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Sunday September 6, 2009W. Golf Earns No. 1 Seed at Hooters Match Play Championships

Daytona Beach, Fla.


The University of Florida women’s golf team teed off the 2009-10 season on a positive note, finishing in first place in the qualifying round of the Hooters Match Play Championships on Sunday in Daytona Beach, Fla. The squad tallied a team score of 585 (293-292, +9) after 36 holes on the par-72, 6,280-yard Legends Course at LPGA International.


“Obviously, today is a great way to kick off the season,” said first-year head coach Jan Dowling. “I could not have asked for a better start for our team. They all played great and stayed patient. We played 36 holes today and everyone is bound to have a bad hole here and there, but if they did so, they were able to bounce back and continue to do well. I think that was the difference maker for us.”


The Gators featured a youthful lineup on Sunday, as three sophomores and two freshman suited up for the Orange and Blue. The squad showed that age was not a factor as they remained at or near the top of the leaderboard throughout the day. Florida was just one stroke away from the lead following the first 18 holes.


“I’m not really surprised that our players stepped up the way they did, regardless of their age,” Dowling said. “They are all competitors and when the flag is raised, they’re ready to play. Each of them has had great experience and success in junior and amateur golf.”

Three Gators finished in a three-way tie for 13th after each carding a two-over 146. Making her first appearance for the Orange and Blue, freshman Amelia Lewis (Jacksonville, Fla.) led the squad after the first round, carding an even-par 72. After making a double bogey on her first hole in the afternoon session, Lewis bounced back to make a birdie on her second. In all, Lewis tallied eight birdies, six bogeys and two double bogeys.


Lewis was joined by sophomores  Andrea Watts (Bradenton, Fla.) and Evan Jensen (Belleair, Fla.), both of whom participated in the Hooters Match Play for the first time in 2008. Watts carded a 74 (+2) in the first round, making all pars with the exception of a birdie on the 10th hole and a triple bogey on the 11th. Watts improved her score by two strokes, shooting an even-par 72 in her second round. Jensen matched Watts’ first and second round scores and tallied seven birdies, seven bogeys and one double bogey.


After seeing action in only one tournament last season, sophomore Marika Lendl (Bradenton, Fla.) kicked off the season just one stroke behind her teammates with a three-over 147, tying for 18th place. Marika carded a 1-over par 73 in her first 18 holes, while scoring a 74 (+2) in her second. Freshman Isabelle Lendl (Bradenton, Fla.) rounded out the Gators rotation. In her first collegiate tournament, Lendl finished the qualifying rounds with a nine-over 153 to place in a tie for 42nd.


The top-seeded Gators resume play on Monday with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Check or for live scoring and updated results.



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