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Monday, March 04, 2024

Florida women’s golf preview: Returning talent looks to bounce back

The Gators hope to return to the national championship after falling short last spring

<p>Annabell Fuller competes for Florida Gators women&#x27;s golf Feb. 23, 2021 at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, FL / UAA Communications photo by Leslie White. Fuller led the team at the MountainView Collegiate Sunday and was the only Gator to place inside the top-10.<br/><br/></p>

Annabell Fuller competes for Florida Gators women's golf Feb. 23, 2021 at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, FL / UAA Communications photo by Leslie White. Fuller led the team at the MountainView Collegiate Sunday and was the only Gator to place inside the top-10.

For head coach Emily Glaser, the 2021-22 season carries extra weight as her 10th season leading the Gators women’s golf team. Her team’s previously young core has its sights set on Arizona as it looks to take a step forward from a disappointing outing at NCAA regionals a season ago.

Florida returns four of its five golfers from the 2021 postseason, featuring juniors Annabell Fuller and Marina Escobar and sophomore Maisie Filler. With a talented and freshly experienced roster returning, the Gators seem primed to make their return to the national championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Postseason Scars

Much like their male counterparts, the women’s team was full of youth in the 2020-21 campaign. Frequently using three underclassmen in lineups, Glaser acknowledged that inexperience last season and said how helpful those early tournament rounds would become in her team’s future.

“We had four of our five players this week who have not competed in postseason competition,” Glaser said according to a press release after the SEC Championship on April 16. “So as much as today stings, I know that the learning experience for this group is huge and that we will be a better team in future years in large part because of the experience we had this week.”

The Gators then headed to Stanford for NCAA regionals, where they finished seventh and failed to make the national championship for the first time since 2015.

Back with Experience

Now, the Gators enter the new campaign with the experience last year’s team lacked. Fuller, Filler and Escobar have now gone through their first postseason and all have at least one year under their belts. 

Filler in particular could not have ended her season better. After a shaky regular season, the Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, native saved her best performance for last. She finished even-par at regionals to earn a share of the 12th place in the tournament, her best finish of the season.

Fuller enters the 2021-22 season with the highest anticipation of anyone on the roster. A product of Kingston upon Thames, England, she was named to the ANNIKA Award watch list, the award given to the best collegiate women’s golfer. Fresh off of a summer in which she represented her country at the Curtis Cup, Fuller will need to shine if the Gators are going to return to nationals.

What’s Ahead

The Gators begin their season almost a month earlier than last season, with their first competition on Monday at the Cougar Classic hosted by the College of Charleston. The tournament will act as a two-day warmup meet before heading to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Mason Rudolph Women’s Championship. 

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Contact Carson Cashion at Follow him on Twitter @carsoncashion.

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Carson Cashion

Carson Cashion is a third-year sports journalism major at UF, and the sports editor at The Alligator for the 2022 summer semester. A native of Altamonte Springs, Carson spends his free time walking his dog, Baxter, and listening to good music. He is an avid Tennessee sports fan, and eagerly awaits watching one of his teams win a championship for the first time.

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