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Sunday October 14, 2007Mercedes-Benz Classic Golden For Gal, Women's Golf

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.

Two-time All-American Sandra Gal (Leichlingen, Germany) ousted Auburn’s 20th-ranked freshman Cydney Clanton in a playoff to capture medalist honors and the sixth-ranked Florida women’s golf team became champions at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Classic Sunday. The Lady Gators brought first-place hardware back to Gainesville for the first time since last year’s SunTrust Lady Gator Invitational when Gal took home medalist honors.

UF closed final-round play with another round of 288 to match Saturday’s second-round total.

“In the last four holes we had a gameplan to finish the tournament and they stuck with it,” head coach Jill Briles-Hinton said. “It’s been a long time coming for the Gators. We were headed in the right direction, finished really strong and I’m really proud of this effort from the team.”

Florida finished strong in the driver‘s seat, closing out the tournament in red numbers for the starters’ final 24 holes at 3-under par to pull away from runner-up No. 16 Purdue.

Florida tied a number of school records that have been upheld for the last 22 years including the lowest tournament score (1985, 865 at the Ryder Championships). Gal tied the school record (Page Dunlap and Cheryl Morley and set a new Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Classic mark with her 3-under par 210. The Lady Gators' second and third-round totals were tied for the seventh-lowest scores in school history for the low round.

The 23rd-ranked Gal finished with another round under par, her fourth in six attempts this year. Gal fired a 1-under par 70 and hovered around the top of the leaderboard for the duration of the event. Gal and Clanton were locked with 2007 NCAA Championships medalist Stacy Lewis from Arkansas before Lewis bogeyed on the 15th hole to set up the showdown with the senior and Auburn's highly-touted freshman. Gal’s first-place showing was the third in her career and won her first playoff after competing extra holes last season at the Bryan National Collegiate.

“It was a strange playoff because (Cydney) Clanton hit her ball in a tree and we couldn’t find it,” Gal said. “She hit her ball out of bounds on her next shot and I was able to get a birdie. I think I played solid. I left a lot of shots out there and I didn’t make too many putts yesterday but they had a good chance to go in. It was a tight golf course so I tried to keep the ball in play and some holes you have to play more strategically. I definitely felt like I was one of the longest players out here and my goal was to get a birdie on every par five. It’s really exciting to have such a good team around me. I can just go out and play and do well. The team is very excited and has a lot of confidence heading home.”

Jessica Yadloczky (Casselberry, Fla.) matched the impressive trend she set in her season debut at the Mason Rudolph Women’s Championship, improving her score in each round capped with an even round of 71. Yadloczky fired three of her four birdies in the final nine holes. The No. 3 freshman in the nation placed in a tie for 15th, her second top-20 performance this season.

After carding the team’s first eagle of the year Saturday, senior Whitney Myers (East Berlin, Pa.) tallied her second top-10 finish this year in three events, finishing two-over par with a 73. Myers finished 10th, another impressive showing after leading Florida at the Wildcat Fall Invitational. Myers tied her career-low tournament score with a 216, equaling the marks she set at the 2006 Lady Puerto Rico Classic and the 2007 SEC Championship.

Redshirt junior Ornella Jouven (La Ciotat, France) put together a solid tournament, tying for 27th. Jouven salvaged a rough front nine with by breaking even on the back nine to finish with a 222 (+9).

Senior Tiffany Chudy (Miramar, Fla.) also rebounded from an uncharacteristic front nine, scoring three birdies on the back nine to finish with a 76 and place in a tie for 53rd. Redshirt freshman Nicole Schachner (Libertyville, Ill.) closed out her first action of the season tied for 86th. Schachner fired an 80 in her final round.

The Lady Gators will enjoy a week of rest before heading to Tuscaloosa for the Ann Rhoads Classic hosted by Alabama Oct. 26-28.

Florida Scoring
T1 - Sandra Gal (69-71-70--210)**
T10 - Whitney Myers (73-70-73--216)
T15 - Jessica Yadloczky (75-74-71--220)
T27 - Ornella Jouven (75-73-74--222)
T53 - Tiffany Chuddy (72-79-76--227)
T86 - Nicole Schachner (83-76-80--239)*
* Competed as an individual
** Won individual honors in a playoff

Team Scoring
1 - Florida (289-288-288--865)
2 - Purdue (291-291-288--870)
3 - Arkansas (285-297-296--878)
4 - Auburn (292-296-291--879)
5 - Kent State (296-297-288--881)
6 - Tennessee (288-306-289--883)
7 - Denver (293-292-300--885)
8 - Virginia (294-294-298--886)
9 - LSU (295-299-294--888)
10 - Alabama (288-301-300--889)
T11 - Michigan State (292-301-302--895)
T11 - Ohio State (298-295-302--895)
13 - North Carolina (305-299-293--897)
14 - Swedish Jr. Nationals (304-298-297--899)
15 - Furman (300-301-300--901)
16 - SMU (302-296-310--908)
17 - Central Florida (306-301-305--912)

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