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Saturday May 10, 2008No. 4 UF Women's Golf Holds Off No. 1 Duke To Win NCAA East Regional

ATHENS, Ga.

For the first time in program history, the University of Florida women’s golf team will head to the NCAA Championships as a champion of an NCAA regional. The fourth-ranked Lady Gators continued a remarkable season and held off a late charge from No. 1 Duke to claim the NCAA East Regional by one shot on Saturday at the University of Georgia Golf Course.  

“This team continues to show a lot of heart,” said UF head coach Jill Briles-Hinton, the 2008 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year. “I am so proud of what they have done to pull this off. Our team shows that it never quits and just keeps fighting.”

 

Florida, which took a three-shot lead into the day, shot a final-round 10-over 298 to edge the three-time defending NCAA champion Blue Devils, who recorded an 8-over 296. The second-seeded Lady Gators finished at 19-over 883, while Duke closed at 20-over 884. Georgia took third-place honors at 25-over 889.

The top eight teams qualified for the NCAA Championships to be played May 20-23 in Albuquerque, N.M. Joining Florida, Duke and Georgia will be Auburn (894), Virginia (898), South Carolina (899), Wake Forest (899) and Furman (900). Furman edged NCAA host New Mexico by one stroke to earn the final NCAA Championship bid.

 

The Lady Gators made the turn with a six-stroke lead before the Blue Devils mounted a furious rally. Freshman Hannah Yun (Bradenton, Fla.) and redshirt junior Ornella Jouven (La Ciotat, France) sealed the regional victory with birdies on the par-5 18th.  

“The birdies on 18 were significant and proved to be the difference,” Briles-Hinton said. “We were in a tough situation but really never felt the pressure. We were not nervous at all down the stretch. We added up the scores at the end and came out on top.”

 

For Florida, the win was its third straight in tournament play and its fifth of the season. The five victories represent the most wins in a single season since the 1985-86 team claimed 10 first-place finishes en route to the Lady Gators’ last NCAA title.

Twenty-two years later, Florida has solidified its chances as a national title contender once again with a lineup that features two true freshmen, a senior and a redshirt junior. The Lady Gators earned the best regional finish in program history, eclipsing the previous best mark of third place in 1996.

“As a coach, it is very rewarding to watch the players have success,” Briles-Hinton said. “We know we have as good of a shot as anyone to win the (NCAA) title. We are playing really well right now and playing for each other. They've really taken matters into their own hands. They've worked extremely hard to make sure that they did the things they needed to do to be successful.”

Once again, Florida had to overcome top-ranked Duke, who had won eight out of its last 10 regionals it had participated in and boasted the nation’s No. 1 player in Amanda Blumenherst. The Lady Gators defeated the Blue Devils for the second time in as many tournaments. Florida also overtook Duke to win the Bryan National Collegiate on March 30.

Blumenherst earned runner-up honors on Sunday at 1-under 215. South Carolina’s Benedicte Toumpsin maintained her second-round lead to capture individual medal honors at 2-under 214. Toumpsin tallied a final-round 76 on the toughest scoring conditions of the week.

Senior Tiffany Chudy (Miramar, Fla.) concluded the 54-hole event with a share of seventh place after entering the day just outside the top 10. Chudy provided the Lady Gators with their lone under-par score of the tournament after firing a 1-under 71 on Sunday. She made the turn at 1-over in her round and then played the difficult four-hole stretch of 13, 14, 15 and 16 at 3-under that put her at 2-over 218.

“I told her after her round that I was very proud of her,” Briles-Hinton said of Chudy. “She really showed her senior leadership out there all week with her play.”

 

Three other Lady Gators finished in the top 20. Freshman Jessica Yadloczky (Casselberry, Fla.) closed with a 3-over 75 that put her at 4-over 220 for the tournament and a tie for 10th place. Jouven recorded the best finish of her career at an NCAA regional with a share of 15th place following a 5-over 77 that left her at 6-over 222 overall. Jouven erased a double bogey on the par-3 16th with a clutch birdie on the par-5 last.

Yun secured her fourth top-20 finish of the year with a final-round 3-over 75 that gave her a tie for 17th place. The 16-year-old, playing in just her seventh collegiate tournament, made the turn at 3-over for her round but carded an even-par back nine with a birdie on 18. Yun finished the week with a team-high 10 birdies.

Redshirt freshman Nicole Schachner (Libertyville, Ill.) posted a 5-over 77 to finish at 19-over 235. Schachner improved her position in every round and concluded in a tie for 68th place in her first NCAA regional appearance.

Final Team Scores

Place

School

Score

1.

Florida

290-295-298=883 (+19)  

2.

Duke

285-303-296=884 (+20)      

3.

Georgia   

299-300-290=889 (+25)  

4.

Auburn     

296-302-296=894 (+30)      

5.

Virginia

296-310-292=898 (+34)        

T6.

South Carolina     

291-303-305=899 (+35)       

T6.

Wake Forest    

298-305-296=899 (+35)        

8.

Furman   

292-307-301=900 (+36)        

9.

New Mexico      

304-301-296=901 (+37)        

10.

Louisville  

293-315-304=912 (+48)  

11.

Vanderbilt

308-305-301=914 (+50)       

12.

East Carolina   

314-297-308=919 (+55)        

13.

UNC Wilmington  

312-302-308=922 (+58)   

14.

Georgia State   

308-306-310=924 (+60)   

15.

Missouri

305-320-300=925 (+61)   

16.

Tennessee

311-311-307=929 (+65)

17.

UCF

312-311-307=930 (+66)   

18.

Indiana  

309-313-311=933 (+69)   

19.

Charleston Southern

309-315-326=950 (+86)   

20.

Jacksonville State

327-315-313=955 (+91)  

21.

Jackson State

338-333-325=996 (+132)

 

Final Individual Top 10

Place

Player (School)

Score

1.

Benedicte Toumpsin (South Carolina)     

68-70-76=214 (-2)   

T2.

Amanda Blumenherst (Duke)     

68-73-74=215 (-1)     

T2.

Sara-Maude Juneau (Louisville)      

67-74-74=215 (-1)     

T4.

Krystle Caithness (Georgia)   

70-73-74=217 (+1)    

T4.

Cydney Clanton (Auburn)    

70-75-72=217 (+1)     

T4.

Alexandra Phelps (New Mexico)    

71-73-73=217 (+1)    

T7.

Tiffany Chudy (Florida)     

72-75-71=218 (+2)    

T7.

Joy Kim (Virginia)     

73-77-68=218 (+2)    

9.

Carmen Perez (UNC Wilmington)     

71-72-76=219 (+3)    

T10.

Jessica Yadloczky (Florida)     

73-72-75=220 (+4)    

T10.

3 other players

220 (+4)

 

Final Florida Results

Place

Player

Score

T7.

Tiffany Chudy      

72-75-71=218 (+2)    

T10.

Jessica Yadloczky   

73-72-75=220 (+4)    

T15.

Ornella Jouven         

72-73-77=222 (+6)      

T17.

Hannah Yun     

73-75-75=223 (+7)  

T68.

Nicole Schachner     

82-76-77=235 (+19)    

 

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