While the UF women's golf team may be disappointed with this tournament in the short run, in the long run this week might prove to be the one they look at as the one that catapulted them to the next level.
The No. 28 Gators finished the UCF Challenge in Orlando tied for sixth place out of an 18 team field with a score of 13 over par. On Tuesday, the team had a final round score of 4 over par.
A finish of sixth place might not seem great, but when you consider that UF finished ahead of eight teams ranked ahead of them, this tournament was a success.
"We made some big strides, all of us did," coach Jill Briles-Hinton said.
However, on Tuesday the back nine proved to be a disaster for the Gators.
The team shot 9 over par on the last nine holes of the day compared to a score of 2 over par on the front nine.
"We have a young team and they haven't played that much," Briles-Hinton said. "This is the second time they have been in this position as a team, so it's new to them."
Sophomore Jessica Yadloczky could not maintain her tournament-best individual score. She shot 1 over par on Tuesday and finished the UCF Challenge with a score of 7 under par, one shot behind first place Stephanie Kono of UCLA.
"I know Jessica is bummed out, but she didn't lose it, the other girl won it," Briles-Hinton said.
After two events to start the spring, Briles-Hinton begged for a better team effort, this week she got it.
In the final round, four of the five UF golfers had a score of 2 over par or better.
Andrea Watts shot 2 over par on Tuesday, while Evan Jensen and Nicole Schachner had their best days of the week in the final round, with scores of even par and 1 over par.
"The whole week was a great team effort," she said. "Jessica got us going on the first day and the team kicked in yesterday, and it was another good team effort on Tuesday."
No. 2 UCLA won the UCF Challenge with a score of 14 under par.
The Gators will make their return to the golf course on March 24 in the Dixie Classic, which will be held in Utah.