Emilie Burger was third individually at the 2009 Cougar Classic.
Sept. 10, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia women's golf team will open the fall portion of its 2011-12 season on Sunday with the opening round of the Cougar Classic at Yeamans Hall Club in Charleston, S.C. The 54-hole event will continue through Tuesday.
The Bulldogs, who ranked No. 17 in the preseason edition of the NGCA/Golf World Coaches poll, are one of nine top-20 squads in the 22-team field. No. 3 Alabama is the highest ranked entrant, followed by No. 4 LSU, No. 7 Duke, No. 10 North Carolina, No. 11 Tennessee, No. 14 Wake Forest, No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 16 Florida and the Bulldogs. Also competing are Charleston Southern, tourney host College of Charleston, Furman, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Minnesota, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Richmond, South Carolina, UNC Greensboro and Wisconsin.
"It always is exciting…the beginning of a new year," head coach Kelley Hester said. "We have a pretty veteran group and I know they’d like to improve on last year. It’s always fun to go to a place you’ve had some success, and we’ve won the last two times we’ve gone to Charleston’s event."
The Bulldogs, who have 20 top-10 finishes at the last 33 national championships, completed 2010-11 ranked No. 14 by Golfstat and No. 19 by Golfweek but failed to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Georgia has competed in the Cougar Classic three times, winning in 2008 and 2009 and finishing second in 2005. The Bulldogs' 279 at the 2008 tournament and their 850 tally to win the 2009 event both are tourney records. The 11-under 850 also is Georgia's school record.
Marta Silva Zamora, the reigning National Player of the Year, won the Cougar Classic individual title two years ago, with Emilie Burger and Milena Savich finishing third and fifth, respectively.
That trio returns to this year's event along with sophomore Amelia Hill and freshman Rocio Sanchez Lobato.
Silva Zamora, Burger, Savich and Hill helped Georgia open last season with a school-record 11-under effort in the first round of the Fall Preview.
"Our lineup hasn’t changed that much since last fall except for the addition of Rocio," Hester said. "We’re eager to see how she starts her career here at Georgia. All signs point to a great career in the way she qualified. We’re very pleased with what she’s done in the short time she’s been here. Amelia Hill came in last fall and really played well for us, but she was limited in the spring due to injuries.
"I know Milena Savich would like to have a great senior season," Hester continued. "I feel like she’s a pretty pivotal player for us. I think when she has a pretty good day, our team will have a pretty good day. Marta, the returning National Player of the year, is obviously someone we’ll count on early and often. Emilie Burger is a very solid player. She and Marta are the staples of our lineup, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Milena steps right in there with them."
Live scoring throughout the tournament can be found here.