W. Golf

The fall campaign has been successful for the Gators.

The women played their first 54 holes of the year in a blazing 24 under at the season-opening Cougar Classic, earning third place in what was ultimately a full-fledged shootout. The next week, UF captured its first win of the year in Toledo, Ohio, at the Glass City Invitational on the famed Inverness Club.

In their most recent start, however, the Gators succumbed to final round woes, falling from the top of the leaderboard with 18 holes remaining to finish in third at the Northwestern-hosted Windy City Collegiate. It was a reality check for a No. 6-ranked squad that has faced little adversity thus far in its fall slate of tournaments.

“Today was a great experience and one I think we will learn a lot from,” coach Emily Glaser said directly following her team’s disappointing final round. “We will try and learn from [the finish] and get better moving forward.”

Less than two weeks removed from their late stumble in Chicago, the Gators return to competition this weekend for the final time this fall at the Stanford Intercollegiate among another high-caliber field.

Eight of the 17 teams in the field this weekend are ranked, according to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association rankings, among them are: No. 4 USC, No. 8 Arizona State, No. 10. Stanford, No. 11 Arizona and No. 12 UCLA.

It’s the final opportunity for Glaser and her contingent to prove their worth and gather competitive reps before the much more intensified Spring schedule begins in February.

However, Florida will play severely shorthanded.

Senior Sierra Brooks, who leads the team with an elite 70.33 stroke average, will not make the trip to NorCal with her teammates this weekend. The 15th-ranked amateur in the world previously committed to Stage II of LPGA Qualifying School, and will instead travel to Venice, Florida to try to earn her tour card.

Starting for Florida without her will be juniors Addie Baggarly and Elin Esborn, senior Marta Perez, sophomore Clara Manzalini and freshman Marina Escobar.

The 54-hole tournament will take place from Friday through Sunday at the 6,130-yard, par 71 Stanford Golf Course.

Follow Jack Braverman on Twitter @jack_braverman. Contact him at [email protected]