sirmons Earn Accolades Galore
Georgia coach Todd McCorkle called his tandem of Angela Jerman and Summer Sirmons the best 1-2 combination in women's college golf. Judging by their post-season honors, most people agreed.
Jerman and Sirmons were named All-America by the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) following the NCAA Championships. At the SEC Championships, Jerman was tabbed SEC Golfer of the Year while she and Sirmons both were named to the first-team All-SEC squad.
Jerman was a first-team All-America selection while Sirmons was a second-team choice. Both golfers became two-time All-Americans in the process. Jerman and Sirmons were second-team honorees in 1999 and 2001, respectively. Jerman and Sirmons became the ninth and 10th Lady Bulldogs to earn All-America recognition multiple times and upped Georgia's tally of all-time All-Americans to 31 since 1980
Spring Brings Stellar Team Play
The Lady Bulldogs enjoyed a strong string of success during the 2002 calendar portion of their campaign. After a disappointing finish at the TRW Regional Challenge, Georgia rallied to post top-five showings in five of its last six tournaments.
Georgia's performance at the NCAA Championships also lowered the Lady Bulldogs' team stroke average to 299.58 on the year – fourth-best in school history. With four straight sub-300 scores at the NCAAs, the Lady Dogs finished the season with 300-or-better tallies in 15 of their final 16 rounds of play. During that span, Georgia recorded a stellar stroke average of 295.75.
More For the Record Books
Angela Jerman needed just an 80 in her final round of collegiate golf to break the Georgia single-season stroke average record. By shooting a 2-under 70 in the final round of the NCAAs, Jerman shattered the mark she was chasing.
The Columbus, Ga., native finished the 2001-02 season with a stroke average of 72.91 over 33 rounds of play. That broke Reilley Rankin's record of 73.24 established the previous spring.
Summer Sirmons finished the year with a 73.52 average which ranks fifth all-time in Lady Bulldog annals.