The seventh-ranked Lady Vols golf team competed this week in the Cougar Classic in South Carolina, finishing in seventh place.
   
 Five of the pre-season top-10 teams played in the tournament. Some of the most notable teams the Lady Vols beat were Miami, South Carolina, Alabama and Duke.
    
Tennessee’s top performer was junior Erica Popson. She finished the tournament in second at nine-under-par, 207. She entered the final day with the lead, but could not hold on after shooting even par in the final round.
   
 “I played well this weekend, but I just made a few mental mistakes,” Popson said. “I hit it really well and hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in. I need to just really focus on staying mentally tougher and being more patient with my game.”
   
 UT ended day one with a one-over-par 289, putting the Lady Vols in sixth place. Popson led the way with a six-under-par 66, tying her career-best score. Another Lady Vol who played a major supporting role was junior Sara Monberg. Monberg shot even-par 72 to keep the Lady Vols in contention. Chessey Thomas, a sophomore, ended day one with a three-over-par 75. Freshman A.J. Newell, making her first start at UT, shot a 76, along with sophomore teammate Kaitlyn Rohrback.
    
Day two brought optimism to the Lady Vols to move up in the tournament. Another strong performance from Erica Popson, with a three-under 69, led the Volunteers into the top five. Rohrback carded a 73, while Monberg scored a 75.
    
“I think that this is a very special team,” Popson said. “We expect to play great every week.”
    
Thomas and Newell made an impact in the final round shooting under par to help the Vols to their seventh place finish with a three-over 867. LSU captured the victory with a 16-under 848. Thomas finished out the event by making two birdies in the final three holes to finish at two-under-par. Newell recorded her first collegiate round of par or better with a solid one-under performance, finishing the tournament with an eight-over-par 224.
    
“Overall we played well this week,” UT coach Judi Pavon said. “We would like to have shot closer to the lead, but without Nathalie (Mansson) in the lineup we would have had to be flawless to challenge for the lead. We were pretty nervous the first couple days, but played more confidently today.”
   
 Also contributing to the Vols’ seventh-place finish were Monberg with a four-over-par 220 and Kaitlyn Rohrback with a seven-over-par 223 for the tournament.
   
 “I think we did a bunch of really good things, but just made a few mistakes,” Popson said. “I am very excited to work on our games and get ready for the Preview.”
    
The Lady Vols’ next tournament is Sept. 23-24 at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview in Nashville, Tenn.