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Saturday, March 02, 2024

The UF women's golf team didn't back down on Wednesday, but they only needed to check the leaderboard to see what happens when a team steps up.

The No. 6 Gators fired a 10-over 294 yesterday, which earned them second place outright at the Northrup Grumman Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif., with a cumulative score of 31-over.

UCLA, which placed four golfers in the top 10 as individuals, combined for a five-over 289, which left them seven shots clear of UF.

While the Gators couldn't match the Bruins' depth, two of their leaders fell just short of medalist honors.

Senior Whitney Myers' one-under 70, spurred by four consecutive birdies on her back nine, led the Gators. The score tied her with Arizona State's Azahara Munoz, Stanford's Mari Chun and Arizona's Amanda Wilson for the low round of the day.

"I started with one, and you just get momentum," Myers said of her birdies. "I was making really good shots."

A double bogey after a fog delay on the fourth hole Wednesday likely prevented Myers from claiming the Gators' second individual victory of the season.

Myers and freshman Jessica Yadloczky, who shot a two-over 73, both tied for second for the tournament, one shot behind Wake Forest's Natalie Sheary.

"I played really well all week, and I've been putting really great," said Yadloczky, who would have earned her first victory at the collegiate level if not for a two-stroke penalty for moving her ball on Tuesday.

When told so after her round, Yadloczky said she had no idea.

"Everyone's going to have a crazy story like that once in their life," she said, sighing. "I'm glad mine happened now."

Senior Tiffany Chudy and 15-year-old freshman Hannah Yun each recorded top-25 finishes. Chudy tied for 21st after her 76, and Yun shared 23rd following a six-over 77.

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Chudy finished at 13-over. Yun ended her tournament at 14-over.

Redshirt junior Ornella Jouven's second consecutive 75 was her low score of the tournament, leaving her at 17-over and tied for 32nd.

An exuberant Myers was energized by her team's strong performance.

"We didn't know how we were going to play at this tournament," she said. "We can definitely win NCAAs."

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