2008 Season Review
Post-Season Finishes: 3rd at SECs; t-10th at NCAA Championships Final Rankings: No. 7 by Golfweek; No. 9 by Golfstat
Bulldogs post another top-10 finish
Though Georgia has long been a nation-al power in women's golf, the Bulldogs are currently in the midst of arguably their most successful run at the national cham-pionships. Georgia tied for 10th at the 2008 NCAAs in Albuquerque, N.M. - the Bulldogs' 20th top-10 finish since 1979 and their even more impressive ninth such effort in the last 11 years.
The Bulldogs hovered around that standing throughout the four rounds at the national championships. Georgia was tied for 11th after the first round and in ninth place following the second and third rounds. The Dogs shot their low loop of the tourney (6-over 294) on the last day of competition but still slipped a spot into a tie for 10th overall. "We didn't come out here looking to finish 10th, but I'm pleased with how we finished with our best round today," head coach Kelley Hester said. "Overall, you can't help but think what if would've been like this week if we would've putted like we had been putting the rest of the year. It's easy now, from the outside looking in, to count up some strokes that would've made a difference in our team finish."
Senior Garrett Phillips wrapped up her career by placing third individually at the NCAAs. Phillips completed play at 1-over 289 and nearly captured medalist honors. On her final hole, a par-5, the St. Simons Island, Ga., native hit her second shot with 12 feet of the cup. Had she con-verted her eagle, Phillips would have won Georgia's fourth individual national title. Unfortunately, she four-putted.
"Garrett played very consistently throughout the tournament, and I couldn't be prouder of her," Hester said.
Phillips posted Georgia's the 35th top-20 and 20th top-10 individual finish at the national championships all-time. Dog duo tabbed All-SEC, All-America Garrett Phillips and Krystle Caith-ness garnered honorable mention All-America honors from both the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) and Golfweek Magazine. Caithness and Phillips tied for team-high honors with four top-10 and six top-20 individual finishes during the season.
Caithness led the Bulldogs with 11 par-or-better rounds during the 2007-08 campaign and posted a best individual effort of fourth at the NCAA East Regional. Phillips recorded a team-best stroke average of 74.15 and also led Georgia with 92.6 percent counting rounds. Two of her four top-10s came during NCAA com- petition. Phillips tied for 10th at the East Regional and finished third at the NCAA Championships while averaging 72.71 in seven NCAA rounds.
Caithness and Phillips became the 24th and 25th Bulldogs to garner All-America honors. Those golfers have combinined to earn 50 All-America certificates. Caithness and Phillips also were named second-team All-SEC, while Caithness was tabbed to the All-SEC Freshman squad as well. Bulldog golfers were standouts in the classroom, too.
Alina Lee and Innapha Tantanavivat were named to the NGCA's All-American Scholar Team. Lee, Tantanavivat and Carolina Andrade were tabbed to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Caithness goes on a hot streak
Freshman Krystle Caithness was one of the nation's hottest players over the last two months of the season.
Following the UCF Challenge, Caithness was listed at No. 96 in the nation in the March 11 edition of the Golfstat Cup individual rankings. Five days later, Caithness wrapped up her first career top-10 individual effort, a fifth-place showing at the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic. That began a stretch in which Caithness posted four top-10s in a six-tourney span. And she was in position for a fifth top-10 at Arizona State before a disastrous final round. During that span, Caithness ascended to No. 46 in the final Golfstat Cup rankings.
Protecting the home turf
Georgia's late-season upswing received a major boost with the Bulldogs' victory at the 36th annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens.
Georgia, which was ranked No. 13 at the time, entered the final round with three-stroke lead before No. 6 Purdue used a late surge to tie the Bulldogs atop the leaderboard and force a playoff. Georgia clinched the team title by posting four pars on the second hole of sudden death.
"It's very important to play well late in the year," Hester said, "and I'm sure this is going to give us a boost. I feel like we play well on difficult golf courses, and this was certainly a team effort, which was good to see."
The win was Georgia's 13th team title in its home event, one of the oldest women's intercollegiate events in any sport.