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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The UF women's golf team will be in a familiar place this weekend, but the familiar faces, both present and absent, will be the story.

Two-time All-American Sandra Gal, the senior leader of the fifth-ranked Gators, did not make the trip to the Wildcat Fall Invitational in Lexington, Ky., for unspecified reasons.

Her absence will make claiming a title on the Big Blue Course at the University Club of Kentucky a bit more difficult for the Gators, who notched a 10-stroke win at the same course in 2005.

The senior trio of Tiffany Chudy, Whitney Myers and Eleanor Tucker was part of that success, and redshirt junior Ornella Jouven, who joins the traveling team for her first action of the season, blazed to a fourth-place finish at the event in 2005.

UF coach Jill Briles-Hinton isn?t overly concerned about traveling without her star.

BWe?ll miss Sandra, but as a coach, I look for the girls to step up their games,C she said.

The Gators placed fifth earlier this month at the highly competitive Mason Rudolph Women?s Championship, and Briles-Hinton hopes to build on that success.

BI?d like for them to pick up right where they left off with three rounds under 300 in Nashville,C she said.

In these experienced ranks, however, it may be youth that serves UF best.

True freshman Jessica Yadloczky, whose 72.70 stroke average is second on the team to Gal, will play in the Gators? No. 1 slot after a strong qualifying effort.

Her showing at the Mason Rudolph also earned her the No. 19 spot in the Golfweek individual rankings, as she joined No. 17 Gal in the top 20.

Mallory Blackwelder, who won the event two years ago as a stud UF freshman, will be competing against the Gators this weekend.

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She is now a Kentucky junior, playing for her mother, Myra, in her first season as the Wildcats? coach.

The younger Blackwelder will be the highest-ranked individual in the field at No. 9.

BWe?ll be coming into this event knowing a lot of the players, and they know us and the course very well,C Briles-Hinton said.

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