Manuela Carbajo Ré led Georgia with an eighth place individual finish at the SECs.
April 29, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The road home will take the No. 16 Georgia women's golf team all the way to Palo Alto, Calif., for the NCAA West Regional. The Bulldogs will be the No. 6 seed among 24 teams competing at the Stanford University Golf Course next Thursday-Saturday (May 9-11). The top eight teams and the top two individual finishers from non-advancing teams at Stanford will then compete in the NCAA Championships on May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
"I'm excited," said first-year head coach Josh Brewer. "That's why we played there in the fall, in case the NCAA sent us there for the Regional. Now we know what it feels like to travel out there and we know the golf course. I'm excited because we'll get to see some teams we haven't seen for a while."
Top-ranked Southern Cal is the No. 1 seed in the West. The remaining top-eight seeds are No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 15 Purdue, No. 13 Stanford, the No. 16 Bulldogs, No. 19 Baylor and No. 27 Texas A&M. Six more top-40 teams are included in the field: No. 25 Pepperdine, No. 30 LSU, No. 32 Denver, No. 36 Ohio State, No. 37 South Carolina and No. 40 Oregon. Rounding out the competing squads are UNLV, Cal, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), San Jose State, Harvard, Kent State, North Arizona, North Dakota State and Long Island.
All told, 13 of 14 Southeastern Conference schools earned NCAA bids. Five SEC teams are in the West Regional with Georgia. Alabama and Arkansas are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, at the East Regional in Auburn, Ala. The field there also includes Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn and Ole Miss. Florida is the No. 3 seed at the Central Regional in Norman, Okla., where Mississippi State also will compete.
"I feel like the NCAA didn't play any favorites by keeping people close to home," Brewer said. "The committee tried to make it competitive, and it's obvious they want the 24 best team in the nation to advance to Athens. As a head coach, you have to appreciate that. They're trying to reward the best teams."
The Bulldogs are coming off a runner-up finish at the SEC Championships. Georgia will utilize the same lineup for the NCAA Regional, a quintet that included three top-20 individual finishes at the SECs – Manuela Carbajo Ré (t-8th), Rocio Sanchez Lobato (t-11th) and Emilie Burger (t-14th). Freshmen Kailey Walsh and Amira Alexander will round out the Bulldogs' playing five at Stanford.
"We just need to do what we've done in the past three tournaments," Brewer said. "We need contributions from everyone 1-5 in the lineup. We have to have everyone start well and play well throughout the tournament. I expect that. We're going out there to win the West Regional, not to just compete and earn a spot. I'm excited we'll have an opportunity to see where we are against some of the best teams in the nation like Southern Cal and see how much work we have to try to do to be even more ready for nationals."
The Bulldogs won the FSU Match-Up Tournament in their spring opener in February. Sanchez Lobato captured individual medalist honors in Tallahassee. Burger has individual crowns from two of the nation's premier events, the Mason Rudolph Championship last fall and the Bryan National Collegiate in the regular-season finale in March.
The 2013 NCAAs will represent the fifth time the UGA Golf Course has hosted women's golf's intercollegiate championships, following 1971, 1981, 1983 and 1993. A four-day pass with tickets for each round of the Championships is $40 for adults and $25 for youth and senior citizens. Those are available at www.georgiadogs.com or by calling the UGA ticket office at 877-542-1231. Daily tickets will go on sale on Monday, May 20.