The Gators women’s golf team moved up two spots on the NCAA Regionals leaderboard after a three-over-par second round in California on Tuesday.
Florida finds itself alone in sixth and must hold its spot to advance to the NCAA Championship.
The team improved on an underwhelming first day, with its 287 total, three strokes better than Monday’s 6-over-par effort.
All-SEC Freshman Maisie Filler remained consistent for Florida. She turned in another even-par round Tuesday to move up into a tie for 15th on the individual leaderboard.
Junior Clara Manzalini joined Filler at level-par for the tournament. After a team-leading 2-under-par 69 Monday, the Italian began her second round strong with three birdies in her first seven holes. Her momentum was disrupted by a double bogey on the par-3 eighth hole. Manzalini didn’t record another birdie and signed for a 2-over-par 73.
Senior Addie Baggarly bounced back on Tuesday. After a 4-over-par Monday, the Jonesbourough, Tennessee, native carded an even-par 71 to shoot up 15 places on the leaderboard to a tie for 38th.
Annabell Fuller and Marina Escobar both had up-and-down rounds for the Gators. Fuller entered the last six holes of the day 2-under-par. The wheels came off down the stretch, though, as the sophomore bogeyed 13 and 17 before a double bogey on the 18th ended her day at a 2-over-par 73.
Escobar’s round was the inverse. She started rough with three bogeys on her front nine, but rallied with a 1-under 35 on the back nine boosted by birdies on 10, 12, 15 and 16. She finished the round with a 1-over-par 72.
The Stanford Golf Course lived up to its billing as a regional site so far, as only three teams have broken par for the tournament.
No. 20 Stanford dominated the regional thus far. The hosting Cardinal improved upon their 12-under-par opening round with a 13-under-par second to open up a 22-stroke lead over the rest of the field. Wednesday’s drama now shifts toward the competition for the five other qualifying spots.
Including No. 20 Stanford, the five leading teams all fall in Golfstat’s top-25 rankings. No. 14 Virginia Tech enters Wednesday in second at 3-under-par, with No. 3 Wake Forest one shot back in third. No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Southern California round out the top five at 1-over-par and 3-over-par, respectively.
Florida comes in six strokes adrift of USC and in a tense battle for the final qualifying spot. The Gators are only one stroke better than the No. 22 Arizona Wildcats.
A bid to the NCAA Championship is right there for the taking, but Florida needs a strong final round to hold off the Wildcats and advance.
The Gators take the course for their final round at 12 p.m. eastern time. Live scoring will be available at golfstat.com.
Contact Joseph Henry at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Josephhenry2424
Joseph Henry is a fourth-year sports journalism major and is the Alligator's sports editor. He previously worked as senior news director, assistant sports editor, men's basketball beat reporter, volleyball beat reporter and golf beat reporter. He enjoys sitting down to watch a movie as often as possible, collecting vinyl and drinking Dr. Pepper.