The fifth-ranked UF women's golf team, which begins play today at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has had more than a little success this fall.
The Gators are coming off their first win of the season, at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Classic, and their team score tied the 22-year-old school record of 865 set in the 1985 Ryder Championships. The squad was led by senior Sandra Gal?s stellar effort, one that tied UF?s individual tournament record and garnered the third win of her collegiate career.
UF has yet to finish outside the top 5 so far, and Coach Jill Briles-Hinton believes it has something to do with the Gators? dynamic as a group.
BI?ve had 10 teams, but this is the first 'team? that I?ve had,C she said. BThey respect each other?s differences, and they really like each other. It?s a team that?s been together for four years, my second in 10 years. And this group has a lot more talent.C
After last year?s early NCAA exit, these Gators are a threat to win some hardware come spring.
BAfter missing (the NCAA Championships) last year, they?ve got a fire in the belly,C Briles-Hinton said. BWe should?ve finished in the top five, and we were on the outside looking in.C
Seniors Gal, Tiffany Chudy and Whitney Myers, as well as redshirt junior Ornella Jouven, comprised part of the team that finished 10th at the NCAA West Regional this spring.
This fall, they?ve worked harder to refine their skills.
BWhitney Myers is a perfect example," Briles-Hinton said. "She was in contention to win (at the Wildcat Invitational), and she let little things bother her. The fall gives you the freedom to work on things you need to work on to get better for the spring.C
It doesn?t hurt that freshman Jessica Yadloczky has pushed the veterans and fit into their ranks at the same time.
BShe?s got a lot of intensity and wants to win,C Briles-Hinton said.
Of course, that makes her no different than the other Gators with national championship aspirations.
BThe sky?s the limit, but they have to stay focused to get it,C Briles-Hinton said. BIt?s not to be handed to us on a silver platter.C