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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Ask UF women's golf coach Jill Briles-Hinton about her team and she will talk at length about each of her "young ladies," from their strengths and weaknesses to their growth as golfers and people.

When you ask her if expectations change since the beginning of the year, with UF as NCAA and Southeastern Conference favorites and ranked No. 6 nationally - as well as with personnel changes that make this a totally different team - the answer is short and sweet: "They don't."

The Gators proved it with a strong first day at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif., combining to shoot a 14-over 298 that left them tied with the University of Southern California, Brigham Young University and Pepperdine for second place, 10 strokes behind national power UCLA.

Freshman Jessica Yadloczky led the Gators with her even-par 71, which tied her for third place with USC's Lizette Salas and UCLA's Glory Yang and Sydnee Michaels.

It's nothing new for Yadloczky, who has registered four consecutive top-20 finishes in a highly competitive schedule of stroke play events.

And it's no shock that Whitney Myers, who tied a UF record for a low round in the fall, shot a two-over 73 to tie for 10th on the day.

But for Hannah Yun, a 15-year-old freshman who enrolled at UF this spring, it's a pleasant surprise to be tied for 38th with teammate Tiffany Chudy after a six-over 77.

Yun may be the face of the new-look Gators, a radical departure from the senior-laden team Briles-Hinton expected, and she knows there is potential for chemistry mishaps.

"My biggest concern is the dynamics," she said.

But Chudy, a senior, thinks the chemistry is as good as ever. "Hannah &mdsah; it doesn't matter what her age is, because she's such a hard worker. That part has blended in very quickly."

Redshirt junior Ornella Jouven and redshirt sophomore Brittany Nelson, the latter competing as an individual, shot 80 and 84 respectively to round out UF's day.

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