The Florida women’s golf team begins play in the NCAA Championships today after a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Central Regional on May 11.

This marks the third straight year the Gators have advanced past regionals. If Florida wins the NCAA championship, it would be the third national title in the program’s history and the first since 1986.

“We had a good team effort at regionals,” coach Emily Bastel said in a release. “That’s what is exciting going into nationals because the final tournament takes a team effort. We feel like we’ve been able to prepare very well and we’re ready to get going.”

That team effort during the regional included four Florida golfers breaking or tying their season low for an 18-hole round.

Senior Mia Piccio shot a 69 (-3) to finish with a 54-hole total of 214 (-2). Her score was good enough for seventh overall at the regional and her second-lowest 54-hole total this season.

“Obviously, Mia played a tremendous tournament minus about nine holes,” Bastel said, referring to Piccio’s second round in which she shot four bogeys and one triple-bogey.

Piccio responded in the final round with three birdies on the front nine – including two in the first three holes – on her way to a final-round 69.

The NCAA Championships will be played at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga. – a course two Gators golfers are familiar with.

Last season, Camilla Hedberg was in Florida’s rotation during the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at UGA Golf Course. Hedberg tied for 10th on the individual leaderboard after shooting 214 (-2).

Piccio has played the course in each of her college seasons. As a freshman, she shot a 231 (+15) and tied for 28th in the 2010 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. As a sophomore and junior, she shot 223 (+7) each time out on the UGA Golf Course.

The Gators' tee times today are 12:55 p.m., 1:06., 1:17., 1:28 and 1:39. Florida will be paired with golfers from Oklahoma State and South Carolina.


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