It was no surprise to see the Florida Gators in the top spot after Monday’s opening round of NCAA regional play in the Norman Regional at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Gators were the stroke-play champions at the SEC Championship. Florida would then lose in the opening round of match play to eventual champion Ole Miss, but in their return to competition today, the Gators picked up where they left off – in stroke play that is.
“We left there with something to prove,” junior Sierra Brooks said. “Definitely left a sour taste in our mouths after losing the first match.”
Brooks would lead the Gators with a 3-under 69 and is just one shot off the lead of Michaela Fletcher of Memphis. Fletcher, who is ranked No. 100 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, posted a 4-under 68. Fletcher’s round started and ended with a bogey, but in between she made six birdies.
After a sluggish start on the front nine, the Gators ended the round going 4-under in the last four holes as a team, something that pleased head coach Emily Bastel Glaser.
“I was happy with the patience they showed and their attitudes, both were really good today,” said Bastel Glaser. “We played well at SECs and obviously felt like we left a lot there with not a lot to show for it. But, this group has been really tough and resilient and they did not skip a beat.”
Florida leads by one over NC State.
Coming in hot
Texas Tech is the No. 10 seed, but a look at the Red Raiders spring season and they have been playing much better than that. In the Golfweek/Sagarin spring-only rankings Texas Tech checked in at No. 24 and they played like it on day 1. Texas Tech finished at 1-under 287 and in a four-way tie for third place Texas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
The top six teams will advance to the NCAA finals later this month at the Blessings Golf Course in Fayetteville, Ark.
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“The team played really well today. I feel like we have been getting stronger all spring and it finally came together today,” said Texas Tech head coach JoJo Robertson. “We know it’s a three-round tournament so we’ll have to come out tomorrow ready to play again.”
The Red Raiders were led by Sofia Garcia’s 3-under 69.
Wake Forest, the No. 2 seed, is currently on the outside looking in after a 2-over 290 and sitting in a tie for 8th place. … Defending NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest shot a 1-under 71 and is currently three shots off the lead. … the scoring average for round 1 was 74.66. … Purdue led the field in birdies made with 17. … Day 2 of the three-day event is on Tuesday.