The Gators women’s golf team began its season Monday morning at the beautiful Ocean Course Invitational in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. However, after one round of action, the leaderboard for Florida was anything but beautiful.
Not a single Gators golfer was below par, nor were any in the top 10 — not the start the defending SEC Champions were looking for.
Then, Elin Esborn happened.
The redshirt freshman from Sweden, competing in her first tournament as a Gator, shot a lackluster 75 in the first round. However, she came alive in the second round in the afternoon, shooting a 70, the third-lowest score of any golfer in the second round at the famous Ocean Course, the future site of the 2021 PGA Championship.
With the help of Esborn, who is tied for fifth place after two rounds, the Gators currently sit in sixth place at the tournament, nine strokes below the leader, Ole Miss.
The performance by the young team garnered optimism from sixth-year coach Emily Glaser. “We will take a lot away from today, some good stuff and lots to learn and work on,” Glaser said in a release. “We had some solid stretches of golf early and finished strong in the afternoon. We had to count some big numbers today that hurt us overall in the team standings.”
Esborn wasn’t the only freshman to shine Monday. Addie Baggarly, a Jonesborough, Tennessee, native also put together an impressive day of golf. She started by shooting a 73 in the first round before cooling off a bit in the second round, where she shot a 75 before eventually landing in a tie for 19th place.
The performances by these young golfers was enough to get the attention of their coach.
“I was really proud of our freshman today, Addie and Elin,” Glaser said. “They carried us and I thought showed a lot of poise playing in their first college event.”
Florida’s other three starting golfers, though not in the mix for a tournament victory, all put in a solid enough day to stay in the top 50. Taylor Tomlinson and Carlotta Ricolfi are both tied for 39th at six over par, and Marta Perez sits one stroke behind them and is tied for 44th through two rounds.
Monday was certainly a day of ups and downs for the Gators, but Glaser remains confident in her team heading into the final round on Tuesday.
“The leaderboard is tight and there is definitely an opportunity to make a move on this golf course. A few minor improvements can go a long way tomorrow and we are determined to finish strong.”
The Gators will attempt to close the gap and take home their first tournament win of the season as the final round begins from Kiawah at 8:30 Tuesday morning.
You can follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno.
Elin Esborn finished in fifth place in the Ocean Course Invitational after shooting 2 under par in the tournament.