Thursday October 11, 2012Gator Women Take No. 2 Ranking to Tar Heel Invite Against Tough Field
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
The newly ranked No. 2 Florida Gators will get to put that ranking to the test this weekend against another tough field as they will take part in the Tar Heel Invitational Friday through Sunday. This will be the third of four tournaments this fall for the Gators and they will look to continue the early success they have found this season. This week’s tournament will take place at the Finley Golf Course (Par 72, 6,285 yards) near the University of North Carolina campus and will feature 18 teams with one round of play each day.
“We are looking forward to competing again,” Florida head coach Emily Bastel said. “We’re excited to face another strong field and we want to keep things simple this week as that game plan has been working well early in the year.”
The early season success has been prevalent so far this year for Florida as they have trotted out the individual winner for both tournaments they have competed in. The Gators went for the clean sweep at the Cougar Classic to kick off the year by winning the team title by six strokes and sophomore Camilla Hedberg (Sitges, Spain) scoring as the top individual by four strokes. The team was able to follow that with a near identical performance at the Dale McNamara Invitational as it finished in second place, just three strokes behind first place finisher, Arizona State. However, senior Isabelle Lendl (Goshen, Conn.) kept the individual title streak alive as she claimed her first outright title of her collegiate career.
Hedberg and Lendl have both been the clear leaders of the team early this year as their combined tournament totals add up to 23-under par and both players are averaging a score of 70 or better. They will both be in action this weekend and make up two of the five Gators in this weekend’s field. An individual win by either player would be their second of the year and second in three appearances.
As for the rest of the lineup, the Gators will, once again, feature freshman Ursa Orehek (Domzale, Slovenia) and sophomore Anna Young (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), who both played in the opening tournaments of the fall. Last time out at the McNamara Invite, Young showed great improvement from her opening tournament outing to finish in 29th place at 9-over. The Saskatchewan native stayed fairly consistent for the entire contest carding rounds of 3-over, 4-over and 2-over to have her best tournament finish as a Gator. So far this season, Young is averaging 76.5 per round and will look to improve on that on a tough, but fair Finley Golf Course.
For Orehek, she will be looking to improve as well as her better outing came at the Cougar Classic. There, Orehek finished tied for 65th at 10-over with her best round coming on the second day when played nearly even par the entire day and ended at 1-over. The Slovenian is averaging 76.3 per round and is coming off a good showing at the World Amateur Team Championships where she finished tied for 87th with rounds of 76, 83, 71 and 75 as a representative for her native Slovenia.
Making her first appearance as a Gator this week will be junior Elcin Ulu (Istanbul, Turkey). Ulu is a junior college transfer from Redlands Community College, the top-ranked school in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Ulu finished second individually in last year’s junior college national tournament and will look to carry that success over for Florida this season and especially this weekend at the Tar Heel Invite. Ulu did get some play on the course in recent weeks as she also competed in the World Amateur Team Championships for her home country and host nation Turkey. While competing, Ulu finished tied for 48th individually and helped her country finish tied for 36th in the team standings. Ulu played extremely well in the final rounds of the tournament carding a 71 and a 73, which launched her into the top-50 out of 157 participants.
“I am excited for Elcin to see her first competition as a Gator this weekend,” Bastel said. “She is a great teammate and will bring a lot to the team for this weekend’s competition.”
As for the remaining teams in the field, there will be 17 other participating schools with six schools including Florida ranked in the top-25 of the World/WGCA Coaches’ poll, including top-ranked Duke. The field will also feature five schools from the Southeastern Conference in Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and South Carolina.
Play will begin tomorrow with the first groups teeing off at 8:51 a.m. Live scoring will be available on GolfStat.com and results will also be posted throughout the day at TarHeelBlue.com. A complete recap with results will be posted on GatorZone.com following the day’s play.
Tournament Field (World/WGCA Coaches’ Poll rankings in parentheses)
Michigan State (16)
North Carolina (22)