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Tuesday, July 05, 2022
<p>Kelly Grassel lines up a shot during the 2015 SunTrust Gator Invitational at UF's Mark Bostick Golf Course.</p>

Kelly Grassel lines up a shot during the 2015 SunTrust Gator Invitational at UF's Mark Bostick Golf Course.

Senior Kelly Grassel didn’t really break out for the Gators until her junior year.

The Chesterton, Indiana, native had a solid campaign last season, winning her first tournament of her college career, adding three additional top-15 scores and finishing in a tie for 20th in the NCAA Championships.

But last year in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship, she finished at 10 over par in a tie for 34th, something she wanted to improve upon.

And she did.

Grassel posted the best score of her collegiate career — 5 under par — to take sole possession of second place and help propel Florida to its first tournament win of the season.

In the final round of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships, No. 7 Florida erased a 7-stroke deficit to claim the title and become the only team in the field to finish below par.

This was, in part, due to three top-10 performances by Grassel, sophomore Sam Wagner and junior Taylor Tomlinson.

“I thought Kelly, Sam and Taylor showed real improvements in their game from this time last year, and Marta showed amazing poise in her first event for the Gators,” coach Emily Glaser said in a release.

Grassel, who posted a 3-under-par score on Monday, lowered her score further with four birdies and two bogeys.

Wagner finished at 1 under par in a share of fifth place, nailing three birdies and not hitting a bogey until the 18th hole.

Tomlinson entered Tuesday tied for 24th.

At the end of the final round, Tomlinson reduced her score by a stroke with three birdies and two bogeys, tallying a 2-over-par performance for a share of 10th place.

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After posting 1 under par on Monday, freshman Marta Perez slightly fell behind.

Perez failed to hit anything other than par on the front nine, and on the back nine, she shot four bogeys and two birdies. She ended the tournament at 3 over par in a tie for 16th.

Despite a rough first two rounds in which she went 10 over par, senior Sydney Needham had a good last day.

She hit three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to tally her round score at 1 over par. She finished the tournament at 11 over par, good for a share of 51st place.

“I’m really happy for the team,” Glaser said. “They came out fighting today. We talked about playing more assertively and going after it, and they were able to do that.”

The next tournament for the Gators is the Annika Classic in Orlando starting on Sept. 25.

Contact Jake Dreilinger at and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake.

Kelly Grassel lines up a shot during the 2015 SunTrust Gator Invitational at UF's Mark Bostick Golf Course.

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