Georgia Golfer Second At Mercedes-Benz Championship



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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --- The No. 1-ranked Georgia women's golf team carded a 296 in Friday's first round of the Mercedes-Benz Women's Championship, leaving the Bulldogs tied for second in the 15-team field.

Georgia is nine shots off the pace of No. 10 Auburn, which finished the day at 3-over 287. The Dogs are tied with the Swedish Junior National team. Rounding out the top 10 teams are No. 8 North Carolina at 297, No. 12 Tennessee at 298, Alabama and Arkansas at 303, No. 13 Michigan State and SMU at 304 and No. 23 Kent State at 305.

"I think everyone on our team would say this was a disappointing day," head coach Todd McCorkle said. "We didn't play our best. As a coach, I have to do a better job of having us ready to play. This is a difficult golf course, and I take responsibility for today. I don't think I had us prepared to play. This definitely got our attention, and I'm confident we'll be ready tomorrow."

Taylor Leon and Garrett Phillips led the Bulldogs' individual efforts with a pair of 2-over 73. Georgia also counted a 74 from Carolina Andrade and a 76 from Whitney Wade. Mallory Hetzel shot 83.

Leon and Phillips are tied for 10th place in the individual field, six shots off SMU's Lacey Jones atop the leaderboard. Jones has a three-shot lead over the field. Andrade is tied for 18th, Wade is tied for 31st and Hetzel is tied for 69th.

Leon began the day with a bogey but earned that stroke back with a birdie at No. 3. A double-bogey at No. 5 and a bogey at No. 14 pushed her to 3-over before she gained a one back with a birdie at No. 17.

Phillips mixed birdies at No. 4, No. 7 and No. 9 with a bogey at No. 3 and a double-bogey at No. 6 to turn at even. Following a quartet of pars, she bogeyed No. 14 and No. 16 to fall to 2-over.

Friday's round was the first time all season that at least one Georgia golfer did not post a par-or-better score. In fact, during the first two tournaments of the season the Bulldogs had two or more par-or-better efforts in five of six rounds.

Play continues on Saturday and Sunday and live three-hole updates of the scoring is available at www.golfstat.com

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