Three teams from the Palmetto State will be in the field for NCAA regional play around the country in early May.
The Furman Lady Paladins are ranked 9th nationally and are seeded third in the Lubbock, Texas Regional at Texas Tech. Furman is coming off an impressive win in the Southern Conference tournament and have been a top-10 team all year.
South Carolina is ranked 14th in the latest polls and is also seeded third in their region. The Gamecocks will play in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio St. Scarlet Course.
The Gamecocks feature Katelyn Dambaugh, the SEC individual champion. South Carolina will be making their 19th straight trip to NCAA post season play.
South Carolina will compete with SEC champion Florida, FSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M among the ranked teams playing in the regional.
Clemson will make their third NCAA appearance and first under new coach Kelley Hester when the Tigers take the short trip to the Athens, Georgia regional. The Tigers are ranked 37th in the Golfweek Poll and are the 10th seed at the University of Georgia golf course.
Furman’s trip to Texas will have the Lady Paladins competing against two of the top-four teams in the country. Top ranked UCLA and fourth ranked Arizona State join Furman as the top teams in the field. The tournament will be played at the Rawls Course in Lubbock. The course is the home course for the Red Raiders of Texas Tech who are also in the Regional.
“I hear the golf course is awesome,” said Furman coach Jeff Hull. ” I have never been there but it doesn’t matter. All the regions are strong so you have to play well wherever you go. Our strength is our depth so hopefully we go out there and continue our strong consistent play,” he said.
The Tigers short trip to Athens will be a homecoming of sorts for Clemson’s coach. Hester was an All-SEC golfer for the Bulldogs and coached Georgia to five NCAA appearances before coming to Furman and then to Clemson.
“We are excited to go to Athens,” said Hester. ” I think the course sets up well for us. We have relatively long hitters and overall good putters. The greens can be the most challenging part of the course,” said the Clemson coach.
The Tigers earned their highest finish in the ACC tournament when they came in fifth. While Duke ran away with the championship the Tigers were in competition with Miami and North Carolina for third place until the end of the tournament.
“As a 10 seed, we have no pressure on us or expectations to advance. I will encourage the team to go and have fun and continue to work on staying in our process, control the things you can and try to do the small things right. At the end of the day, teams that play well will advance,” said the Tigers coach.
The Columbus Regional has a strong contingent of southern teams. FSU is the highest ranked team at #5 while the SEC champions from Florida are ranked #6 and are the top seed. Arkansas and Texas A&M from the SEC are also in the region.
The top-6 teams at each Regional will advance to the NCAA National Championship being played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois starting on May 19th.