Feb. 14, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 16 Georgia women's golf team will christen the 2013 portion of its season on Friday when the Bulldogs open play at the Florida State Match-Up Tournament at the Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Bulldogs' playing five will consist of senior Emilie Burger, sophomore Rocio Sanchez Lobato and freshmen Kailey Walsh, Amira Alexander and Manuela Carbajo Ré. In addition, sophomore Collins Bradshaw will compete as an individual.
Georgia's lineup was determined by 99 holes of qualifying play.
"It's the best team playing right now," head coach Josh Brewer said. "That's something I really like. I have preached competition from day one, and I always want our best five players to be in the tournament. Qualifying says that's who it is so I'm excited."
Burger was the Bulldogs' leader throughout the fall, posting a 72.08 stroke average with eight par-or-better tallies in 12 rounds played. She won medalist honors at the Mason Rudolph Championship and is ranked No. 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and No. 17 in the Golfstat Cup. Carbajo Ré contributed a solid 72.56 average and is currently No. 40 and No. 47 in the Golfweek and Golfstat individual rankings, respectively.
Alexander will be making her team debut for the Bulldogs. She did not compete in the fall and opened the spring with a 10th place showing at the Lady Bulldog Individual Championship two weeks ago.
"I'm excited and eager to see if Amira can step up and help the team," Brewer said. "We need contributions from the bottom of the lineup. That's very important."
Twelve teams, including five in the top 25, will compete not only in the traditional 54-hole format but also in six "Match-Ups." No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 15 Notre Dame, the Bulldogs, No. 17 Michigan and No. 21 Texas A&M headline the field, which also includes Florida State, Furman, Kansas, Tennessee, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington and Texas-San Antonio.
Each of the 12 teams will be paired with another school and play together. For Georgia, that will be Oklahoma, which is coached by former Bulldog assistant coach Véronique Drouin. At the end of each round, the four low scores and the high score of the 10 Bulldog and Sooner golfers will comprise the "Match-Up" score for UGA and OU. In addition to individual and team champions, a "Match-Up" winner also will be determined.
The tournament will be Georgia's first action since the Stanford Intercollegiate in late November. The Bulldogs notched two fifth-place showings in the fall, including the Liz Murphey Fall Preview. That tournament featured most of the nation's top teams competing on the same UGA layout that will host the 2013 NCAA Championships from May 21-24.
"We tried to rest our minds but stay sharp and try to improve in certain areas (during the break)," Brewer said. "Since we got back, we've worked to get our short game better. I feel good about the tournament and our lineup. This fall, we played well and played the toughest schedule in the nation. Now we need to move forward and be in the hunt. We need that. This team hasn't done that. Hopefully, Sunday we'll have a chance."
Live scoring will be available here throughout the weekend.