AUBURN, Ala. – Junior Evan Jensen (Belleair, Fla.) is on the fringe of the top 10 after two rounds at the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championship, following a second round 75 (+3) that put her at 148 (+4) overall, eight strokes behing the leader, Erica Popson of Tennessee.
Collectively, the No. 24 University of Florida women’s golf team heads into Sunday’s final round in ninth place after tallying a 310 (+22) on a challenging day at the Auburn University Club. On average, scores were two strokes higher (77.43) than the opening round Friday (75.37).
“Overall, today was disappointing,” Florida head coach Jan Dowling said. “We just did not limit our mistakes. You are going to make mistakes out there, especially today since it was windy. There was a 20 mile-per-hour wind all day today. You need to control your golf ball. The ball is not always going to go where you want it to. We had some big numbers again and it hurt us. I am really looking for the team to play well tomorrow.”
The Gators got off to a solid start, moving into seventh early and seemed poised to continue rising on the team leaderboard but struggled on the back nine which halted the momentum.
Jensen, rated 84th nationally by Golfstat, overcame four bogeys in her first eight holes to record the 15th lowest score of the day. A birdie on the par-4 18th seemed to turn things around and she played the back nine at one-over, ending the day in position to earn her third top-10 finish of the season.
“Evan is just so even-keeled,” Dowling said. “There is a little more pressure in a conference championship but we all knew she would step up and that we can count on her to play steady golf.”
Sophomore Isabelle Lendl (Goshen, Conn.) was Florida’s low-scorer Saturday, totaling a 74 (+2) that lifted her 13 places in the standings to a tie for 23rd. The Connecticut native was hot at the start, using birdies on 10, 12 and 16 to get to three-under in her opening seven holes and although she had five bogeys, was able to avoid large numbers as she moved into the top 25.
“She had a great front nine and one thing she does really well is control the golf ball into the wind,” Dowling said of Lendl. “That was very beneficial for her today. She did not finish the way she wanted to but she should feel pretty good about that front nine she played.”
Junior Andrea Watts (Bradenton, Fla.) shot an 80 for the second consecutive day. She was able to birdie 15 and 17 where only seven and four birdies respectively, were made on those holes by the field in round two.
Sophomore Mia Piccio (Bacolod City, Philippines) carded an 81 (+9) Saturday and a double bogey on 13 snapped her streak of 10 straight rounds without anything worse than a bogey. Piccio managed to continue her strong play on the par-5’s, shooting two-under on those four holes.
Senior Jessica Yadloczky (Casselberry, Fla.) also posted an 81 (+9). After beginning her round six-over through six, she put together a stretch of three birdies in her next six holes, including one on the par-4 third that only yielded three birdies all day, before four bogeys dropped her back.
Host Auburn holds a nine-stroke lead entering the final round with a team score of 573 (283-290,-3).
Yadloczky will take to the course first for the Orange and Blue at 9:50 a.m. ET from No. 10, followed by Watts, Piccio, Lendl and Jensen in 10-minute increments.