GREENVILLE, N.C. – Taking a quick perusal of the early leaderboard at the East Regional, it’s hard not to notice 10th-seeded South Carolina seated firmly in the top 3 after turning in a 5-under 283. The Gamecocks appear to have found a course that suits them in Ironwood Country Club, and also one that carries some good memories.
South Carolina took part in the Tri-State match against Duke and North Carolina two weeks ago, beating Duke by six shots but falling to host East Carolina.
Early success at the regional venue – and against a heavyweight team – gave the Gamecocks a serious boost of confidence.
“The team came in and saw they could play well on this golf course,” head coach Kalen Anderson said. “I think it was fortunate that we played well and it gave them a little confidence boost … that they could put up some numbers here.”
A big part of South Carolina’s climb up the leaderboard can be chalked up to sophomore Katie Burnett’s 5-under 67. Burnett had five birdies, including one at the ninth (her last hole) that caused the South Carolina crowd to erupt in cheers from a nearby spot of shade. She is tied for the early lead with Pepperdine’s Danielle Kang and Jessica Wallace.
“She’s been playing real well, she’s really matured and her wedge game is awesome right now, and she’s been working hard,” Anderson said. “She’s just due for a really good round and she got one today. Good timing for us.”
South Carolina is making its 12th consecutive regional appearance this week. The team finished 12th last year, but advanced to the national championship in 2008.