Although the Florida women’s golf team finished in second place at the Southeastern Conference Championship on Sunday, coming up five strokes short of first-place Alabama, Maria Torres made history.
The junior carded a collegiate-best 9 under par (207), the second-lowest tournament score in UF history, claiming the SEC individual crown.
"It’s hard to put into words how proud I am of Maria, and how far she’s come," coach Emily Glaser said in a release. "That is the action of a champion, and someone who wants it."
UF finished at even par, five strokes behind SEC Champion Alabama.
Torres and junior Kelly Grassel, who finished in a tie for 11th place at 3 over par, were the only Gators to place in the top 15.
Rounding out the Gators’ lineup were Samantha Wagner in a tie for 16th (5 over par), Karolina Vlckova in a tie for 20th (6 over par) and Taylor Tomlinson in a tie for 31st (10 over par).
"I’m immensely proud of this group," Glaser said.
"They played so hard today, they fought, and we hung with Alabama most of the day."
Florida had won four-straight tournaments before the conference tournament began on Friday and was tied with Alabama at 2 over par after Saturday.
But an 11-stroke improvement on Day 3 catapulted the Crimson Tide ahead of UF.
Torres was impressive in each round, finishing with scores of 69, 68 and 70. The junior became the seventh UF golfer to win a conference title and the first in 13 years.
"It feels spectacular," Torres said in a release. "I have no words to describe it yet."
Florida has almost a month off before it begins play in the NCAA Regional Championship on May 16. There, the Gators will try to win their first national title since winning back-to-back championships in 1985 and 1986.
"This is a tremendous group of athletes, but more importantly an outstanding group of young women that represented the Gators in a first class manner," Glaser said.
"I’m really excited for what’s to come for us."
Maria Torres tees off during the 2015 SunTrust Gator Invitational at UF's Mark Bostick Golf Course.