The No. 15-ranked Georgia women's golf finished, appropriately enough, in 15th place at the 2009 NCAA Championships at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mill, Md. The Bulldogs slipped one position on the leaderboard from the start of the final round.
"We struggled with the putter early, and we just couldn't seem to get it going," head coach Kelley Hester said. "I'm proud of them. They represented Georgia and themselves well. This is sort of where I thought we'd be. It would've been great if we could've moved past a few people, but 15th is good with a blue-collar group of golfers."
Senior Mallory Hetzel capped her collegiate career with an even-par 72 to lead Georgia.
"Mal played very well in her final collegiate round, and I was very pleased she was go able to got out with a strong effort," Hester said.
Overall, Marta Silva Zamora finished tied for 25th at 300, Hetzel finished tied for 48th at 305, Carolina Andrade finished tied for 75th at 312, Tess Fordham finished 118th at 329 and Leigh Crosby finished 123rd at 335.
Georgia failed on its attempt to record a 10th top-10 finish in the last dozen years. Still, the Bulldogs recorded their 25th top-20 performance in the last 31 years.
A record-breaking performance Georgia broke its school record for a 54-hole tournament score and wrapped up a wire-to-wire victory at the College of Charleston's Cougar Classic on Sept. 16.
The Bulldogs' 6-under 858 bested both the relation-to-par and gross score school records. The previous marks were 4-under at the 1999 Liz Murphey Collegiate and an 862 at the 2006 Stanford Intercollegiate.
Individually, Marta Silva Zamora finished third at 6-under 210, and Mallory Hetzel, the first- and second-round leader, placed fourth at 5-under 211. Silva's effort equaled the fifth-best relation-to-par performance in Georgia history, while Hetzel tied the ninth-best mark.
Silva Zamora captures SEC title Marta Silva Zamora earned individual medalist honors at the 2009 SEC Championship at Cobblestone Park Golf Club. She fired an even-par 71 in the final round to finish at 3-under 210 and secure a four-stroke victory.
With the win, Georgia has now produced eight SEC individual champions all time. That tally ties Florida for the most in conference history. All told, the Bulldogs have captured a league-leading 19 SEC titles in women's golf - 11 team championships in addition to the eight individual crowns.
Silva Zamora joined Shauna Estes and Reilley Rankin to become the third Bulldog freshmen to secure the SEC individual title.
"I came here to play like a normal tournament, and I just played very good," Silva Zamora said. "I wasn't playing with other girls who were close so I just went out thinking 'Play your game, do the best that you can and don't get nervous.' I couldn't control what the other girls were doing. I didn't even know what the other girls were doing."
Silva Zamora, Hetzel headline slew of honors post-season honors
Freshman Marta Silva Zamora and senior Mallory Hetzel led a plethora of accolades accumulated by Georgia golfers.
Most notably, both Silva Zamora and Hetzel were tabbed as All-Americans by both Golfweek and the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA). Silva Zamora was a third-team pick by Golfweek and an honorable mention selection of the NGCA, while Hetzel was an honorable mention choice of both.
In addition, Silva Zamora was tabbed the SEC Freshman of the Year. She and Hetzel also were named first-team All-SEC, while Carolina Andrade was tabbed second-team All-SEC and also was honored on the league's Community Service Team for women's golf.
Silva Zamora is Georgia's league-best eighth SEC Freshman of the Year honoree in women's golf. She joined Tina Paternostro (1989), Luciana Bemvenuti (1991), Vicki Goetze (1992), Erin O'Neil (1994), Shauna Estes (1997), Reilley Rankin (1998) and Taylor Leon (2006).
Hetzel was named All-SEC for the second time in her career. She was a second-team choice as a freshman in 2006.
Andrade was the only Georgia golfer to produce counting scores in all 31 rounds played during the 2008-09 campaign. Andrade, the team's representative on UGA's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), was named to the Community Service team for the second consecutive year.
An emotional win for Hetzel
Mallory Hetzel shared medalist honors with teammate Marta Silva Zamora after birdieing three of the last five holes in the final round of the UNLV Spring Invitational on March 11.
The victory completed an extremely emotional six-day span for Hetzel. She traveled to Las Vegas a day after the unexpected death of her uncle, Patrick Hetzel, the younger brother of her father, Doug.
"Mallory played with a very heavy heart," Kelley Hester said. "The first thing she said when she won was that she wished her dad could have been here to see it. She dedicated the win to her uncle in the awards ceremony and I know it meant a lot to her to play well here in his honor."
Hetzel was playing in the group ahead of Silva Zamora, the first- and second-round leader, and battled down the stretch.
Hetzel moved into a tie after consecutive birdies at 14 and 15, but Silva Zamora birdied 15 moments later. Silva Zamora bogeyed 16 to fall back to a tie; however, she birdied 17 to regain an edge.
Hetzel knotted the score with a birdie at 18 before Silva Zamora's eight-foot birdie putt on the closing hole that would have secured an outright win lipped out.
Everyone gets a chance to play The surprise departure of Krystle Caithness in October left Georgia with only five scholarship golfers for the remainder of the 2008-09 campaign. The sophomore from St. Andrews, Scotland opted to return home and turn pro.
"Krystle has been a valuable member of our team and we will certainly miss her," Hester said. "We wish her the best as she returns home to pursue a professional career."
Caithness attended qualifying school for the Ladies European Tour (LET) in January and placed seventh overall.