Florida’s women’s golf team overcame a difficult and windy day to finish strong, putting three golfers in the top 20 and earning a fourth-place finish at the Windy City Classic in Highland Park, Illinois.

“The conditions were tough today,” coach Emily Glaser said in a release. “It was windy and the pins were tougher and less accessible. I thought relative to the field we played better today. I was happy to see our team try and implement some of the strategy we have discussed this fall. I thought we made some good pars and some saves that helped us move up. Everyone fought hard all the way to the end and it was very good to see.”

Senior Taylor Tomlinson led the way for the Gators, shooting 1 over in the final round and finishing in a tie for 12th, her best result of the season.

She was joined in the top 20 by sophomore Carlotta Ricolfi and redshirt freshman Elin Esborn. Ricolfi was solid on Monday, shooting 2 under, but struggled Tuesday, shooting 3 over. However, the struggles of other golfers around her allowed her to move up a spot on the leaderboard, and she finished tied for 18th.

Esborn was the hero of Florida’s first tournament last month, but she didn’t play well in either of her rounds on Monday. She seemed to have fixed her problems on Tuesday, when she scored 1 over and finished tied for 20th.

Sophomore Marta Perez was 4 over Tuesday, and dropped to a tie for 28th, and freshman Addie Baggarly was 5 over, finishing tied for 53rd.

While it wasn’t Florida’s best tournament, a strong final day put it in better position than it appeared it would be after Monday.

“As I said earlier this week, this was a really great experience for our team,” Glaser said. “This is the type of golf course that requires you to pay attention and can expose some weaknesses. I thought we gained a lot of valuable information to help us prepare for our next event at the end of the month and also just to help us get better overall.”

Freshmen shine for men’s golf team:

The story of Florida’s first two tournaments was the play of upperclassmen like Alejandro Tosti and Gordon Neale.

However, in this week’s Nike Collegiate Invitational, the play of freshmen Chris Nido and Won Jun Lee, as well as sophomore Andy Zhang, led Florida to a fifth-place finish in North Plains, Oregon. While the result wasn’t as impressive as the one the Gators hoped for, the team saw its younger players show some promise.

“We got two massive rounds from our freshmen today,” coach J.C. Deacon said in a release. “Won Jun and Chris really came to play. We knew coming into this year the young guys were going to have to step up. It’s amazing to see them doing it.”

Lee had another solid round Tuesday, shooting 2 under and finishing tied for 14th, while Zhang had his worst round of what has otherwise been a solid tournament for him, shooting 3 over and finishing tied for 27th.

Nido struggled Monday, but put together a good bounce-back round, shooting 2 under and finishing tied for 38th.

“Overall, we just didn’t have our best this week,” Deacon said. “To beat the caliber of teams we played this week, you need to perform at a high level. We just didn’t have it. I’m still very proud of the guys’ fight and grinding out that fifth-place finish.”

Neale had an average tournament by his standards, shooting 3 over in the final day and finishing tied for 38th alongside Nido, while Tosti finished last among Florida golfers, tying for 50th after a 3 over day.

Florida has yet to put together good performances from both its upperclassmen and underclassmen, but this week showed signs of improvement for the team, even if the leaderboard didn’t reflect it.

“We look forward to getting back to Gainesville and working on all the lessons we’ve learned the past two weeks,” Deacon said. “It’s been a great start to the year, can’t wait to see where the journey takes us.”

You can follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno, and contact him at tnettuno@alligator.org.

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