By Julie Williams
Bottled-water showers usually are reserved for the postseason, but South Carolina made an exception Tuesday. Considering the competition, a season-opening victory on a steamy Florida day was cause for the Gamecocks to collect every bottle within sight of the 18th green.
The Gamecocks poured them on their senior, Frenchwoman Justine Dreher, as she closed out the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M with a one-shot victory. Then they poured them on head coach Kalen Harris, whose leadership for the past eight years is a big reason South Carolina left Reunion with a trophy.
For the first time all day, South Carolina had breathing room. A final-round 6-under 282 helped the Gamecocks to a 10-under total and a seven-shot victory over Arizona. Oklahoma State was another shot back at 2 under, and Stanford was fourth at even par for 54 holes.
“It was a lot closer than it came out to be in the end,” Harris said.
In college golf, it’s a luxury not to know which score will be thrown out, and Harris had it on Tuesday. She followed the scoreboard closely, but delivered only this line to her team: “You can’t make enough birdies.”
Freshman Nanna Madsen was 1 over after 12, and saw Harris at that green. Madsen asked if 1 or 2 under for the day would be good enough.
“Yeah, just do that,” Harris told her. True to her word, Madsen delivered a 2-under 70.
As a team, South Carolina made nine birdies on the back nine. By the time Madsen, in the No. 2 spot, reached the 18th, her teammates already were plotting their celebration.
The ANNIKA Foundation is honored to welcome 3M as a sponsor of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, ANNIKA Award and our global series of Invitational tournaments. The new partnership with 3M reflects both organizations’ dedication to empowering the next generation, especially women and girls.