The Daily Gamecock

Women's golf look to build on No. 1 ranking this weekend

The South Carolina women’s golf team hopes for another spectacular performance this weekend at the Tar Heel Invitational. 

The Gamecocks are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation after a great tournament last weekend at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate where they finished first. Expectations are high, as the team plans to maintain the ranking. 

This weekend, South Carolina will go up against nine teams currently in the top-25 rankings, four of which are in the SEC. Including the Gamecocks, there are seven SEC teams in the Tar Heel Invitational.

“We’re going to have to see the same thing,” head coach Kalen Harris said. “We have to be ready to go, be ready to win another tournament and prepare like we’ve been preparing.”

Most teams would bask in the glory of its first No. 1 ranking in program history, but the Gamecocks are staying away from getting too cocky. It’s still early in the season, and they will continue to look to outdo their last performance. Just because they get off to a strong start in the fall does not mean it will transfer to the spring.

Harris plans to keep the lineup the same from last weekend. Sophomores Katelyn Dambaugh and Jia Xin Yang, senior Justine Dreher, junior Mary Fran Hillow,  and freshman Nanna Madsen will start. The lineup worked well for Harris’ group last weekend, and she hopes the same players can bring them to a win again. Dreher actually won at ANNIKA last week and earned Player of the Week honors, as well.

“Justine was a key player and has been a  significant part of our lineup all four years,” Harris said. “I couldn’t be happier with her success and getting her first tournament win. She doesn’t leave anything out, from her mental game to ball strike, putting and short game. She’s very goal-orientated, and this is just the first success of many for her this season.”

Dreher won last week’s tournament after shooting 9-under for the weekend. Madsen finished tied for ninth in her first ever tournament with a 2-under finish. Hillow was not far behind, shooting even all three days for a tie for 14th place. 

While keeping their lineup the same, the Gamecocks plan to keep their strategies the same as well for the most part. Harris saw confidence, and she hopes they will continue to boast its strengths and keep up good technique as South Carolina heads to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

As the Gamecocks prepare for the Tar Heel Invitational, they know they have work to do and things to prove. Harris and her team will soon face some of the other top competition coming up, including No. 6 Duke, No. 12 Vanderbilt, and No. 2 Arkansas, the team hoping South Carolina slips. 

“Our goal is to get better every day and every tournament,” Harris added. “We got to look to play some really solid golf, make a lot of birdies, be smart and do our best. Hopefully we’ll add up our results at the end and end up on top.”