Florida women claim Betsy Rawls title

In a day that saw tournament leaders change hands multiple times, the 2nd-ranked University of Florida women’s golf team earned its second win of the season Tuesday at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. Getting a clutch performance throughout its entire lineup, the Gators also locked in its fourth straight individual medalist in sophomore Camilla Hedberg (Sitges, Spain). Hedberg, who jumped out to an early two shot lead at the turn, ended up tied with Alabama’s Jennifer Kirby at the end of regulation at 8-under (208). The two players were sent to a sudden-death playoff where Hedberg pared the first extra hole to Kirby’s bogey. It’s Hedberg’s second individual title of the season and her career. It’s also her eighth sub-par round of the year (70) and fourth in her last five rounds dating back to the Tar Heel Invite.

On the team leaderboard, UF and Alabama were actually tied after all the scorecards were turned in. The tiebreaker was decided by each team’s fifth highest score in the third round. The team whose player scored lower than the other for the day gave her team the overall victory for the tournament.

“Camilla played great today,” Florida head coach Emily Bastel said. “The playoff was a great experience for her despite obviously wanting to win in regulation, but she was solid on the playoff hole and made a clutch four-footer to seal the win. It was a real team effort all week. There were bright spots for every player all week and overall, this fall season has been a big confidence booster for us as we begin to prepare for the spring season.”

With its two wins as a team already this fall, Florida has eclipsed its season total from the last three years and has also claimed its fourth straight individual winner in as many tournaments. Both Hedberg and senior Isabelle Lendl (Goshen, Conn.) have tallied two wins this year, which are both also career-highs for wins in a season. For the team, it is its most wins for a fall season since 2006 and most wins in a year since the 2007-2008 season.

After Hedberg’s great finish, Lendl also stayed consistent to record her fourth straight top-10 finish carding a score of even par (216) for the tournament. After starting Tuesday’s round on a roll with an eagle and two birdies before the turn, Lendl looked to possibly fight for, yet, another top five finish, which would have been her fourth straight. However, three bogeys on the next four holes to go with a double bogey on the 14th hole, brought her back to 1-over for the day, but she was able to birdie the par four, 17th, to end on a high note and claim sole possession of 10th place. For the Connecticut native, today’s round marks her ninth even or under par round of the year out of 12 total rounds possible.

Not far behind her was senior Mia Piccio (Bacolod City, Philippines), who finished tied for 11th at 1-over (273). Piccio made a small charge early in the third round staying near even par and vaulting into the top-10 briefly at the turn. The senior actually finished the back nine 1-under and carded a 73 for the day, which put her right behind her teammate, Lendl, and kept the Gators well in the hunt for the team title late in the day. It was Piccio’s second round of 73 for the tournament and tied for her fifth-best round of the season.

As for the last two Gators in the lineup, freshman Ursa Orehek (Domzale, Slovenia) carded her second straight round of 3-over (75) to finish tied for 42nd place. It is her fourth best round of her young Gator career and also her best finish in a tournament this season. Her tournament total of 226 also ties for her best this season going back to the Cougar Classic to open the fall where she also went 10-over en route to a tie for 65th place finish. As for junior Elcin Ulu (Istanbul, Turkey), trying to follow up yesterday’s season-best 71 with another strong performance proved to be a tough task as she suffered three double-bogeys and two bogeys in Tuesday’s round. Fortunately, Ulu was able to hole out two birdies in her round on No. 3 and No. 14, which proved to be the difference in the team standings at the end of the day. The junior ended up finishing 6-over (78) for the day and 9-over (225) in the tournament to finish tied for 37th place.

With this being the final tournament of the fall for the Gators, the team will not be back on the course in tournament fashion until Feb. 11-13 for the Northrup Grumman Regional Championship in Palos Verdes, Calif. From there, UF will play in the All-State Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans, La., before hosting the annual SunTrust Gator Invitational March 15-17 and then finishing the regular season at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C.

Courtesy of UF Communications