SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – No. 4 South Carolina punched its ticket to match play at the 2023 NCAA Championship on Monday. The Gamecocks, who will be the No. 4 seed, will face fifth-seeded Southern Cal in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Carolina shot 289 (+1) in the final round to move two spots up the leaderboard. Today marks the team’s second match play appearance and its first since 2016. A win tomorrow against the Trojans will guarantee the Gamecocks the program’s highest finish ever in 20 NCAA Championship appearances. Carolina finished T-5th in 2016 and fifth in 2012.
“We played a lot more discipline golf,” said head coach Kalen Anderson. “We worked a lot more mental toughness at practice this year. One of the blessings that we had during the year is we played the Bahamas event. We played undisciplined golf in really firm and hard conditions. It wasn’t even close to as windy as this. The greens were really firm, small, and really difficult. We met with them after that. I told them ‘we are a great team, but we will never be successful in the postseason, especially at Grayhawk, if we don’t start playing more discipline golf and get a little tougher.’ We really made an effort all spring to play more disciplined and do things at practice to make them tougher mentally.”
The team’s 1,153, 72-hole total is a new program record at the NCAA Championship by nine shots. The previous low score at NCAA finals was 1,162 in 2016. Carolina broke the 18-hole program record at the NCAA Championship with the team’s 12-under 276 in the second round.
“Overall, our lines and how we went about some difficult hole locations is what impressed me the most with our play today,” said Anderson. “We have a lot of talent and kids who want to go for things and be aggressive; as they should because they are really talented. We are learning when to be aggressive and when not to. Over the course of the spring, they have done a really good job and bought into that.”
The Gamecocks were 7 -over through six holes today as a team but a pair of eagles at the par-5 seventh hole by senior Mathilde Claisse and All-American Hannah Darling helped turn the tide of the round. Carolina’s four counting scores were par or better on the back nine as the team shot 4-under coming into the clubhouse.
Darling, a PING First Team All-American last season, paced the team today with a 2-under 70. She finished T-18th at 2-under overall for the tournament to also lead the team….
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