The Florida Gators women’s golf team have assembled furniture on the podium this fall, finishing third in each of its first three tournaments of the season. In West Point, Mississippi, the team made its first step up at The Ally.
In a race to the finish with Alabama and Auburn, head coach Emily Glaser and her team finished in second place at 9-under, their best tournament of the season thus far.
The Gators brought forth their best round of the fall on Monday, finishing at 9-under. Three different individuals carried the lineup and ended up 3-under: sophomore Maisie Filler, junior Jackie Lucena, and senior Clara Manzalini. The trio combined for 12 birdies in round one, each working her way into a share of sixth on the individual leaderboard..
Junior Annabell Fuller finished even par, but fellow junior Marina Escobar was the lone Gator to finish over par with a 1-over 73 consisting of four bogeys. Still, the heavy lifting from the top of the lineup put Florida firmly in second place and one stroke shy of the tournament-leading Crimson Tide.
In Tuesday’s second round of the tournament, the Gators remained neck and neck with ‘Bama for the duration of the round. Florida surpassed the Tide at moments to rise to first place, but the team still performed nine strokes worse compared to their first day, so the team failed to sustain the lead.
Filler rose above the fray, carding a 6-under 66 with the help of seven birdies to push herself to third on the individual leaderboard.
The sophomore was the only Gator to break par Tuesday, though.
Lucena finished 1-over, and Manzalini ended her day 2-over. A quadruple-bogey soured an otherwise solid round for Escboar, dropping her score to 3-over, and four bogeys and a double-bogey gave Fuller a 5-over 77. Due to Alabama’s similarly lesser round, however, the Gators were still within four strokes of the tournament leader.
Florida once again struggled in the final round; this time, though, the Crimson Tide capitalized and pulled away. Alabama finished with a 9-under round on Wednesday, while Florida only managed 3-under. Now, instead of fighting for first, the Gators were looking to stave off Auburn and secure sole ownership of second place.
Filler once again rose to the challenge, recording an eagle on the first hole and finishing at 4-under for the final round of the tournament. This brought her to 13-under on the tournament, granting a second-place finish on the individual leaderboard.
Lucena also poured in an eagle, this time on hole 15, and four birdies brought her score to 5-under for the day. In her second top-10 finish for the Gators, Lucena ended in a tie for sixth place at 7-under with Julia Ramirez and Bailey Davis of Mississippi State and Tennessee, respectively.
Escobar turned in another 1-over round, and Manzalini slipped up in the final round; a double bogey and five bogeys brought her score down to 6-over. Fuller rounded out the lineup with another score of 5-over that was dinged by a triple-bogey on the eighth hole.
By the end of the tournament, the Gators were 12-under, warranting a 2nd place finish after successfully keeping Auburn from forcing a tie.
After two top-10 finishes and the highest placement of the year, the Gators enter the winter and prepare for the spring season. It was unclear if Florida would be an elite team when it started the fall, but the team made a statement through four tournaments.
Contact Carson Cashion at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @carsoncashion.
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.