Bulldogs have long been among nation's top programs
It all began in 1967, when Liz Murphey joined the University of Georgia staff as an assistant physical education professor and golf coach. She built Georgia into a national powerhouse...a status the Bulldogs have maintained for decades. Today, the Georgia tradition is perhaps as deep as any in the country.
In the past three decades, the Bulldogs have earned four national championships - one team and three individual titles. Georgia has won an SEC-best 19 team and individual league titles.
On the team front, Georgia has finished among the top 20 schools at the national championships during 25 of the last 33 years - 20 of those in the top 10. UGA has captured 11 SEC team crowns, including an unprecedented three straight from 1997-99.
Individually, Georgia golfers have posted 36 top-20 individual finishes at nationals. Four of those came in 2001 alone, when Reilley Rankin, Laura Henderson, Angela Jerman and Summer Sirmons all did so en route to securing the team national title. The aforementioned quartet is among a ledger of 27 golfers who have been named All-America a combined 45 times. Seven Bulldog golfers have combined to win eight SEC individual titles, including two-time winner Shauna Estes (1997 and 1999), eight SEC Golfer of the Year honors and eight SEC Freshman of the Year accolades.
The quartet of coaches
In 1986, Beans Kelly, a member of Bulldog teams that finished fourth and third at the 1982 and 1983 national championships, respectively, took the reins from her mentor and continued to build upon the foundation Liz Murphey established. During Beans' tenure from 1986-2000, Georgia collected seven SEC Championships, five SEC individual crowns and five top-10 NCAA finishes.
Todd McCorkle assumed the helm in 2000 and delivered the program's first-ever team national title the following spring.
Kelley Hester, a three-time All-SEC performer as the former Kelley Richardson, christened the newest chapter in Georgia Golf lore in 2008 and has led the Bulldogs to two more top-20 finishes.
National titles make their way to Athens
Georgia Golf owns four national championships - three individual crowns and one team title.
Athens native Terri Moody was the first woman ever to receive a full athletic scholarship to UGA. As a senior, Moody became the Bulldogs' first national medalist. She captured the 1981 AIAW title on the University of Georgia layout and did so in a most dramatic fashion by winning a three-hole playoff over Miami's Patti Rizzo.
Cindy Schreyer secured Georgia's first NCAA medalist honor by winning at the Innisbrook Resort in Tarpon Springs, Fla., in 1984. She did so in much the same style as Moody, in a three-hole playoff win over SMU's Martha Foyer and Miami's Michele Berteotti.
Perhaps no other player in Georgia history made the impact that Vicki Goetze did in her two-season stint in Athens. A native of nearby Watkinsville, Goetze capped her freshman year by shooting a tourney-record 65 on the last day of the 1992 NCAA Championships in Tempe, Ariz., to win medalist honors by three over Arizona's Annika Sorenstam.
In 2001, the Bulldogs captured their first team national title. Georgia rallied from a four-shot deficit entering the final round to to Duke by three shots in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
Vicki Goetze arrived in Athens as one of the most celebrated and decorated junior golfers ever. Goetze was a six-time AJGA All-American and three-time National Junior Golfer of the Year. She won the 1989 U.S. Amateur during the summer after her sophomore year of high school and won a second Am in 1992 following her freshman year at UGA.
Goetze is one of UGA's premier amateurs, a list that continues to grow.
The year before Terri Moody won her individual national crown, she became UGA's first representative in the Curtis Cup, the biennial competition between top amateurs from the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland. Bulldogs have represented the U.S. five more times, while Krystle Caithness became UGA's first representative for GB&I in 2008.
Dominating the SEC in Beans' "Glory Days"
Shauna Estes and Reilley Rankin were the driving forces behind teams which won an unprecedented trio of three straight SEC Championships between 1997-99.
In 1997, Estes became the first player ever to claim the league's "Triple Crown" - earning SEC Player and Freshman of the Year accolades and medalist honors at the SEC Championships.
In 1998, Beans Kelly was tabbed National Coach of the Year and Rankin became the SEC's second "Triple Crown" winner.
In 1999, the Bulldogs not only won their third straight SEC title but also captured a second consecutive NCAA East Regional crown.
Making a mark in the professional ranks
Fifteen Bulldogs have gone on to play on the LPGA Tour, with four topping $1 million in career earnings and the group winning more than $8.5 million combined. In addition, 18 golfers have competed on the Futures Tour.
Nanci Bowen won the 1995 Nabisco Dinah Shore Championship, the lone major championship by a Georgia golfer. In 1986, Cindy (Pleger) Mackey became the first former Bulldog to secure an LPGA win, rolling to a 16-shot victory at the MasterCard International that still stands as the Tour record for largest margin of victory.
Standouts in the classroom as well
For all the successes Georgia has enjoyed on the course, the Bulldogs' academic resume is equally impressive.
The women's golfers have captured UGA's Faculty Athletic Representatives Award - given annually to the women's and men's teams with the highest grade point average for the year - 12 times.
In 1998, Julia Boros earned the Edith Munson Award as the senior All-American golfer with the highest cumulative GPA, was named CoSIDA Academic All-American for a second straight year and was awarded an NCAA post-graduate scholarship.