Nobody expected No. 7 Florida to struggle this much in Palos Verdes, California, but winning the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge this weekend was always going to be difficult.
The Gators finished 11th out of 16 teams, a staggering step back from finishing in the top five in every fall tournament.
It was not all due to poor golfing, though. The tournament was loaded with 13 ranked teams, including the four best in the country.
The competition was tough, but shooting 22 over par and ending Day 1 tied for 14th place was completely out of character for the Gators.
The lone bright spot for UF at the end of the first round was the solid play of senior Marta Perez, who finished the day three over par.
Day 2 was much closer to the Gators level, as the team collectively shot two under par and jumped from 14th to 11th.
Emily Glazer’s group also saw much better performances on Monday out of junior Addie Baggarly, freshman Marina Escobar and sophomore Clara Manzalini.
In fact, Baggarly led Florida in round two and tied her career best, shooting four under par. The best of her performance came in the last nine holes, where she nailed five birdies and had a perfect back nine.
Florida’s Day 3 performance saw some regression back to Day 1, as it collectively shot 11 over par and finished in the same spot it started the day.
It was a particularly rough day for Perez, who shot five over par on her worst outing of the tournament by far. Those struggles saw her fall from 21st to 36th on the individual leaderboard.
The Gators’ best finishers, Baggarly and Manzalini, finished tied for 29th place.
Ultimately, No. 10 Duke dominated the tournament, beating second-place Southern California by a commanding seven strokes and the 11th-place Gators by 36 strokes.
Florida will have to turn things around quickly as the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship starts this Sunday in New Orleans.
Follow Christian on Twitter @Berry05219 and contact him at [email protected].