Georgia Golfers Finish 15th At NCAAs

OWINGS MILL, Md. --- The No. 15-ranked Georgia women's golf team wrapped up, appropriately enough, a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Championships at Caves Valley Golf Club on Friday. The Bulldogs carded a 310 in the final round and slipped one position on the leaderboard from the start of the day.

"We struggled with the putter early, and we just couldn't seem to get it going," head coach Kelley Hester said.

The Bulldogs played the first two holes at 5-over and never really recovered.

Senior Mallory Hetzel capped her collegiate career with an even-par 72 to lead Georgia, with additional counting rounds of 77 from Marta Silva Zamora, 80 from Carolina Andrade and 81 from Leigh Crosby. Tess Fordham shot 85.

 "We probably needed one more very solid score to make a move," Hester said. "I'm proud of them. They represented Georgia and themselves well. This is sort of where I thought we'd be. It would've been great if we could've moved past a few people, but 15th is good with a blue-collar group of golfers."

Hetzel opened her day with seven straight pars before bogeys at No. 8 and No. 11 pushed her to 2-over. She quickly gained those strokes back with birdies at No. 12 and No. 14 and then notched a quartet of pars en route to the clubhouse.

"Mal played very well in her final collegiate round, and I was very pleased she was go able to got out with such a strong effort," Hester said.

Overall, Silva Zamora finished tied for 25th at 300, Hetzel finished tied for 48th at 305, Andrade finished tied for 75th at 312, Fordham finished 118th at 329 and Crosby finished 123rd at 335.

Arizona State closed with a second straight 291 to claim the team title by eight strokes over Southern Cal. Purdue's Maria Hernandez, who was co-medalist at the 2008 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, claimed the individual national title at 1-over 289.

Georgia failed on its attempt to record a 10th top-10 finish in the last dozen years. Still, the Bulldogs recorded their 25th top-20 performance in the last 31 years.

The Bulldogs should make a push to return to the top 10 next season. Georgia will return 80 percent of its NCAA lineup and will welcome a trio of Peach State prep prospects -- Emilie Burger, Kendall Wright and Abby Johnson -- who signed in November. Georgia also may add additional members to its roster before the fall.
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