April 3, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- One of longest-running events in women's college golf will be contested with a new twist this weekend when Georgia hosts the 42nd Annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.
Friday's first round will be a traditional stroke play loop at the University of Georgia Golf Course. Those results will be utilized to comprise a pair of match play brackets for the weekend. The top-eight teams will be seeded in the "Red" bracket, and the remaining schools will move to the "Black" bracket. Saturday will feature two rounds of match play, while Sunday will feature 18 holes of match play.
"You can just feel the energy around the golf course," head coach Josh Brewer said. "All of the teams are excited to be here. We're hoping we'll get some Georgia fans to come out here and watch us. Hopefully, we'll make plenty of birdies and give them something to cheer about.
"I think it will be neat for fans to have the chance to see us pitted against one school," Brewer added. "When you have a 16-team field in stroke play it can be confusing some times. For our players, it gives them a chance to earn a point for the University of Georgia. It will be fun for college golf."
As usual, the list of teams competing in the Liz Murphey reads like a "Who's Who" national leaders. Southern Cal and Alabama, the last 2013 and 2012 NCAA Champions, respectively, headline the ledger of 16 schools. The Women of Troy, who are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, are one of seven top-25 teams. No. 4 Arkansas, No. 7 Alabama, No. 17 Northwestern, No. 22 Michigan State, No. 23 N.C. State and No. 24 Iowa State round out the ranked teams. Also in the field with the Bulldogs are Auburn, Denver, Indiana, Georgetown, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Troy, as well as Daytona State, the defending national junior college champions.
"It's a very strong field," Brewer said. "We have the last two defending national champions, as well as the defending junior college national champions. It's a very good, diverse field. It's a good chance for us to show off our golf course and to show off the city of Athens."
Brewer believes the golfers will welcome the change from the traditional 54-hole, stroke play events of collegiate golf.
"Every swing on every hole is win or lose," Brewer said. "I think it helps your mentality in match play that you can make a 7 or an 8 and it doesn't matter that much. It's only one hole. A birdie is the same way, though. It's only worth one hole. You have 18 chances to win. That's the way we look at it."
Georgia's lineup for the weekend was determined by a combination of qualifiers. Manuela Carbajo Ré, Harang Lee and Sammi Lee earned playing spots through stroke play. The remaining two positions were earned by Amira Alexander and Amelia Hill in 18-hole match play competitions with teammates on Wednesday afternoon.
Hill, a senior from St. Simons Island, Ga., competed in the Liz Murphey as an individual as a sophomore but will making her first appearance in the event in the Bulldogs' lineup.
"I've always preached competition," Brewer said. "We had a qualifier and she earned that spot. I'm very proud her. Amira is coming off a great finish. This team is confident. We're playing well. We're practicing well. Now, we've to to take that into the tournament."
"I'm excited," Hill said. "For me, playing in the Liz Murphey is like playing in Sanford Stadium."
Georgia will tee off with Southern Cal beginning at 8:00 am on Friday. Match play rounds will begin at 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. No admission will be charged.
Live scoring throughout the tournament will be available via the internet at www.birdiefire.com.