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Sunday, March 03, 2024

The day started out with wind and rain.

It didn't end much better.

The weather was not the only disappointing thing in the UF women's golf team's opening round at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif.

The team ended the day with a score of 41 over par, putting them tied for 10th place overall. The Gators are 20 shots behind first-place Arizona State.

Cold rain and 30-40 mph winds served as additional obstacles to the team, already battling on the toughest course it will see this season.

"It was by far the toughest conditions I have ever played in," sophomore golfer Jessica Yadloczky said.

The only bright spot for the Gators came from Yadloczky, who shot 4 over par. She finished the day with four birdies. Her first-round score was tied for the tournament's fifth-best.

However, Yadloczsky said it was hard to enjoy her personal success while the team struggled.

"It is bittersweet for me," she said.

Andrea Watts and Evan Jensen ended their rounds with scores of 11 over par. They also had identical front nine and back nine scores of 6 over and 5 over par.

Lauren Uzelatz shot 15 over par and struggled with three double bogeys.

"All of us talked tonight, and we concentrated a lot on our mental goals," Yadloczky said.

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If battling the weather and tough course was not enough, the Gators had to overcome

Marika Lendl's withdrawl during the first round. She was due to make her UF debut after transferring from Central Florida.

Additionally, coach Jill Briles-Hinton did not make the trip with the team because of family issues.

The team will begin the second round Tuesday with the lineup of Uzelatz, Watts, Jensen and Yadloczsky.

If the golfers can take five shots off each of their individual first round scores, it will give the Gators a chance to climb back up the leaderboard, Yadloczky said.

With better conditions expected, the team is hopeful it can fight back from its disappointing performance.

Yadloczky hopes the improved weather will translate into better play.

"Tomorrow is going to be a brand new day," she said.

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