Women's preview: SEC

Women's preview: SEC

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Women's preview: SEC

Georgia has a keen ability to dig itself out of a hole. Head coach Kelly Hester backs the claim by rattling off round-by-round average from the fall. She starts by listing a first-round average of 301, then drops it to 289 and 290 for the next two rounds.

“We’re certainly capable,” Hester said of a fall season during which Georgia logged three top 10s. “We just have to figure out a way to come out of the gate stronger.”

For the past two years, Georgia mostly made headlines through standout Marta Silva Zamora. The Spaniard won Player of the Years honors as a junior last year, but was conspicuously absent from the tops of leaderboards in the fall. It’s a story of sheer exhaustion for a player that fell from the top of the rankings to the 60th position in four fall starts. After grinding through last year’s postseason as an individual, Silva Zamora played a full summer with the Spanish Golf Federation.

“You could tell she was trying her hardest and I think that’s kind of what happens sometimes when you are maybe a little burned out,” Hester said, referencing a first-round 80 out of Silva Zamora to start the year.

In her fifth season with the Bulldogs, Hester says this is the year Georgia can find team success. Aside from Silva Zamora’s potential, Emilie Burger adds a consistent presence – she led the team in scoring in the fall. Another Spaniard, freshman Rocio Sanchez Lobato, was the low scorer for the team in two outings before injuring her wrist at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge. She had surgery in the offseason and has fully recovered.

In short, Georgia is the poster team for rebuilding. The program has come a long way since Hester’s first year at the helm, when she had to hold tryouts just to fill the roster. Georgia lost no seniors last year, and the Hester regime is beginning to take hold.

“It’s definitely no fun to struggle, and having missed nationals the last two years I think is definitely not something that our program is OK with,” she said. “At the same time that’s history and we move forward and we build and we do the best that we can.”

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Top of the class: Alabama

Best player in the fall: Erica Popson, Tennessee

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Past champions

2007: Georgia

2008: Florida

2009: Auburn

2010: Alabama

2011: Auburn

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Conference capsules

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Complete coverage

Wondering how your favorite conference is shaping up headed into the spring season? Who is our favorite to pick up the automatic qualifier? Check out our conference-by-conference break down with our complete coverage page here.

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