The women’s team was ranked 12th in the nation, and junior Sierra Brooks was named a Golfweek Preseason Second-Team All-American heading into the first tournament of the fall season. Both have proven themselves to be worthy of their preseason praise following their first day in their opening competition. The Gators are in the lead at the Cougar Classic after one round and Brooks is atop the individual leaderboard.
Brooks (7-under) started her fall season the right way, scoring four birdies and only one bogey on her first nine holes. She stayed hot through the back nine, and an eagle on the 18th hole capped off an incredible round.
Clara Manzalini (3-under), the freshman from Milan, Italy, posted the second-best score of the day for the Gators. She had an even front nine, but an eagle on the 15th hole highlighted a solid 3-under par back nine. Manzalini ended the day tied for third individually.
Sophomore Addie Baggarly and junior Marta Perez posted even rounds. They’re two of four Gators inside the top 30 along with Brooks and Manzalini rounded out a successful first day of competition for the women’s team.
Rain in the area postponed the end of the first round for 12 of 19 teams in the tournament, though UF managed to finish its round. Teams will finish the first round tomorrow morning and continue on into the second.
Men’s golf finishes miserable weekend in 13th
The No. 8 men’s team came into the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Dalton, Georgia, looking to start its season on the right foot in a tournament that featured seven other ranked teams.
That didn’t happen.
The Gators were in a tie for 11th place out of 15 teams after Day 1, fell to 13th after two rounds and finished the tournament in that spot, six strokes behind 12th-place Kennesaw State and 49 strokes behind winner Tennessee. The team improved its score from Day 2 by one stroke, but the damage had already been done by that point.
Sophomore Chris Nido (3-over) had the best weekend on the team, finishing in a tie for 27th. Nido’s 71 on Sunday was UF’s lowest score in the tournament.
Freshman Aden Ye (16-over) was solid through two rounds, sitting at three strokes over par, but he fell apart on Sunday. Ye bogeyed the first hole of the round and never recovered, scoring an 85 (13-over) for the day.
Senior Gordon Neale (10-over), sophomore Manny Girona (11-over) and freshman Eugene Hong (11-over) rounded out the rest of the team. Senior Ryan Celano (22-over) finished his weekend competing as an individual with a 78.
The men’s golf team is back in action on Sept. 23 in Dallas at Trinity Forest, hosted by SMU.
Axelsen wins international title with Team Denmark
The best performance by a golfer on the men’s team was one not on the course in Dalton, Georgia.
John Axelsen spent the weekend representing his home country of Denmark at the World Amateur Championship. Team Denmark, led by Axelsen and Danish twins Rasmus and Nicolai Hojgaard, won the tournament on Saturday. Axelsen became the first UF golfer to play in the World Amateur Championship since J.C. Deacon took over in 2014.
Axelsen shot a 69 to close out his tournament, though it didn’t count because his two teammates posted higher scores as Team Denmark held off a surging American squad.
“I remember being at the opening ceremony and we stood there and talked, and I turned around to Nicolai and said ‘Yo Nicolai, I have a very good feeling about this World Am,’” Axelsen said in an interview with AmateurGolf.com. “These guys just play so well, and I played well the first two days and they just played really well the last two days. It’s a team event and that really showed.”
You can follow Brendan Farrell on Twitter @Bfarrell727 or contact him at email@example.com.
Junior Sierra Brooks is in first place at Cougar Classic with a 7-under opening round.