Sierra Brooks

Sophomore Sierra Brooks led her team to a win in New Orleans with a tournament-best 7 under. 

Courtesy of UAA Communications

Florida women’s golf coach Emily Glaser appears to be tearing a page out of the Philadelphia 76ers’ playbook as she “trusts the process.” And by the look of her team’s recent success, it appears to be working.

After UF held a one-shot lead through the first two rounds of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Championship in mid-February, she was adamant that Florida not lose focus down the stretch of the tournament.

“We talk a lot about process, and I think — even as coaches — we have to follow that,” Glaser said. “I think I knew we were in a good position, but you know, that requires playing hard to the very last putt.”

The Gators did.

After a strong final day in New Orleans, the team finished nine strokes ahead of second-place USC, clinching its first win of 2018.

As a whole, Florida has looked much better in the spring than it did in the fall. Besides its victory at the Sugar Bowl, it also placed second at the Florida Challenge in Lecanto, Florida, on Jan. 29.

In UF’s three fall tournaments, it didn’t finish an event higher than third place.

One reason for Florida’s spring prosperity is sophomore Sierra Brooks’ recent stretch of dominance. Brooks sat out in the fall after transferring from Wake Forest, but has proved her worth to the team over the past month, finishing first on the individual leaderboard at both the Sugar Bowl and Florida Challenge.

In the Sugar Bowl, Brooks led by one stroke heading into the final nine holes, but realized at hole No. 13 that she had a chance to close with a win.

“When I got to the back nine… I definitely had a lead and I told (Glaser), ‘I haven’t had this feeling in such a long time – being in the hunt and whatnot.’”

When asked how it feels to be a Gator on Friday, a smile crept onto Brooks’ face.

“I 100 percent feel at home here… I really feel like I trust my coaches,” she said. “I feel like I have a second family here.”

Brooks attributes most of her success to her teammates, coaches, and her trust of the system in place. Yes — like Glaser — Brooks trusts the process too, one that is predicated on focus and confidence.

“Everything kinda fits into place since I’ve gotten here,” Brooks said. “Just sticking to my process and doing my thing.”

Glaser agrees, crediting Brooks for giving her teammates confidence.

“It’s helpful not just for the scoring, but also the team dynamic,” Glaser said. “To have a player of that caliber who is going to contribute every time she goes out there… I think it also alleviates some of the pressure on the other girls on the team, where they feel like they can play a little freer.”

Follow Chris O'Brien on Twitter @THEChrisOB and contact him at [email protected].

Chris O'Brien is the women's golf beat writer at the Alligator. He's a freshman at the University of Florida and aspires to be an on-air sports reporter someday.