Silence stung the atmosphere like a hornet attacking its prey.
The smell of damp golf greens and shredded fairways protruded through the air as golf balls cruised into the sky from a distance. It was a hot spring afternoon on Sunday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville. But none of the fans in attendance seemed to care.
All of their eyes were on Florida sophomore transfer Sierra Brooks.
Brooks, standing in the corner of a bunker on the 18th hole, was 120 yards away from her target.
The shot scorched off the club and high into the sky, hurtling far away from its intended location as it slammed into the bleachers with a sharp shrill.
Brooks — her face flushed red with embarrassment — quickly hurried over to stands, apologizing to everyone in the vicinity.
“I hit such a good shot and I was posing and obviously shot it way too far,” Brooks said. “I was just hoping everyone was okay.”
The Orlando native eventually bogeyed the hole, her fifth of the day.
However, offsetting those bogeys were the five birdies she recorded on Sunday en route to a runner-up finish at the SunTrust Gator Invitational.
Brooks has now finished either as runner-up or champion in three of her four tournaments as a Gator.
As it has done all season, Florida controlled the field on par-four and par-five holes, leading in both categories. The Gators were the only team to go under par on par-five holes, finishing at 8 under.
If there was ever a flaw in the team’s showing from the weekend, it was its performance on par-three holes. Florida finished such holes at 9 over, putting it in fifth place in that category.
Otherwise, the Gators played three excellent rounds of golf on Saturday and Sunday while setting a record in being the only team to shoot even par (or better) in the tournament’s 46-year history.
Even freshman Lauren Waidner, who was playing in just her third tournament of 2017-18, got in on the fun. On hole 11 in the second round, Waidner recorded the first ace of her golf career.
The Gators, above all, looked like they were comfortable playing in the tournament. In an event where no other team shot better than 12 over, Florida commanded the course, shooting an even par to win the event in a blowout. UF coach Emily Glaser attributed some of her team’s comfort and lack of worries to assistant coach Janice Olivencia and her creation of the motto “#WEGOTUS”.
“(#WEGOTUS) is about how we can be our most successful if we don’t worry about what other teams are doing,” Glaser said. “We just focus on us and try to get better every day.”
Follow Chris O'Brien on Twitter @THEChrisOB and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coach Emily Glaser (right) and sophomore Sierra Brooks (left) will round out the regular season starting today in Athens, Georgia.