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Georgia golfer Kelsey Kurnett chips the ball out of the bunker at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic on Friday, April 12, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. Georgia women’s golf went into Friday as the No. 7 seed for match play after tying Ole Miss for sixth place on Thursday. (Photo/Gabriella Audi, www.gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

The Georgia women’s golf team last competed on March 6-8 at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina. There, the Bulldogs competed with 13 of the nation’s top-25 ranked teams. Georgia tied for 14th place. 

Because of the development of COVID-19, the Bulldogs’ season was cut short with two remaining tournaments in the regular season. 

Here are The Red & Black’s postseason takeaways from Georgia women’s golf’s 2019-20 season. 

Strong individual performances by freshmen 

Freshman Caroline Craig dominated at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate and was named the SEC Freshman of the Week. Craig tied for 10th individually after finishing 1-under 70 in the final round. 

Making her collegiate debut this fall competing at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon, Craig finished fourth individually. Craig had a great first season as she earned a stroke average of 74.44. 

Freshman Caterina Don is from the town of Pinerolo, Italy. She made her collegiate debut at the Minnesota Invitational at Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury, Minnesota. Don shot 9-under 135, to finish first individually. 

“It’s a really special start to college golf for one of the best players in the world,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “To think about all the great players who have teed it up for UGA and think she’s only the second one to win her debut, that’s pretty incredible.”

Freshman Céleste Dao was also named SEC Freshman of the Week on Feb. 26 after competing in The Gold Rush tournament at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach, California. Dao shot 7-under 209, achieving her first collegiate win and earning medalist honors. 

Expecting a great season next fall, Georgia has a strong group of rising sophomore athletes. Additionally, two of the world’s top-50 amateurs signed with the Bulldogs, Isabella Holpfer and Candice Mahe. 

Season-best performance at The Gold Rush tournament

Heading into The Gold Rush tournament in Seal Beach, California, the Bulldogs had previously landed in eighth place at their last three tournaments: the Puerto Rico Classic, the White Sands Invitational and the Stanford Intercollegiate. 

The Bulldogs changed their fate at the Gold Rush Tournament, winning the team title by 23 strokes. Furthermore, Georgia was able to take three of the top-four spots on the individual leaderboard. 

The Bulldogs dominated throughout the tournament, ending as a team at 1-under 863. Dao led the way placing first individually, logging 7-under 209. 

“It was a great round of golf, one of the best 18 holes in school history,” Brewer said. “That says a lot about this team and its potential going forward.”

Three invitations to Augusta National Amateur Championship

Three Bulldogs were invited to participate in the Augusta National Amateur Championship. The tournament was deemed to take place between April 1-4. 

Don and Mahe were invited to compete in the Amateur Championship as well as Holpfer, who will be a freshman this upcoming fall. 

“This is a great honor for Caterina, Candice, and Isabella,” Brewer said. “It shows all the hard work they’ve put in and the support their national teams have given them in their journeys.”

The second annual tournament consists of 54 holes of stroke play and showcases 72 of the world’s top women amateur golfers. 

Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club Fred Ridley announced on March 13 that the Augusta National Amateur Championship would be postponed due to COVID-19. The new date of the championship has not yet been announced.

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