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Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Senior Whitney Myers shot a blistering five-under 67 to take sole possession of the lead and help the Gators keep pace with a scorching Alabama team at the Wildcat Fall Invitational on Sunday.

Myers' career-best mark was also good enough to tie the UF school record.

And maybe it was all her mother's fault.

"In Nashville (at the season-opening Mason Rudolph), she was hitting the ball well, but after I said to her, 'You need to sink some of those putts,'" her mother, Joyce Myers, said.

This Saturday and Sunday, the younger Myers did. She fired a 70 in the opening round, matching her then-collegiate-best before shattering that record on Sunday.

"[Sunday] I hit the ball really well, and I made every putt that I looked at within ten feet," said Myers, whose round is the low number of the tournament.

Coach Jill Briles-Hinton isn't shocked by Myers' success.

"Whitney is a good ball-striker, and when she putts well, she can go low," she said.

More importantly, Myers' strong play puts UF in great position heading into its final round. The fifth-ranked Gators trail Alabama by five strokes, and that's the concern of coach Briles-Hinton - and her frontrunner Myers.

The Gators are without senior two-time All-American Sandra Gal for the Invitational, but they are handling her absence well. Two straight rounds under 300 - a 295 on Saturday and a 292 on Sunday - are attributable to solid play from Ornella Jouven, Jessica Yadloczky, Tiffany Chudy and Eleanor Tucker.

Jouven, in particular, has impressed in her first outing this season, pairing a first-round 75 with a Sunday 74 for second on the team.

As they head into the final round with a title in their sights, Briles-Hinton wants her team to focus.

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"We can't play (Alabama) head-to-head, because if we start doing that, if they play okay, you're just going to play okay," she said. "We have to play the course."

Myers is a stroke clear of Alabama's Courtney Harter, competing as an individual.

But she has her tunnel vision on the team's goal.

"We're losing by five to Alabama, and we've got to stay calm, and play golf like we all know how to play golf," she said.

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