April 17, 2013
The No. 18-ranked Georgia women's golf team will begin the postseason portion of its 2012-13 slate this weekend when the Bulldogs compete in the Southeastern Conference Championships.
This year's SECs - and the next three editions as well - will be contested at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham. The course is set up to play at par-72 and 6,401 yards this weekend. The Bulldogs will be paired with No. 8 Vanderbilt and No. 25 Texas A&M for Friday's opening round, teeing off in 10-minute waves beginning at 9:50 a.m. ET. Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com.
A youthful Georgia lineup will feature one senior, a sophomore and three freshmen. In addition, first-year head coach Josh Brewer also is taking part in his first SEC Championships.
Brewer is confident his golfers are prepared for postseason competition.
"We're ready," Brewer said. "As we've talked all week, we started practice on August 20th and we haven't changed one thing. We had a process and a plan in place and we're going to stick with it. It has been good enough to put us in position a lot. We'll just hopefully get all five players playing well this week."
Four-fifths of the Georgia lineup has been relatively consistent.
Senior Emilie Burger and sophomore Rocio Sanchez Lobato have been in the Bulldogs' playing five for all eight events during 2012-13.
Manuela Carbajo Ré only missed the Mason Rudolph Championship in the fall while away representing Argentina in the World Team Amateur Championship. Kailey Walsh has played in every event this season but competed as an individual at the LSU Golf Classic where, interestingly, she was Georgia's top individual finisher.
Amira Alexander did not compete in the fall but worked her way into the lineup for three of four spring events.
Georgia's SEC History
The Bulldogs have captured a league-leading 19 SEC Women's Golf Championships all-time. Georgia has won 11 team and eight individual league titles.
Florida ranks second with 16 conference championships, eight team and eight individual titles, while Auburn now ranks third with 15 crowns, nine team and six individual.
All 14 Southeastern Conference schools are vying for bids to the 2013 NCAA Championship. The 72 teams in the NCAA field will be announced on Monday, April 29, at 9 p.m. ET.
"We treat SECs in a way like an NCAA Regional and it could be tougher than a Regional in that we have four teams in the top 10," Brewer said. "It's probably the best conference in the country in terms of depth. Every team is top 60 or so. We know we have to go play well. There are seven or eight teams that could win the thing if they get hot."
Each SEC school currently possesses an average ranking of No. 60 or higher by combining the Golfstat and Golfstat computer assessments as outlined below.
Six league schools are included in the latest edition of the Golf World/WGCA Coaches' poll.
SEC Teams In The Top 25
|Alabama||No. 3||No. 2||2.5||No. 2|
|Arkansas||No. 5||No. 5||5.0||No. 7|
|Florida||No. 6||No. 7||6.5||No. 5|
|Vanderbilt||No. 8||No. 9||8.5||No. 10|
|Georgia||No. 18||No. 18||18.0||No. 19|
|Texas A&M||No. 25||No. 23||24.0||No. 22|
|LSU||No. 30||No. 28||29.0|
|Tennessee||No. 31||No. 31||31.0|
|Kentucky||No. 35||No. 32||33.5|
|Auburn||No. 43||No. 39||41.0|
|S. Carolina||No. 44||No. 38||41.0|
|Ole Miss||No. 55||No. 51||53.0|
|Miss. St.||No. 61||No. 59||60.0|
|Missouri||No. 60||No. 60||60.0|
Burger Leads Bulldogs
Emilie Burger entered her final campaign with an already impressive competitive résumé. The Hoschton, Ga., native was tabbed All-America and All-SEC in each of her first three seasons in Athens.
Burger has taken her game to another level during the 2012-13 campaign, headlined by individual victories against stacked fields at the Mason Rudolph Championship in the fall and the Bryan National Collegiate this spring. All told, she has four top-10 and seven top-20 individual finishes in eight tournaments to date.
During each victory, Burger was clutch late in the final round.
At the Mason Rudolph, Burger birdied two of her final three holes to secure a three-shot win over runners-up Caroline Powers of Michigan State and Kendall Prince of Arizona.
At the Bryan National, Burger played her final five holes at 4-under - including an eagle-2 - to pass second-round leader Brittany Altomare of Virginia.
"It's a great feeling knowing you have a top-15, top-10 person every week who has a chance to win every time out if a few things go right," Brewer said. "I think Emilie has had fun this year, with the three freshmen. They've kind of made her enjoy every stop and made her feel two or three years younger instead of thinking this is my senior year."
We Call it ''Ro''stseason
Josh Brewer probably explains sophomore Rocio Sanchez Lobato's postseason prowess best.
"Ro has a knack for playing well when the lights are on and the stakes are highest," Brewer said. "Last summer, she was runner-up at the British Am. I've watched her play in European Team Championships, and she's performed well for her country. Last season, she was our best golfer in the postseason. I expect her to step up and play well and carry that into the Regionals."
Sanchez Lobato finished eighth at last year's SEC Championships at Blessings Golf Course. She then secured an individual spot in the NCAA Championships field by tying for 10th at the Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio.
Sanchez Lobato was a respectable 40th after 54 holes of the NCAA Championships but battled a stomach ailment throughout the final round and posted a 79 to slip to 72nd in the field.
In addition to the aforementioned runner-up finish at the British Am (where she lost to Alabama's Stephanie Meadow in the final), Sanchez Lobato tied for 11th individually and helped Spain to the team title at the World University Games and then tied for 12th individually at the European Ladies Am, her third straight top-20 in that event.
Kailey Follows her brother blair to UGA
Freshman Kailey Walsh is the younger sister of former Georgia and current Minnesota Vikings placekicker Blair Walsh.
Blair completed his collegiate career in 2011 as the all-time leading scorer in UGA and SEC history and also ranked fourth in NCAA FBS annals with 412 points. He enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with the Vikings, earning All-Pro status after converting 92.1 percent of his 38 field goal attempts, including an NFL record 10-of-10 on FGs for 50 yards or more.
Three Georgia golfers earned weekly SEC accolades during the spring.
Rocio Sanchez Lobato and Emilie Burger were named SEC Golfer of the Week on Feb. 27 and April 4, respectively, after tournament victories.
Kailey Walsh was the March 27 SEC Freshman of the Week after she finished fifth at the LSU Golf Classic.