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Saturday, April 13, 2024

At least there's a spring season.

The UF women's golf team finished its fall season on a disappointing note, losing to 16th-seeded Tulsa in the last round at the Match Play in Orlando on Tuesday. The Gators lost the match 3-1-1.

No surprise - the Gators were led by their freshmen again.

Freshman Evan Jensen swiped UF's sole victory from Tulsa's Shu-Yin Liu in thrilling fashion.

Liu led for 14 consecutive holes before Jensen tied it up on the second-to-last hole. Jensen got the win on the last hole.

At one point, Liu held a 4-hole lead over Jensen.

"(Liu) made a few putts early on that put me down quick," Jensen said.

Jensen said she just buckled down and stopped worrying about what her opponent was doing.

Jensen, the Gators' best player this tournament, boasted a 2-1 record in her three matches.

"Mentally tough," coach Jill Briles-Hinton said about Jensen. "She won quite a few holes when she was down, and that shows mental toughness."

The next best golfer was fellow freshman Andrea Watts.

Watts halved her match - meaning her and her opponent finished the match tied. Watts and Tulsa's Woori Shin traded holes throughout the match before Watts gained the upper hand in the second-to-last hole.

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It was a fleeting lead, as Shin saved face for the tie. For her three rounds, Watts finished 1-1-1.

"One of the best swings in golf," Briles-Hinton said about Watts.

Briles-Hinton said she and Watts would work on nailing Watts' swing down.

Nicole Schachner, Brittany Nelson and Lauren Uzelatz didn't fare as well against their respective opponents.

Schachner dropped her match 6 and 4. Nelson kept it a close affair but couldn't escape a 3 and 2 loss. Uzelatz had momentum in the early stages but squandered it and never got it back. She lost 4 and 3.

Now the Gators will have until Feb. 9 before seeing the greens again when they'll travel to Palos Verdes, Calif., for the Northrop Grumman tournament.

Briles-Hinton said the team will focus on one thing this off-season.

"We, without a doubt, have to work on our short game," Briles-Hinton said. "That was a lesson learned this week for these girls: 'My short game needs to be better than anybody's.'"

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