Host Gators edge Tide by a shot
Sunday, March 18, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Freshman Camilla Hedberg came up big for host Florida at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Invitational, posting a key birdie on No. 16 and a crucial par save on the final hole Sunday to clinch a one-shot victory over second-ranked Alabama. The Spaniard tied for second place individually with a 2-under 208 total (68-71-69). Florida State’s Maria Salinas earned medalist honors with a tournament-record 4-under 206 (68-72-66).
It was the Gators’ second consecutive victory and 18th overall at its home event. Florida, which entered the event at No. 18 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, finished at 24-over 864. Alabama (865) was followed by Florida State (872), Georgia (877) and Duke (882). The 17-team field included 10 teams in Golfweek’s top 40.
“I’m so proud of how my team played all three days, but in particular the last two,” said Florida head coach Jan Dowling. “They played their hearts out . . . and just kept grinding today.”
“We went back and forth all day, and it was just really great we were able to finish it off at home against such a good field of teams.”
Florida senior Evan Jensen tied for seventh, rebounding from an opening 77 to finish 69-69, including four birdies in a five-hole stretch during the final round. Teammates Mia Piccio (T-15) and Andrea Watts (T-24) also finished in the top 25.
“We really prepared well and it paid off,” Jensen said. “It’s nice to be home, but at the same time there’s a little bit of added pressure. To push through that and to persevere, it’s really great.”