FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Mill Creek grad Emilie Burger birdied three of her final four holes en route to capturing individual medalist honors at the Mason Rudolph Championship at Vanderbilt Legends Club on Sunday. She helped her Georgia team to a ninth-place finish in the team standings.
"It was fun to watch," UGA head coach Josh Brewer said. "Emilie was as calm as I've ever seen her and really focused on the moment. She knew she probably needed to make a birdie or two coming in. She did a great job of sticking with the process, focusing on each shot and not getting ahead of herself. All the credit goes to her, and I'm really proud of her."
Burger wrapped her third straight even-par 72 to become the clubhouse leader by two strokes at around 12:30. She was then forced to wait approximately three hours to see if that mark would hold up.
When Burger walked off the 18th green, second-round leader Kendall Prince of Arizona was making the turn and two shots off Burger's mark. Prince birdied No. 11 to pull within a shot but then bogeyed No. 13 and No. 15 to fall three shots back with three to play. Prince recorded a trio of pars and failed to make up any ground.
"Waiting was hard," Burger said. "I knew I had played well and thought 'If she can beat me, beat me.' The course was playing hard today so I knew if she was going to pass me she was going to have to play really well."
The victory was Burger's second as a Bulldog, but her first regulation win. As a freshman, Burger won the 18-hole Auburn Invitational, a spring event scheduled among several SEC schools after numerous fall rounds of competition were cancelled due to weather.
"I was close a couple of times last year and couldn't get a win," Burger said. "I really thought last night about what I might have done wrong in those situations. I told myself last night that whatever happens, happens and I could only control what I do. I just tried to not get ahead of myself. Josh was right there with me and kept me focused on each shot. I wasn't worried about the score. I was concentrating on each shot. It was a good learning lesson."
Burger was 3-over through 12 holes and appeared to be in trouble. Over the first dozen holes, she bogeyed No. 1, No. 8, No. 10 and No. 12 and birdied No. 9. Birdies at No. 15, No. 17 and No. 18 pushed Burger to even for the first time all day. Then the waiting began.
"We kept hitting refresh on our phones to check the live scoring," Brewer said. "You never want to pull against anyone but we were hoping a of circles (indicating birdies) wouldn't show up on our phones. We sat behind the 18th green and sort of knew from the Arizona coaches that Emilie had won, but you always worry because the numbers on the internet aren't official until the scorecard is checked."
The Bulldogs shot 309 as a team and finished at 916. Georgia's other counting scores on Sunday were a 74 from Collins Bradshaw, an 81 from Rocio Sanchez Lobato and an 82 from Kailey Walsh.
Overall, Sanchez Lobato tied for 23rd at 228, Bradshaw tied for 51st at 235 and Walsh finished 59th at 237.
Georgia played the entire weekend with only four golfers after freshman Sylvie Brick was forced to scratch on Friday due to an infected blister on her right hand. In addition, Manuela Carbajo Re, the Bulldogs' top individual finisher at the season opener two weeks ago, missed the tournament while traveling to Turkey to represent Argentina in next week's World Amateur Team Championships.
Arizona captured the Mason Rudolph team title after shooting 305 on Sunday to complete the 54-hole event at 889. The Wildcats secured a three-shot win over Virginia, followed by Michigan State at 897, Texas at 898, Vanderbilt at 900, Texas A&M and Wake Forest both at 911, Kentucky at 912, the Bulldogs at 916, North Carolina at 917 and Stanford at 919.
Georgia will return to action in two weeks when the Bulldogs host the 41st annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the University of Georgia Golf Course on Oct. 5-7. Traditionally a spring event, this year's Liz Murphey will serve as a "preview' tournament for the 2013 NCAA Championships, which will be contested at the UGA course next May 21-24.