Georgia's Emilie Burger competes at the NCAA Championships on Thursday, May 23, 2013, at the UGA Golf Course. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)
ATHENS -- Both coach and player just shook their heads.
For the third day the same troubles plagued Emilie Burger as she fell further on the leaderboard at the NCAA Women's Championships on Thursday. Like her first two rounds, the putts ran by the edge of the cup and one or two bad swings led to bad bogies.
"You have those weeks," Burger said after finishing 2-over in her third round. "It's just not been my week, but I am sure it will be my week some other time."
But this is Burger's last week as an amateur and as a Georgia golfer. She plans to turn pro following the tournament. Even at 11-over par for the tournament and well out of contention of the leader Stepanie Park at 9-under, Burger tried to keep smiling through her third straight round of struggles.
"It wears on you," Burger said of the consistency of her struggles. "It's my last time here, my last time being an amateur I am just enjoying the moment and having as much fun as I can."
In three over-par rounds the story repeats itself day-to-day for Burger. She struggles on the early holes and gives back the few birdies she finds. Her putts just miss.
"It's failed me," Burger said of her putter. "I really feel like my swing has finally gotten back to where I've been hitting it all spring. The putts didn't drop. There's not much you can do, you just continue to do what you are doing and hopefully they'll start falling."
She played the first four holes of her three rounds 9-over par with a two 7s, one on a par 3. Of the 12 total holes she's played over par, four have been double-bogey or worse.
"I wish I had something better to tell her," Georgia coach Josh Brewer said. "She's hitting it well, it's just one or two swings that happen to lead to a bogey or a double. No putts are falling at this time. I am going to try to think of something good to tell her and her and I are going to enjoy our last 18 holes together, I promise."
Wearing a blue ribbon on her hat and with stickers that read "Kim" plastered all over her bag, Burger admits she found perspective in the attitude of Kim Evans, the Auburn coach recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Evans recruited Burger while she was in high school and the two stayed close even after Burger came to Georgia.
"She's a trooper, it doesn't surprise me at all that she's out here," Burger said. "She's an inspiration to all of us. She loves golf and she loves being out here. I love her to death. She's just amazing. Everything she's going through and still have a positive attitude. It's something I am trying to do this week even though I am not playing well."
If the rounds look similar so did Burger when she walked off the course. Not sullen, angry nor resigned to her results. Smiles despite her results. A look forward toward possibilities, while grounded in realism. And with her final round on her home course starting about noon today she certainly has a shot at a good memory.
"It'll be an emotional embrace on 18, I promise," Brewer said. "I am going to tell her that I'll miss the heck out of her."
"I am just having fun now," Burger said. "I am going to go out tomorrow and see if I can go out and with a low number. I am just going to try to do what I can and go out with a bang, I guess."