Talk about family ties.
Sisters Isabelle and Marika Lendl finished 1-2 Tuesday en route to leading Florida to a dominating victory at the Central District Invitational.
The Gators, No. 17 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, shot a final-round 2-under 286 at River Wilderness Golf Club in Parrish, Fla., to finish at 7-under 857, a whopping 29 shots ahead of No. 34 TCU. It was the first win of the season for Florida.
“It was an unbelievable team performance, and that’s what I’m most proud of,” first-year head coach Jan Dowling said. “The team knows that this is the kind of golf we are capable of playing.”
Isabelle Lendl (74-67-71), a freshman, and Marika (72-70-70), a sophomore, finished at 4-under 212. Isabelle was declared the tournament champion via a scorecard playoff, which was determined by the lowest score over the final nine holes.
“We’ve competed against each other before in junior golf, so it wasn’t really anything new,” Isabelle said. “Obviously I wanted her to do well, but at the same time I wanted to win because I try and view her as a competitor and not my sister when we are out on the course. I really view it as a tie because a scorecard playoff doesn’t mean much.”
Marika had one top-15 finish before the Central District Invitational; Isabelle had posted two top-10s.
Gators freshman Mia Piccio tied for fourth at 217, and sophomore Evan Jensen tied for sixth at 218.
No. 4 Purdue (889) was third, and No. 10 Michigan State (895) was fourth.
Florida opened the spring season with a ninth-place finish at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge. In four fall events, the Gators had one top-5 finish, a runner-up at the Las Vegas Collegiate Shootout.
Florida next travels to Athens, Ga., for the ACC/SEC Challenge on March 1-2.
– University of Florida athletics contributed to this report