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Monday, May 20, 2024

Florida women’s golf fails to qualify for match play in SEC Championship

The Gators could not crack the top-8 to move on to the match play quarterfinals, finishing 13th

<p>UF golfer Maisie Filler on Monday, February 22, 2021 at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, FL / UAA Communications photo by Isabella Marley.</p>

UF golfer Maisie Filler on Monday, February 22, 2021 at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, FL / UAA Communications photo by Isabella Marley.

Entering the third round of stroke play six shots back from the top-eight, Florida women’s golf was prepared to make a run in the final 18 holes. After two up-and-down rounds in the days prior, the Gators were hoping to turn their play around and qualify for the match play quarterfinals.

They managed a strong start with three team birdies on the first hole. However, it was downhill from there as UF recorded 12 bogeys, two double-bogeys and a triple-bogey on the front nine to just six birdies following the first hole. The Gators were quickly falling behind.

On the back nine, it was more of the same, with two bogeys and two double-bogeys recorded on the first hole alone. Eight more bogeys followed as well as another double-bogey. Florida battled back with seven birdies but it wasn’t enough to save the round. The team finished 37-over and in 13th, 16 shots out of the top-eight.

The Gators headed to Bellair, Florida, on Friday to open the postseason at the SEC Championship. They faced a field of 14 SEC rivals and had three rounds of stroke play to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Knowing what to expect, the older members of the team came out strong in Round 1. Fifth-year Marina Escobar came out hot to start. She recorded two birdies on the front nine while going bogeyless. She held the lead at the turn. 

Escobar remained this way throughout the first 15 holes and dropped two more birdies. She gave up the lead with back-to-back bogeys on the final two holes but still finished tied for sixth with a 2-under 68 round. 

Senior Maisie Filler also had a strong first day. She had a slow start with a bogey on hole two but managed to switch momentum with back-to-back birdies on seven and eight. This translated to the back nine where Filler started with three birdies in row, matching Escobar in first. 

With both players tied for first, the Gators jumped up the leaderboard. They were tied for second early in the back nine and trailed first by just three shots. 

However, Filler was unable to hold on to her lead with three bogeys on the back nine, dropping her down to T12. She finished there with a 1-under 69 round. UF would end the day tied for ninth with the rest of the lineup failing to crack the top-30.

Going into Round 2, Florida had to find a way to get the rest of the lineup going. Freshman Inés Archer proved to be the solution as she battled her way from a T35 finish the day before.

Archer stayed even on the front nine, recording a birdie and a bogey. She started her back nine with a bogey on 13 but turned it around with two birdies in a row. Archer bogeyed twice more before finishing the round but managed to tie for 24th at 4-over to end the day.

Escobar seemed to carry her momentum into this round with an early birdie on two. But it wouldn’t continue as she bogeyed four times and recorded no more holes under par. She led the Gators tied for 16th to end the round. 

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Filler struggled to continue her Round 1 play with four bogeys on her first five holes. She would battle back with three birdies throughout the day but three more bogeys meant she would end her day tied for 21st. 

Florida ended the round in 12th, six strokes out of the top-eight position needed for them to make the quarterfinals. It seemed possible for the team to reach the next stage of the championship if it could rely on its three players sitting in the top-25.

All three players started the round with birdies but this would prove to be the best hole for all three of them. Following this, they recorded a combined 16 bogeys and two double bogeys to just eight birdies.

Only Archer and Filler could hold on to their top-25 places, finishing T20 and T25, respectively. Escobar would fall to T30 on the way to Florida’s 13th place finish.

Despite failing to continue in the tournament, UF still has a chance of being selected for regionals. It will find out its regional selection on April 24.

After receiving their regional site, the Gators will head to the NCAA Regionals beginning on May 6. They will look to turn around their SEC Championship play and make a run for the National Championship.

Contact Hannah Getman at Follow her on Twitter @hannahgetman.  

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