CHARLESTON, S.C. Following a difficult second round yesterday, the University of Alabama women’s golf team rebounded well, knocking off seven strokes from Monday’s score to earn a third-place tie at the Cougar Classic on the Yeamans Hall Golf Course in Charleston, S.C. The Tide shot rounds of 286, one off the school record, 298 and 291 to earn a top-five placing in the first tournament of the 2007-08 season.
“We played really well today and had a better chance to win than the girls knew, we had a one-shot lead for awhile, but fell back a little bit in the back and that was the margin right there,” said Alabama head coach Mic Potter. “We just have to keep getting ourselves in good positions and tidy some things up a bit that were probably the difference between winning and finishing third. We just need a little time and effort and we can fix those things before our next outing.”
By finishing in the top five, the Tide extended its streak of regular season top-five finishes to four, dating back to the end of last season. Alabama has finished in the top five in five of its last seven outings dating back to October of 2006.
Notre Dame won the team title at the Cougar Classic with an 870 team score, one shot better than runner-up Tennessee. Texas equaled Alabama’s score of 875 to tie for third, while LSU shot an 883 and finished in fifth place.
Alabama was led by Kathleen Ekey, who appeared in her first tournament with the Tide after transferring from Furman earlier this summer. Ekey shot her second round under par on Tuesday, firing a 1-under 71 to finish with a 217 and a tie for eighth place and her first top-10 finish in an Alabama uniform.
“Kathleen played really well today, after struggling a bit yesterday,” Potter said. “I thought she put a little too much pressure on herself in the second round, but she played better today than her score indicated. Her upside is really strong, so I’m proud of her and think she’s going to be a great leader for us.”
Helena Blomberg, a sophomore who played a key role for the Tide as a true freshman, was one of two other Tide player to finish in the top 25. Blomberg fired a 1-over 73 in the final round and tallied a 221 in three rounds of play. She earned a tie for 22nd place for the Tide after scores of 72, 76 and 73.
Sarah Sturm matched Blomberg’s score for the three-day event, as she carded a 1-over 73 in the final round. Sturm carded an even-par 72 in the opening round and shot a 75 in day two to move up to a tie for 22nd place alongside Blomberg and three other players.
Camilla Lennarth, a true freshman, recorded her first career round under par on day two but finished with an 80 on the final day to end up in a tie for 31st place. Sophomore Rhea Nair finished right behind Lennarth, firing a 74 on the final day to pull into a tie for 48th place.
Notre Dame’s Lisa Maunu edged out teammate So-Hyun Park for the individual title. Marci Turner of Tennessee finished third ahead of three players who tied for fourth place.
The Tide’s next competition is slated for Sept. 29, when Alabama travels to Lexington, Ky., to compete in the UK Wildcat Invitational.