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South Carolina’s lineup is nearly unrecognizable from four months ago, but a crew of international players have learned quickly over the past few weeks. Last season, with a roster loaded with experience, the Gamecocks won four times in the regular season and occupied the No. 1 spot in Golfweek’s rankings for a chunk of it.
One tournament into the fall, South Carolina is on top again, having won the ANNIKA Intercollegiate on Wednesday by seven shots. The Gamecocks went 14 under for three days at Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and held off Duke, which tied them with a final-round 4-under performance but finished the week at 7 under.
“This team never let down the entire week,” head coach Kalen Anderson said. “I’m very proud of their fight and discipline, especially in this elite field. We just had a fun week competing and need to focus on keeping this mentality.”
South Carolina came out of the gate with a round of 10 under, an effort led by freshman Hannah Darling, a Scottish player who enters college after winning the British Girls and representing Great Britain and Ireland at the Curtis Cup. Darling had a bogey-free 66 to open her college career.
In all, Darling, Worapitcha Anudit, Justine Fournand, Louise Rydqvist and new assistant coach Michael Roters were all making their debut with the Gamecocks this week. Only Mathilda Claise, who finished T20 at the ANNIKA, was in the South Carolina lineup for the 2021 postseason.
“It’s a long year ahead and certainly this is only our first round but it’s fun to kind of come out and make a statement early,” Anderson told Golfweek after South Carolina’s big start.
After opening with 66, Darling fired another 66 – this time with one bogey – but at 11 under, finished second to Ole Miss senior Julia Johnson, who reached 12 under with rounds of 67-67-70.
— ANNIKA Foundation (@ANNIKA_Fdn) September 15, 2021
South Carolina tees it up again in the Midwest next month at the Windy City Collegiate Classic in Chicago.
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