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Isabelle Lendl will be looking for her third tournament win of the year this week.

Saturday February 23, 2013Florida To Face Loaded Field at AllState Sugar Bowl Invitational

New Orleans, La.

Isabelle Lendl will be looking for her third tournament win of the year this week.

To see the Gators tournament notes for the AllState Sugar Bowl Invitational CLICK HERE.

 

The third-ranked Florida women’s golf team will be back on the course this week for the AllState Sugar Bowl Invitational, its final tune-up before its only home tournament of the year, the SunTrust Gator Women’s Invitational.

 

After earning its sixth straight top-10 finish for the year at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, the Gators will face another loaded field in New Orleans Sunday through Tuesday and will be looking for its fifth team title of the 2012-13 season. The tournament is set to take place at the English Turn Golf and Country Club (Par 72, 6,105 yards) and is hosted by Tulane University.

 

“We played on this course last year,” head coach Emily Bastel said. “We’ll at least have a couple of girls who have seen this course before. It’s different than last week. It’s a little more flat, the greens are big and it can tend to get windy there. Those are just some of the things we’ve been preparing for in our practice leading up to that, but it’s a great golf course and it’ll be a good challenge.”

 

Of the 18 teams in the field, eight teams are currently ranked in the top 25 of the WGCA/Coaches’ Poll. Three of the top five will be in the field as well, including top-ranked USC.

 

Even with it being a tough field, Bastel knows that a tournament like this is exactly what her team needs to see as the postseason draws near and also to help the team continue play at a high level.

 

“We want to win every week,” Bastel said. “But we don’t want to be totally focused on that right now. We really want to focus on the things that we can control and that’s just going out every round and playing the best that we can. If it’s good enough to win, that’s great, but we want to have solid finishes and beat a lot of teams. The fields are going to keep getting stronger and we’ve been talking about that and preparing, so we’ll be ready.”

 

Even with the fifth place finish at the Northrop Grumman two weeks ago, it was also the first time this year that a Gator individual did not win the top medal honors in a tournament UF was entered in.

 

Florida’s top finisher was sophomore Camilla Hedberg (Sitges, Spain), who came in eighth place after rounds of 71-72-76 to finish the week at 219 (+6). It was the fifth top 10 finish for Hedberg as she will head into New Orleans this weekend as the top player in Florida’s rotation. She still sits with three individual victories on the year, which is tied for the most in one season in the history of the program. Hedberg is also still the top-ranked player in the nation according to GolfStat.com with an average score of 71.24 with 17 rounds under her belt.

 

Florida’s lineup this week will be the exact same that was seen in Palos Verdes, Calif. Following Hedberg are seniors Isabelle Lendl (Goshen, Conn.) and Mia Piccio (Bacolod City, Philippines) in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Lendl, who had two wins of her own back in the fall, has had a slightly slower start to her spring, but was very consistent at the Northrop Grumman, shooting scores of 74-75-75-224 (+11) to finish tied for 22nd place. Lendl has finished in the top-25 in every event she’s entered this year and is also ranked among the best in the nation as she is tied for seventh in GolfStat with an average score of 71.82.

 

Piccio may have the most momentum heading into this week’s tournament as she has also finished in the top 25 in every tournament she’s entered this year. The senior finished tied for 25th at the Northrop Grumman, but that was just a couple of weeks removed from finishing in the top ten at the Florida Challenge and also claiming an individual victory at the Lady Bulldog Championship. Her first round at the Northrop Grumman was also one of her best of the year as it was her sixth even or under par round in 2012-13.

 

Junior Elcin Ulu (Istanbul, Turkey) and sophomore Anna Young (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) round out the lineup for the Gators as they will try to give UF the depth they need to possibly take home a fourth team title. Young is coming off one of her best tournaments of the year with scores of 74-77-74-225 (+12) to finish tied for 25th alongside Piccio. Her total score for the Northrop Grumman tied for a career-best and her two rounds of 74 tied for a season-best. It was also her second best finish of the year.

 

“That was a great tournament for her,” Bastel said. “I know she gave a couple back on the way in at the end, but she held it together for quite a long time on a really tough golf course. Even though the scores were the same that, maybe, she’s been shooting on that particular golf course, they were really good rounds for her and it will hopefully give her a lot of confidence for the rest of the spring.”

 

Ulu had a very uncharacteristic tournament last time out, but will look to get back on track this week in New Orleans. Last time out, Ulu finished tied for 62nd with scores of 79-83-75-237 (+24), but through 11 rounds this year is still among the best on the team with an average score of 76.4. Ulu’s best collegiate round came in January when she shot a 69 at the Florida Challenge, which was also her first time out since posting her best tournament score of the year, a 225 at the Betsy Rawls Invite, which is still her best tournament score for a 54-hole tournament this year.

 

Play runs for the AllState Sugar Bowl Invitational Sunday through Tuesday and live scoring will be available on GolfStat.com.

 

A full recap with complete results can be found on GatorZone.com following each day’s play.

 

For complete coverage of UF’s women’s golf program visit GatorZone.com, follow @GatorZoneGolf on Twitter and ‘like’ the University of Florida Women’s Golf page on Facebook.

 

 

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