UF roundup: Florida women repeat as golf tourney champions
The Florida Gataors women's golf team found themselves at the top of the leaderboard for the sixth consecutive year at home as the Gators Invitational came to a close Tuesday afternoon.
At the conclusion of 54 holes, Florida and Ole Miss found themselves in a deadlock at 16-over par and headed to a team playoff. However, after brief discussions between coaching staffs, it was decided to name both teams co-champions due to travel schedules.
"It was a fantastic finish," UF coach Emily Glaser said. "They were poised and determined today. It was one of the more special moments I can remember in my time at Florida.
"It's such a special week for the team, to be at home and feel all the support. We will carry those feelings with us the rest of the semester."
Annabell Fuller put together the best round of her collegiate career, posting a 4-under par 66. The sophomore put together a flawless 18 holes, posting a bogey-free performance. She finished the tournament with a 5-under par 205 to claim the individual title. Her score ranks third all time in program history, tying Maria Torres' 205 in the 2017 Gators Invitational.
"Annabell is such a special kid and competitor," Glaser said. "She wants to win and even more so this week. Today she was flawless — certainly in her physical game, but also mentally she was so focused. She is such a hard worker and really deserves this win."
Marina Escobar logged her first round under par of the tournament in the most clutch time, recording a 1-under par 69. The sophomore finished tied for 12th individually, the fifth top-15 finish of her career and third of the 2020-21 season.
After recording three bogeys and only two birdies through 11 holes, Jenny Kim put together a string of putts for par to finish 1-over on the day. The junior carded a 7-over par 217 over three days and tied for 15th individually. This marks the best finish of her collegiate career.
In her Gators Invitational debut, Maisie Filler played her best round of golf when it counted the most and recorded a 2-over par 72 on the day. The freshman finished tied for 38th.
Addie Baggarly was unable to compete in the final round due to injury. Clara Manzalini recorded a 12th place finish playing as an individual. Lauren Waidner joined her in the top-25 on the leaderboard, carding a 9-over par overall 219 to tie for 23rd.
The Gators will next head to Columbia, S.C. to compete in the Gamecock Invitational, scheduled to run from March 1-March 3.
Preseason No. 1 Florida dropped six spots to No. 7 in the D1Baseball Top 25 rankings released Tuesday thanks to the Gators going 1-2 against Miami in Gainesville over the weekend.
Fellow SEC team Ole Miss (3-0) took over the No. 1 spot. Miami jumped from No. 21 to No. 6 after the series win over the Gators.
SEC teams fill out the rest of the Top 5: No. 2 Arkansas, No. 3 Vanderbilt and No. 5 Mississippi State.
Florida (1-2) will take on North Florida (1-2) in a home and home this week, traveling to Jacksonville on Tuesday and returning to Florida Ballpark / McKethan Field for a rematch Wednesday.
Tuesday's game finished past Sun page deadlines, but coverage can be found on Gatorsports.com. First pitch for Wednesday's game at Florida Ballpark is slated for 6 p.m.
Florida forward Jordyn Merritt was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Tuesday.
Merritt, who has started Florida's last four games, put together one of the best performances of her young career Sunday at Missouri as she tallied 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes. She added nine rebounds and posted her second double-digit scoring game of the season.
Taking on an elevated role in Florida's most recent matchups, Merritt has played 30 or more minutes in three of the Gators' last four contests.
Merritt is one of six underclassmen on UF's roster, a group that accounts for 60 percent of the team's scoring. The 6-foot-3 forward ranks top 10 among SEC freshmen in scoring, minutes played and rebounding.
Against Alabama in UF's Thursday night matchup last week, Merritt collected six rebounds, grabbing five or more boards for the eighth time.
Merritt and the Gators return to game action Sunday when they host No. 17 Georgia for Senior Day at Exactech Arena. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. and the contest will air nationally on ESPNU.