Georgia finishes 8th at NCAA Women's Golf

DAYTONA, FL- The No. 3-ranked Georgia women's golf team fired a 303 in Friday's final round of the NCAA Championships on the LPGA International's Legends Course, leaving the Bulldogs eighth the final standings at 1205.

Georgia began the final round in fourth place and started strong with four birdies on the first four holes. That early surge ended, however, and the Dogs turned at 8-over before dropping seven more strokes on the back side.

"We started strong, but we just went downhill and could never get that momentum back," interim coach Véronique Drouin said. "We didn't finish like we wanted to today, but this was still a successful season and we have a lot of be proud of."

Sophomore Mallory Hetzel led Georgia with an even-par 72, the Dogs' lowest individual tally of the 72-hole championships. A trio of 77s from Alina Lee, Taylor Leon and Whitney Wade rounded out Friday's counters. Garrett Phllips shot 83.

Hetzel birdied No. 3 and No. 4 to move to 2-under and stayed in red numbers virtually the rest of the day. She bogeyed No. 6 but then strung together 10 consecutive pars before bogeying No. 17.

Top-ranked Duke captured the team title for the third consecutive year. The Blue Devils closed with a 290 to finish at 1170. No. 12 Purdue finished second at 1185, and rounding out the top-10 were No. 8 UCLA 1186, No. 7 Southern Cal at 1196, No. 10 Stanford at 1197, No. 4 Vanderbilt at 1200, No. 6 Pepperdine at 1202, Georgia at 1205, No. 18 TCU at 1212 and No. 5 Auburn at 1213.

Arkansas' Stacy Lewis blistered the course with a 6-under 66 to vault herself from third to first on the individual leaderboard. Lewis finshed at 6-under, four strokes better than Purdue's Christel Boeljon, the second- and third-round leader.

For Georgia, Leon finished tied for 14th at 298, her eighth top-20 in nine stroke play events she completed this season. In addition, Wade tied for 30th at 302, Lee tied for 60th at 308 and Hetzel and Phillips both tied for 87th at 314.

Leon broke the Bulldogs' season stroke average record by a relatively wide margin. She finished the season at 72.63 to top Angela Jerman's record of 72.91 set in 2001-02.

Georgia has now posted top-10 finishes at 18 national championships since 1979, including eight in the last 10 years. The Bulldogs claimed two team titles during the 2006-07 season, the Fall Preview on the same LPGA layout which hosted the NCAAs and the SEC Championships.

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