The Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Florida, is known for being one of the more difficult golf courses to play on in the country.
Over the past 46 years, no team has shot better than 1 under at its annual collegiate tournament, the SunTrust Gator Invitational.
Saturday was no different.
After two rounds of play at the event, UF’s women’s golf team is the only squad under par, sitting in first place at 1 under with a five-stroke lead over Campbell.
Florida came out scorching hot in the first round, racing out to a three-shot advantage within the first three holes. However, it cooled off shortly after and took a backseat to Tennessee at the midpoint of the round.
Tennessee struggled down the stretch of the first round before ultimately falling behind for good in the second round, shooting 2 over in the final 18 holes.
Florida took over from there. After tying the tournament record with a 1 under in the first round, it went on to shoot even par in the second round and finish with an overall score of 1 under and a five-stroke lead over second-place Campbell.
Campbell did, however, break the tournament record by shooting a 4 under in the second round on Saturday.
The Gators were on pace to easily break the record after shooting 4 under through 15 holes in the second round, but failed to close strong.
“I don’t know that we finished particularly well today,” coach Emily Glaser said, “but I thought we, overall, played well. A lot of birdies.”
Glaser was correct as Florida finished with 34 birdies — the most of the entire 13-team field including five more than Clemson and Campbell, which both finished with 29 a piece.
Florida was once again led by sophomore transfer Sierra Brooks. She finished with an overall score of 2 under and sits tied for third headed into Round 3.
After winning two of the last three tournaments she played in, Brooks was a safe pick to win this one as well. However, she currently sits four strokes back. This day didn’t belong to her, as Jiwon Jeon of Daytona State played two excellent rounds, finishing with an overall score of 6 under.
Following Brooks in Florida’s lineup was redshirt freshman Elin Esborn. Esborn continued her excellent play after finishing fourth overall in her previous tournament, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana. She closed the second round on Saturday with sole possession of fifth place and an overall score of 1 under.
Trailing Esborn by both a stroke and a spot was freshman Addie Baggarly. She finished with an even overall score and sits tied in sixth place going into Round 3 on Sunday.
“We’ve got a great group here,” Baggarly said. “We have a sizeable lead, but we can’t take anything for granted right now.”
Behind Baggarly sits sophomore Marta Perez and senior Taylor Tomlinson. Perez finished Round 2 tied for 15th with a 3 over and Tomlinson finished tied for 19th with a 4 over.
Rounding out the Gators’ lineup were two individual players — sophomore Carlotta Ricolfi and freshman Lauren Waidner. Ricolfi tied for 19th with a 4 over and Waidner, playing in her first tournament of the spring, carded a 6 over and finished tied for 34th.
Florida was comfortable at home on Saturday and it showed in both its game and its off-course antics.
Tomlinson gave a big grin at fans after a nice putt and Perez shot a nervous smile and sigh of relief after she had a putt roll around the cup before going in. Esborn engaged fans with big smiles and light conversation and Baggarly played with coach Glaser’s daughter in between holes.
Glaser is excited going into Round 3 on Sunday.
“(Sunday) is an opportunity for us to go see what we can learn and hopefully finish it off,” Glaser said.
Thunderstorms are in the forecast for Round 3, but if they hold off, it will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.
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UF women's golfer Sierra Brooks shot an overall score of 2 under through two rounds of the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Saturday, helping put Florida in first place with one day left.