On Sunday, he was struggling through his Gators debut. But on Monday, freshman Won Jun Lee was Florida’s best golfer.
Lee’s play has the Gators in a tie for third with one round to go in the Nike Collegiate Invitational in North Plains, Oregon.
After shooting 1 over in Round 1, Lee was 4 under in Round 2 and was UF’s lowest scorer on the day. His strong performance was good enough to move up 18 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 18th place.
He is joined in the top 20 by sophomore and Zhang, who was 1 under for the day and remains in a tie for 13th.
Senior leader Alejandro Tosti, who has been in a bit of a slump the last several rounds, performed better on Monday, shooting 1 under and moving up to a tie for 39th.
"We had a fairly non-eventful day until the finish,” coach J.C. Deacon said in a release. “Ale (Tosti), Andy, and especially Won Jun had big time finishes to their rounds. Their patience and discipline paid off and puts us in a spot where we can still win the tournament tomorrow.”
Junior Gordon Neale also performed well, shooting 1 under, which was good enough for him to sit in a tie for 24th.
Once again, freshman Chris Nido put together a disastrous round, shooting 8 over and dropping 47 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 54th.
With the final round set to begin on Tuesday, Deacon is optimistic about his team.
“I am actually really proud of our round today,” Deacon said. “We took a day where we weren't at our best and turned it into something positive. That's a great step for us."
Sophomore Carlotta Ricolfi struggled mightily through the first round of the Gators 36-hole day on Sunday, shooting 5 over. However, she performed much better in the afternoon’s Round 2, shooting 3 under and moving up into a tie for 19th, and she is currently the only Gator in the top 20 as the Gators are tied for sixth at the Windy City Collegiate Championship in Highland Park, Illinois.
She is joined at 19th by senior Taylor Tomlinson, who followed up a 2 over first round with an even second round.
Another sophomore, Marta Perez, was in the top 20 after one round, but fell to a tie for 27th after a 3 over Round 2.
"Well, we are doing some really good things,” coach Emily Glaser said in a release. “I am super impressed with the talent we have. Right now, we just lack some of the discipline and maturity that's needed to make us more competitive. I'm really thankful for the experience of coming to Chicago and playing a championship caliber golf course that requires you to think and pay attention on every shot. Those are the things we need to work on and I feel that if we make those adjustments we can be a very special team.”
The potential that freshman Elin Esborn flashed early this season has been notably absent in the last two tournaments, as rounds of 2 over and 3 over currently have her in a tie for 36th.
The other freshman, Addie Baggarly, shot a respectable 1 over in the first round, but dropped 32 spots after finishing Round 2 at 7 over, and she currently is tied for 51st.
“I saw a lot of fight today,” Glaser said in a release. “Even though we struggled at times, I saw no one let up or give up. We had a good practice after the round and our goal is to end tomorrow on a positive note."
The final round from the suburbs of Chicago will begin on Tuesday morning.
You can follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno, and contact him at [email protected].