Next up on our women’s 2014 fall countdown, No. 10 South Carolina:
Editor’s note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Julie Williams, as she looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won’t be available until a couple of the weeks into the fall season.
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South Carolina Gamecocks
Preseason rank: 10
Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 8
2013-14 in review: For the past few years, South Carolina has been developing a reputation as a postseason team. The Gamecocks always seemed to play well when it mattered, winning NCAA Regional titles in 2010 and ’12. Last season, however, was a breakout one for South Carolina thanks to two runners-up and a victory before April. The Gamecocks then won the Ping ASU Invitational, which had a Pac-12-heavy field, and finished runner-up at the SEC Championshp and NCAA East Regional. South Carolina’s dynamic required everyone to contribute, not rely on one or two superstars.
Notable departures: Suzie Lee, Samantha Swinehart
Key returnees: Justine Dreher, Katelyn Dambaugh, Sarah Schmelzel
Newcomer of note: Nanna Madsen
Circled on fall calendar: Annika Intercollegiate
Fall outlook: Not since the days of Katie Burnett (who graduated in 2012 after compiling the lowest single-season scoring average in program history) has the Gamecock team score revolved around one reliably low scorer. That could change this fall with the addition of Denmark’s Madsen. At No. 4 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Madsen could be the best freshman in the game. Lee and Swinehart were very steady players, and that consistency will be missed. Expect South Carolina, a team that often is underestimated, to still play with the all-for-one mentality – and wait to see what Madsen can contribute.