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Monday, June 27, 2022

The UF women's golf season came to a disappointing end this weekend and took another turn Monday night when coach Jill Briles-Hinton announced her resignation.

The Gators did not qualify for the NCAA Championships after finishing in 16th place at the NCAA East Regional on their home course this past weekend.

They won one SEC title during her 11 years at the helm and advanced to the NCAA Championships only six times.

"Our vision is that the women's golf team is consistently among the contenders at the NCAA Championships," UF athletics director Jeremy Foley said in a statement. "That simply hasn't happened, and now we begin a search for a coach that shares that vision."

Last year's East Regional champions fell far short of qualifying this year, shooting 68 over par to finish in 16th out of 21 teams. It finished 19 strokes behind the final qualifier, eighth-place Georgia (49 over).

The disappointing end came after a consistent season of top-10 finishes and was perhaps even more surprising due to its being on Gainesville's Mark Bostick Golf Course.

"The program is better off than when I started, but I feel it is time to step aside and let someone else take it from here," said Briles-Hinton, 2008 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, in a statement. "I enjoyed my time at Florida, and now I'm looking forward to spending time with my family. I hope to get back into coaching someday and look forward to again helping young golfers achieve their dreams."

The advantage of playing at home didn't help the Gators as much as expected this weekend. Sophomore Jessica Yadloczky, who finished in the top 10 as an individual in the last five tournaments, could not keep her streak going. After an uncharacteristic finish of 76th place with a score of 22 over par, Yadloczky summarized the team's performance in two words.

"We sucked."

Yadloczky attributed her poor performance to the excessive amount of pressure she put on herself.

"I wanted it way too bad, and it got in my way," she said. "I guess I'm learning the hard way - you can't want it this bad."

Not all was not lost for the Gators, though.

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Two freshmen, Evan Jensen (12 over) and Andrea Watts (18 over), were the top performers for the team this weekend. They finished in 34th and 61st place, respectively.

Even the disappointed Yadloczky found some positive things to carry into next season.

"We gained team bonding," she said. "We all came from different places, and we got to know each other and learned how to work together as a team this year."

With the entire team returning next season, the disappointing end to this season will leave a sour taste in the Gators' mouth that will motivate them that much more for the 2009-10 season.

"This puts fire in our bellies, and this makes us work that much harder for next season," Yadloczky said.

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