NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Georgia women's golf team collected its first win of the 2003-04 campaign on Sunday in impressive fashion, capturing top honors at the Mason Rudolph Invitational over a field which included five other top-10 teams.
The Lady Bulldogs shot 293 in the final round, six strokes better than anyone else in the 17-team field. In the process, Georgia erased a five-shot deficit to UCLA entering the day to defeat the Bruins by four strokes, 874-878. Vanderbilt (886), Florida (889) and Arizona (891) rounded out the top-five teams.
'I couldn't be prouder of the way we played,' head coach Todd McCorkle said. 'We showed a lot of heart and determination. I've been telling the girls that we're as talented a team as anyone in the country. I think they know that, but this win is really going to make them believe we're as good as anyone in the country when we play our game.'
Freshman Allison Martin led the Lady Dogs' rally, carding a 1-under 71 on Sunday. Sophomore Lisa Tyler posted even-par 72, while sophomore Kelly Froelich and freshman Whitney Wade rounded out Georgia's counting tallies with a pair of 75s. Junior Natalia Nicholls shot 77.
The Lady Bulldogs' Sunday score was even more impressive considering the difficult weather conditions they endured.
'It was real cold and windy all day,' McCorkle said. 'When we teed off, it was about 50 degrees and the wind was blowing about 20 miles per hour. The wind blew steady like that all day. It was a tough day, but we got off to great start. I couldn't be prouder of the way we stuck to it all day. I really think this is the kind of thing we can do all year.'
Individually, Martin tied for fourth at even-par 216, three shots back of medalist Erica Blasberg of Arizona. Wade tied for ninth at 218, Froelich tied for 12th at 219, Tyler tied for 21st at 223 and Nicholls tied for 33rd at 227.
All five Georgia golfers shot 77 or better during all three rounds fo the tournament, marking only the second time in Lady Bulldog golf annals the entire squad has played as well. Every golfer also shot 77 or better at last spring's NCAA East Regional where Georgia finished second.
The Lady Bulldogs will return to action in three weeks when they travel to Knoxville, Tenn., for the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships.
Sunday's Final Results
Wake Forest 296-298-306=900
Southern Cal 298-297-306=901
South Carolina 305-303-304=912
North Carolina 300-308-314=922
N.C. State 301-311-325=937
UNC Wilmington 328-305-317=950
Oregon State 320-322-346=988
Erica Blasberg, Arizona 70-69-74=213
Sarah Johnston, Furman 71-71-72=214
Sarah Jacobs, Vanderbilt 72-72-71=215
Allison Martin, Georgia 70-75-71=216
Aimee Cho, Florida 71-73-72=216
Liliana Alvarez, Tulane 75-73-69=217
Naree Song, Florida 71-72-74=217
Jenny Suh, Furman 71-70-76=217
Whitney Wade, Georgia 71-72-75=218
Charlotte Mayorkas, UCLA 71-74-73=218
Nicole Hage, Auburn 72-73-73=218