Silva Zamora reaches NCAA finals but Bulldogs fall short of making team field
Marta Silva Zamora fired an even-par 72 in the final round of the NCAA Central Regional to secure an individual spot in the NCAA Championships. Unfortunately, Georgia slipped to 11th in the Regional's team field and fell six strokes shy of advancing to the nationals.
"We just didn't play well," head coach Kelley Hester said. "We did not handle a tough golf course or the difficult conditions. It's 40 degrees and the wind is blowing about 20-25 miles an hour. We really got off to a slow start and then struggled throughout the round."
Silva Zamora placed third overall to garner one of two individual spots in the nationals.
The Regional ended the career of Carolina Andrade, Georgia's lone senior in the lineup, and represented just the second time since 1998 that the Bulldogs have not competed at the NCAA Championships.
"I'm sad for Carolina that this is how she's going to end her college career," Hester said. "We're a young team, and we should learn from this. This certainly gives us some of the things in general to work on when things are tough."
A day away from a very strong showing
Marta Silva Zamora tied for 33rd at the NCAA Championships after finishing the 72-hole event at 6-over 294.
After rounds of 72 and 73 left her in 18th place on the leaderboard, Silva Zamora's bid for a top-10 finish was undone with a 6-over 78 in the third round. That dropped her to 41st.
Silva Zamora bounced back with a 1-under 71, her low loop of the tournament, on the final day to ascend eight spots on the leaderboard.
"It was a weird week," Silva Zamora said after the final round. "I putted really bad all week. The rest of my game was better than my putting, but I didn't hit it well the first three days. This morning, I really figured my swing out and I hit it a lot straighter today. Still, I didn't take advantage of most of the birdie chances I had. The birdies just didn't go in all week. That frustrates me a lot."
A pair of All-America honorees
Marta Silva Zamora was tabbed All-America by both the National Golf Coaches Association and Golfweek Magazine, while Emilie Burger was named as such by Golfweek.
Silva Zamora was a first-team selection by the NGCA and second-choice of Golfweek. She produced the second-best stroke average in Georgia women's golf history (72.85) during the 2009-10 season and also led the Bulldogs in top-10s (seven), top-20s (eight), par-or-better rounds (15) and counting rounds (.967).
Burger, a Golfweek third-team member, posted a 74.06 stroke average, with five top-10s, seven top-20s and 11 par-or-better scores.
Silva Zamora also was voted first-team All-SEC by league coaches. Burger was named second-team All-SEC and to the league's All-Freshman squad.
A record-setting beginning to the season
Georgia shattered its tournament scoring record en route to sweeping the team and individual championships at the College of Charleston's Duramed Cougar Classic.
The Bulldogs finished at 14-under 850, eight shots better than the previous school record of 6-under 856 in winning the same event in 2008.
Marta Silva Zamora notched her third career title after posting an 8-under 208, a score equaling the third-best relation-to-par effort in Georgia history.
In addition, Emilie Burger tied for third at 4-under 212, and Milena Savich tied for fifth at 3-under 213.
"Everyone was just solid," Kelley Hester said. "It was really fun. We had three in the top five individually and Carolina (Andrade) wasn't far behind them. We threw out a 74 and a 75 yesterday and today. That's just a different place than we were most of last year. I'm ultra pleased."
A year ago, the Bulldogs played half of the fall campaign with only five golfers on their roster before adding Melissa Brody as a walk-on for the spring.
Silva Zamora started the final round two strokes off the pace of Florida State's Lacey Agnew but played along side her competition and sealed the win with a four-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
"I was playing with the girl who was first starting the day so I was kind of keeping up with what she was doing," Silva Zamora said. "I knew if I played well, it was going to be good for the team and good for me so everything would be positive."
Marta leads Eat-A-Peach sweep
Inclement weather muddled the final round at Mercer's Eat A Peach Collegiate, but when the clouds broke Georgia and Marta Silva Zamora were atop the team and individual leaderboards at Idle Hour Golf Club.
Silva Zamora's win was a clear-cut victory. She posted her second-straight 2-under 70 to finish at 4-under 140 and two shots ahead of runner-up Stefanie Kenoyer of Furman.
The team title was a little more tricky.
The Bulldogs originally thought they would be in a playoff with Florida State for the team title. However, when checking scorecards, tournament officials discovered that a Seminole golfer mistakenly signed her card for a score a stroke higher than she actually shot. Rules dictate that a golfer who signs a card for a score higher than their actual total most accept the higher score they signed for.
Burger a winner on The Plains
Emilie Burger fired a 1-under 71 to capture medalist honors at the Auburn Invitational.
The Bulldogs finished third in the one-day event that was added to the schedule after rain cancelled a day of competition at the Mason Rudolph in the fall. Georgia played at Auburn without Marta Silva Zamora, who was traveling with her parents who were visiting the U.S. from Spain during UGA's spring break.
One Super (Bowl) Weekend
Abby Johnson is the daughter of Bill Johnson, the New Orleans Saints' defensive line coach.
While Abby was no doubt disappointed about failing to qualify for the Bulldogs' playing five for the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, she received quite the lovely "consolation prize." Not playing for Georgia that weekend meant that Abby was able to be in Miami to watch the Saints defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.