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Emma de Groot's car full of passengers kicked up a little dust on her drive to the back of her golf team's practice facility earlier this week.

She parked, and three of her dearest family members emerged from the car after a long trip from de Groot's native Australia. They were greeted by hugs from her University of Tennessee at Chattanooga teammates.

The junior's mother, grandmother and aunt will join de Groot for the rest of the golf season, which includes the Lady Mocs' final regular-season tournament this weekend and the Southern Conference tournament. They're also likely to play in an NCAA regional, with the potential for a trip to the NCAA championship.

"It's so nice to have them here," said de Groot, who Friday was named the SoCon women's golfer of the month for March. "It's hasn't been an outstanding season, but it's been good. I'm going to try and relax and play well, starting Saturday in Florida."

The nationally 38th-ranked Lady Mocs are one of 15 teams competing today and Sunday in the SunTrust Gator Invitational at the University of Florida's Mark Bostick Golf Course. Eight of the teams are ranked in the top 50.

"A top-five finish would make me happy," UTC coach Colette Murray said. "But I'd be happy with a couple good rounds before we play in the conference tournament."

The de Groot family and a couple of Emma's teammates prepared for their tournament by watching some of the best golfers in the world Wednesday during a practice round at The Masters.

The UTC men's team, including freshman Steven Fox -- the SoCon men's golfer of the month for March -- caught Monday's practice round in Augusta. He said he enjoyed watching Tiger Woods up close. But the Mocs are off until the SoCon tournament April 18-20.

The Lady Mocs -- down to five following the transfer of Maria Salinas and Kayla Stewart's graduation after the fall season -- have one last tournament to prep for the SoCon tournament and an automatic berth into a regional.

"It's been kind of a rough season," Murray said. "But we're still in the top 50, and that's pretty good for being in our third year."

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