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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Any remaining hope for the Gators to notch their first tournament victory was blown away on Tuesday.

Wind gusts of up to 28 mph helped to deflate the team's morale early on.

The No. 30 UF women's golf team shot a combined score of 10 over par in their first three holes of the day at the SunTrust Lady Gator Invitational, widening the once-narrow gap of three strokes between them and first place.

The Gators finished the final round with a team score of 87 over par for the tournament and came in fifth place on their home course, 14 shots behind first-place Duke and Auburn.

Auburn eventually beat Duke in a playoff for the title.

"The wind affected everybody. That's why the scores were so high," UF coach Jill Briles-Hinton said. "I mean, the course is hard enough, but when you add this kind of wind, it's brutal."

UF could not extend its win streak at their home tournament to four consecutive years, but sophomore Jessica Yadloczky extended a streak of her own.

Her score of 16 over par for the tournament tied for the fourth-best individual score. This is the fourth straight event that she finished in the top 10 as an individual.

Freshmen Andrea Watts and Evan Jensen also finished near the top of the individual leaderboard.

Watts tied for the 11th-best individual score at 18 over par, and Jensen finished in a tie for the 13th-lowest individual score at 20 over par.

Weather conditions and the opportunity to finish in first place on the last day of the tournament were a perfect simulation of future tough and pressure-packed moments.

"You can't really create this experience in practice," Briles-Hinton said. "They learned a valuable lesson this week."

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Although the wind did affect the team's play, it should not have been unfamiliar conditions to the Gators.

"We've been playing in wind all season, so it was just a throwback to be here at home with all this wind," Yadloczky said.

With this tournament acting as motivation, UF will enter postseason play in the Southeastern Conference Championship, which begins on April 17.

"This is definitely extra motivation heading into the SECs," Briles-Hinton said. "I think that sometimes a team will take two steps forward and have to take one step back to get better, and that's what we will do."

MEN FINISH TOURNAMENT IN 13TH: The No. 5 UF men's golf team will enter the postseason following their worst performance of the spring season.

The Gators finished the final round of the U.S. Collegiate Championship in Alpharetta, Ga., in 13th place with a team score of 45 over par.

Clemson won the event with a score of 12 over par, 33 strokes better than the Gators.

Junior Tyson Alexander shot 2 under par on Tuesday, but it was not enough to move up the leaderboard as the rest of the team shot a combined score of 27 over par in the final round.

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