Saturday September 8, 2012Gator Women's Golf Begins Fall Season at Cougar Classic
The No. 9 Florida Gator women’s golf team will take the course for the first time in the 2012-13 season tomorrow when it tees off at the Cougar Classic, hosted by the College of Charleston. The tournament is being held at the par-72, 6,219 yard Yeamans Hall Club and will give the Gators an opportunity to start the year on the right foot in hopes of yet another NCAA Tournament appearance.
“We’re excited to get going,” head coach Emily Bastel said. “This tournament will be a test for us because it is such a strong field, but our girls know how to play their best against strong competition. It’s good to go ahead and play in a tournament like this right off the bat because it gives us an opportunity to play some really good golf.”
The Gators are sending five players for the three day tournament, three of which were the top players for UF one year ago. Senior Isabelle Lendl (Goshen, Conn.) leads the squad at the top of the lineup, who is coming off a busy summer on the amateur circuit. Lendl competed in many high quality tournaments, including the U.S. Women’s Amateur where she advanced through stroke play and into the Round of 32 of match play before being eliminated. Lendl now trains her sights back on her final year in the college ranks where she averaged 77.67 strokes per round a year ago. In this same tournament last year, Lendl recorded her best tournament score for the entire season (219).
Sophomore Camilla Hedberg (Sitges, Spain) and senior Mia Piccio (Bacolod City, Philippines) will round out the top three in the lineup this weekend. Hedberg is coming off one of the most stellar campaigns for a freshman in Gator history. Hedberg not only led the team in lowest scoring average (73.52), but was also named the SEC Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-American by GolfWeek. Hedberg scored her best round of the 2011-12 season (67) in this same tournament a year ago and also carded the lowest tournament total in school history.
Piccio like her veteran counterparts is also coming off a strong season where she had six top-20 finishes, including a 12th place finish in last year’s Cougar Classic. At this tournament last year, Piccio carded scores of 71-72-71, well below her season average. She then kept the ball rolling for the remainder of the year en route to being named to the All-SEC second team for the second time in her career.
Freshman Ursa Orehek (Domzale, Slovenia) and sophomore Anna Young (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) complete the lineup for the Gators this weekend. Both are making their UF debuts and it is the collegiate debut for Orehek. Young comes to Florida after spending her freshman season at the University of Tulsa.
As for the rest of the teams in the field, 24 schools will be represented with 13 of those school ranked at the end of last season. Eight SEC schools are also taking part in the tournament, including defending national champion, Alabama.
Florida will look to repeat some of the magic it saw at this tournament last year which included a third place team finish and was the second straight year the team opened the season with a top-three finish.
Play will begin tomorrow with the first groups teeing off at 7:50 a.m. Live scoring will be available on GolfStat.com and results will also be posted at CofCSports.com. A complete recap with results will be posted on GatorZone.com following the day’s play.
Tournament Field (Golf World/NGCA Preseason Coaches’ Poll rankings in parentheses)
College of Charleston
North Carolina (6)
N.C. State (25)
South Carolina (17)