Gators tied for lead in home tourney

The No. 20 University of Florida women’s golf team found themselves tied for first after Day 2 of the 2012 SunTrust Gator Women’s Invitational.

The Gators exploded toward the top of the leaderboard Saturday after posting a 283, which was three-over par. It certainly helps playing the Mark Bostic Golf Course where they practice daily between tournaments.

UF enters the final day of play tied with Alabama with a tournament total of 577, a 17-over par.

“I’m very proud of our team today.  We played a heck of a round of golf and showed some serious adversity throughout the entire day,” said UF coach Jan Dowling. “Our goal was to take advantage of our local knowledge, but also not take it for granted. We still had to play smart, and hit solid golf shots, which we did.”

Coming off last year as defending champions, the Gators found themselves 10 strokes back of Alabama at the start of Day 2.

That quickly changed when senior Evan Jensen birdied two of her first three holes, giving the Gators the energy they needed to make up ground.

Jensen went on to shoot a team best one-under 69 which gave a total of 149, nine over par on the tournament. Jensen is tied for 16th.

Andrea Watts had her best outing of the season posting a 71, one-over par.

“Evan and Andrea showed great senior leadership today,” Dowling said. “They stepped up when we needed solid rounds from them, and I couldn’t be more proud. We have work to do tomorrow, and I know they are excited about their opportunity.”

Camilla Hedberg is in contention of capturing her first collegiate victory after scoring a one over par today. Hedberg sits at one under for the tournament which gives her a third-place standing.

“Camilla played another very solid round of golf. She hit the ball very well, and stayed patient on the greens despite her putts not dropping,” Dowling said. “She is in a wonderful position, and I know she is very excited for tomorrow’s round.”

Mia Piccio recorded a team-best four birdies on Saturday and she will enter the final day tied for eighth place.

“We plan to attack tomorrow’s round with the same patience and discipline as today. There are many solid teams in the mix, and it’s going to be an exciting day. We are looking forward to the challenge,” Dowling said of the final round.

A shotgun start is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Piccio and Hedberg will tee off of hole No. 1, Jensen off hole No. 2, Lendl and Watts off hole No. 3 and Pak off of hole No. 18.

For live scoring throughout the tournament, click here.

Gator Country reporter Chris Kirschenr can be reached on his Twitter @C_KirschnerGC