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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Although the UF women's golf team will be a couple of hours away from Gainesville, it will feel very much at home in this weekend's tournament.

The No. 28 Gators will make the short drive to Orlando and play in the UCF Challenge on Sunday.

The tournament will feature four of the top five ranked teams in the country: No. 1 Arizona State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Southern California and No. 5 Alabama.

After two inconsistent performances to start the spring, coach Jill Briles-Hinton believes the Gators must have a short memory in order to stay consistent and contend in this tough field.

"In order to mentally be stronger, you have to take it one shot at a time," Briles-Hinton said. "Forget about the shot you hit, forget about the past and move on."

One thing UF will have on its side is the advantage of playing close to home.

The previous two events for the team were in different states - one in California and the other in South Carolina.

The Gators are excited to finally play a tournament in Florida.

"The girls like to play in front of their fans, so that is going to be fun," she said.

Sophomore Jessica Yadloczky grew up close to Orlando and has experience on the tournament's golf course.

"Jessica has seen the course before, and it's in her backyard," Briles-Hinton said.

The Gators' lineup for the tournament will consist of Yadloczky, Evan Jensen, Andrea Watts, Lauren Uzelatz and Nicole Schachner.

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With four of the five UF golfers being Florida natives, playing in state could work in the team's advantage.

However, that won't be the only thing the Gators will rely on.

Hard work and a difficult early schedule have quickly toughened up this young team.

"They've been challenged this year, and they've been working hard," Briles-Hinton said.

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