The Florida women’s golf team played a forgettable few days of golf at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.
The Gators shot a collective 43-over-par and finished in ninth place, 26 strokes behind the champion South Carolina Gamecocks.
Senior Lauren Waidner paced the Gators all weekend. She finished in a tie for 16th and shot 7-over-par. The Fleming Island, Florida, native knocked in seven birdies over the three days of competition, including four Sunday.
She also carded 25 pars, the fourth most of all players in the field. Sophomore Marina Escobar came in behind Waidner and tied for 36th. She shot a total of 12-over-par.
“Lauren was a real leader for us this week,” head coach Emily Glaser said. “Her game was really consistent and she was poised. I’m really happy for her to have a solid finish in a great field.”
Freshman Maisie Filler cracked the top 40 and shot 13-over-par, while junior Jenny Kim tied for 44th. Senior Elin Esborn rounded out Florida’s lineup in a tie for 79th.
The Gators started out the tournament hot and sat in a tie for second halfway through the opening round Friday. However, the team unraveled on the back half and finished the first round in a tie for ninth.
After it carded a collective 2-over-par on the front nine, Florida tripled that on the back and finished 8-over-par, eight shots behind the leading LSU Tigers.
Waidner and sophomore Marina Escobar led the Gators and shot 1-over-par. They entered day two in a tie for 20th.
Florida’s struggles from the second half of Friday bled over into Saturday, and it carded a collectiver 18-over-par which brought their two-day total to 26-over-par. The entire field struggled in round two, as only top-ranked South Carolina shot under par on the day.
Payers averaged 77.93 per round, nearly 6-over-par. Both Escobar and Waidner fell down the leaderboard Sunday but remained inside the top 30.
The Gators received a big boost from Kim. The Orlando native shot up 31 spots on the leaderboard after posting a 2-over-par performance that included four birdies and six bogeys. The Gators sat alone in ninth place entering the third and final day of competition.
Sunday’s efforts repeated those of the day before, as Florida shot a collective 17-over-par. Waidner led the way in the final round and shot a 1-over-par 73. No one else in the lineup provided much in the third round, as Filler’s 4-over-par 76 marked the next-best score.
The Gators’ mediocrity showed up on the stat sheet, too. They averaged the fifth-best score on par 4s (4.22, 22-over-par), the 12th best on par-3s (3.43, 17-over-par) and the 13th best on par-5s (5.15, 6-over-par). They carded the sixth-most pars with 107 but also only knocked down 16 birdies, the second least in the field.
“I thought the team did a great job of preparing and we showed some real toughness during the week in some tough scoring conditions,” Glaser said. “There is a lot to build on here and I’m proud of how this group handled themselves.”
Florida will attempt to return to form at the LSU Tiger Invitational in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the LSU Tiger Invitational April 6 and 7.
Contact Michael Hull at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Michael_Hull33
Michael Hull is a third-year journalism major with a specialization in sports & media. He has a minor in business and leadership and is a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars fan.