ATHENS, Ga. – No. 4 South Carolina is headed back to the NCAA Championship for the third straight season at Grayhawk Golf Club next week after finishing second at the NCAA Athens Regional today. The Gamecocks made a late charge with the only under par round on the course as a team. Host Georgia got two late birdies however to hang on by two shots over the surging Carolina squad.
“I thought it was the hardest of all three days today,” said head coach Kalen Anderson. “The hole locations were difficult – a little less accessible, especially on the front. Wind was swirling and a little bit stronger. I think the front nine played especially difficult. On the back nine, we finished really strong. They did a great job. I think we were 10-under on the finishing holes, the last six holes, which was awesome. We played the front nine pretty well, considering the conditions and just hung in there. It was a really good effort, and I’m very proud of the way they played. We were pretty far behind, but they made a good effort at the chase. We got it close – it was a fun finish. Most importantly, we’re headed out west to Arizona, going after a National Championship, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
Sophomore All-Americans Louise Rydqvist and Hannah Darling each posted red numbers today to finish second and third respectively on the individual leaderboard. Rydqvist shot 70 (-2) with four birdies and Darling fired a 5-under, bogey free 67 (-5) with birdies on the final two holes.
It’s Darling’s second consecutive top-five finish at NCAA Regionals and Rydqvist’s second straight top-10 at regionals. Darling now has a team-best four top-five finishes this season and Rydqvist has two, both coming at UGA’s Golf Course. She was runner-up medalist at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic back in March.
Senior Mathilde Claisse shot 72 (E) with a bogey free back nine and a pair of late birdies over the final four holes. She just missed an eagle putt at the par-5 18th hole, instead tapping in for a birdie four. Claisse, who has been a staple in the team’s lineup the last four seasons, is having the best season of her career. She finished T-11th at 1-over for the tournament today, marking her fifth top-20 of the season. Claisse, a three-time WGCA All-American Scholar, graduated last week with a degree in finance.
Freshman Mia Sandtorv Lussand was the final counting score with a 1-over 73. She fought back from a tough 4-over front nine, going bogey free on the back while finishing with three-straight birdies. The Bergen, Norway, native impressed in her regional debut with a T-16th finish, her third top-20 this season.
Graduate transfer Katherine Muzi was subbed in today for senior Justine Fournand and shot 77 (+5) with a pair of birdies.
The trip to Grayhawk marks the 12th NCAA Championship appearance in 16 seasons under Anderson’s direction. It’s the 20th NCAA Championship appearance all-time for the program.
Next week’s tournament runs May 19-24. There will be 54 holes of stroke play with a cut to the top-15 for the medal round on Monday, May 22. Golf Channel will provide TV coverage again for part of the event.
2023 NCAA Athens Regional Gamecock Leaderboard
2. Louise Rydqvist – 139 (-5)
3. Hannah Darling – 143 (-1)
T11. Mathilde Claisse – 145 (+1)
T16. Mia Sandtorv Lussand – 147 (+3)
DNP. * – Justine Fournand – 152 (+8)
DNP. * – Katherine Muzi – 77 (+5)
* – subbed in/out of lineup
2023 NCAA Athens Regional Leaderboard
1. No. 30 Georgia – 851 (-13)
2. No. 4 South Carolina – 853 (-11)
3. No. 9 San Jose State – 878 (+14)
4. No. 16 Ole Miss – 881 (+17)
5. Augusta – 885 (+21)
6. No. 23 Ohio State – 887 (+23)
7. No. 33 Maryland – 888 (+24)
8. Kansas – 890 (+26)
9. No. 47 College of Charleston – 899 (+35)
T10. Furman – 900 (+36)
T10. No. 41 Kent State – 900 (+36)
12. Sacred Heart – 944 (+80)