For the second season in a row, the Florida women’s golf team won’t be advancing to the NCAA Championships.
Through the first two rounds of the NCAA East Regional, the Gators sat in eighth place at +5, and were in good position to advance to the NCAA Championships in Wilmington, N.C.
However, the team faded out of contention in the final round, shooting a +21 (309) and finishing 11th in the field of 24 teams.
“I really think it comes down to belief with the team, and believing that they’re one of the best teams in the country,” head coach Jan Dowling said. “The team didn’t get off to the greatest start, but great golfers figure out a way to score even when they’re not hitting perfectly. We need to work on some things and get better and work on how much we believe in ourselves.”
The Gators had a good first round Thursday at the Ironwood Golf Club in Greenville, N.C., combining for a four-under (284).
Freshmen Mia Piccio and Isabelle Lendl led the team in the first round, as each shot three-under par to help the team finish the round in fifth place on the leaderboard.
The final two rounds of the regional weren’t as kind to the Gators, though, as they tallied a plus-nine Friday before unraveling in the third round.
During Saturday’s final round, Piccio again found herself leading the Gators, this time with a plus-two.
Unfortunately for Florida, no other golfer finished the final round better than plus-five – Lendl shot a plus-five, and sophomores Marika Lendl, Andrea Watts and Evan Jensen finished at plus-six, plus-eight plus-nine, respectively.
The Gators finished their regional at +26 and ended their season with a 54-hole score of 890 (284-297-209).
“We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to accomplish and make the NCAA Championships, but we had a lot of really good things happen through the year that showed what this team is capable of,” Dowling said of her first year as Florida’s coach.
The men’s team was also in action Thursday, as it participated in the Golden Ocala Invitational against North Florida, Florida State, Central Florida and South Florida.
The Gators took home the event title behind a 12-under from junior Andres Echavarria (65-67), and the team finished at 31-under (272-273). UNF finished 19 strokes behind Florida for second place with a two-under, 574 (288-286).