The 2002 Southeastern Conference Championships will take place this week at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens. The tournament will be hosted by the University of Georgia on the par 72, 6,104-yard course as all 12 SEC schools will hit the links beginning on Friday. The first teams will tee off from the first hole at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, while squads will tee off from both the first and 10th holes on Sunday for the final round. Tennessee is grouped with Florida and South Carolina and will tee off at 10:10 a.m. on Friday.
"We are excited that post-season play is beginning," UT coach Judi Pavon said. "We had a great 10 days of practice. The SEC is extremely strong this year, so we are shooting for a top three finish. Seniors Young-A Yang and Tina Schneeberger are playing very well and will be striving for good finishes to round out their SEC careers."
The Lady Vols enter the SEC Championships in a slump, as it has not recorded a team score under 300 in eight rounds. At the Bryan National Collegiate two weeks ago, Tennessee finished in 12th, its lowest finish in more than two years. UT has spent the past two weeks refining its game and preparing itself for the challenge that lies ahead.
Two Lady Vols will be competing in their fourth SEC Tournament and one will be playing in her second. Senior Yang and Schneeberger (WR-Neustadt, Austria) are making their fourth appearances in the conference event, while sophomore Tai Perry (Unionville, P
a.) is playing in her second. All hope to take home their first SEC crown. Yang, Schneeberger and Perry will join with first-timers sophomore Mary Jan Fernandez (Henderson, Nev.) and freshman Jessica Shepley (Oakville, Ont.) to try and bring home Tennessee's first SEC Tournament title in school history.
The SEC Championships are one of the most competitive in the country, as Golfweek Magazine ranks 11 of the league's 12 squads in the top 50. The rated teams are as follows: No. 1 Auburn, No. 8 Tennessee, No. 9 Georgia, No. 11 Florida, No. 12 Vanderbilt, No. 24 Louisiana State, No. 25 South Carolina, No. 35 Mississippi State, No. 42 Alabama, No. 45 Mississippi and No. 46 Kentucky. In addition, the SEC also has eight ranked golfers among the top 20 players by Golfweek: No. 4 Angela Jerman (Georgia), No. 7 Courtney Swaim (Auburn), No. 8 Danielle Downey (Auburn), No. 11 Meredith Duncan (LSU), No. 12 Kristy McPherson (South Carolina), No. 13 Celeste Troche (Auburn), No. 16 Summer Sirmons (Georgia) and No. 20 Yang (Tennessee).