Lady Dogs 11th at NCAAs
The No. 14 Georgia women's golf team turned in its best round of the 2003 NCAA Championships on the final day of play. In fact, the Lady Bulldogs' tally of 4-over 292 was the second-best round of all 24 teams during in the final day of competition at Purdue's Birck Boiler-maker Golf Complex.
Despite their late heroics, the Lady Dogs climbed only one spot in the field and finished 11th at 1226. Georgia fell just one stroke shy of a sixth consecutive top-10 national finish.
"I'm extremely proud of the way we played, but at the same time, I'm so disappointed we didn't get into the top-10," Todd McCorkle said. "It sounds odd because our goal is and always will be to compete for the national championship, but I just wanted to get into that top-10."
For most of the round, a top-10 effort seemed improbable. Though Georgia played solid throughout the day, the Lady Bulldogs still trailed Auburn and Duke by double-digits at the turn.
Georgia, which teed off from No. 10, then caught fire and played No. 3-No. 7 at 6-under. Almost simultaneously, Auburn, which teed of from No. 1, played No. 11-No. 15 at 10-over. That swing briefly put the Lady Bulldogs ahead of the Tigers.
However, Georgia gave back two of those strokes on its final two holes while Auburn recovered to play No. 17 and No. 18 at even par and regain a two-shot lead over the Lady Dogs.
An hour after they left the course, UGA almost slipped into the top-10 once again.
Duke, which was playing with the next wave of teams, maintained a five-stroke lead over the Lady Dogs when Georgia finished. The Blue Devils played the last three holes at 4-over and only stayed ahead of the Lady Dogs with a par from Oui Nirapathpongporn on the last hole.
Though they fell short of their sixth straight top-10 spot, the Lady Bulldogs' average finish at the last six NCAAs still remains an impressive 6.0.
Georgia should be much improved next season. In addition to the return of four-fifths of this year's post-season lineup, McCorkle will welcome three junior standouts who comprise one of the nation's top-ranked recruiting classes.
"I just can't wait to get started," McCorkle said. "Next year, we'll be a much more experienced team, and we'll have a lot more depth. The future of this program is so bright."
Georgia's tail of two seasons
Todd McCorkle expected the 2002-03 season to include some growing pains. Georgia's lineup included three freshmen for a majority of the season as the Lady Bulldogs competed against the toughest schedule in the nation.
After struggling mightily during the fall and the first tournament of the spring, Georgia looked much more like the perennial powerhouse Lady Dogs of old during the second half of the campaign.
"The thing that's so rewarding is that we have struggled somewhat this season," McCorkle said. "We have addressed some of those issues and then to see it all come together when it was a do-or-die situation says a lot about our team."
# A record-setting Regional Georgia's third-round score of 2-under 281 and the Lady Dogs' 54-hole tally of 865 at the East Regional equaled the second-best marks in school history - only a 278 in the second round of the 1988 SEC Championships and a 864 at the '88 SECs are better.
Overall, the outing was perhaps the best overall team showing in Lady Bulldogs annals. For the first time ever, every Lady Dog golfer carded a score of 77 or better during all three rounds of play.
Earlier this spring, every Georgia golfer posted a score of 78 or better in all three rounds of the Liz Murphey Collegiate - only the third time in school history (and the first time in nearly two decades) that the Lady Bulldogs had done so.
Froelich, Sirmons earn honors
Kelly Froelich and Summer Sirmons were named second-team All-SEC.
Sirmons became only UGA's fifth four-time All-SEC performer in women's golf. She also was tabbed second-team in 1999 was well as first-team in 2001 and 2002.
Froelich became the first Lady Bulldog freshman to post a top-20 NCAA individual finish since 1997 when she tied for 19th at Purdue.