Florida falters late at Clemson Invitational

Matt Stamey / Courtesy of UAA Communications The Gators women’s golf team finished the second round of the Clemson Invitational in a tie for second place at 7 under on Saturday. The only thing to change between then and the end of the final round on Sunday was a lower placement.

UF finished the weekend alone in third place after succumbing to FSU and Furman. FSU used a fervent onslaught in the second round, buoyed by senior Matilda Castren’s eight birdies, to card a tournament-low round of 278 and pull into a tie with Florida. FSU then used a 3-under third round to topple the Gators, as UF couldn’t break par on the final day. Castren, the eventual individual champion, finished 9 under with a steady 2-under third round.

Florida senior Maria Torres continued her hot streak for Florida as she produced a 7 under for the tournament, good for a tie for second overall. Torres carded a 3 under during the final round to break out of a tie for fourth overall.

“Maria had another great week. She is playing solid, but more importantly, playing smart,” coach Emily Glaser said in a release. “Her smart play is giving her the opportunity to be in contention every week.”

However, no other Gators cracked the top 10. Senior Karolina Vlckova and junior Taylor Tomlinson finished at even par for the tournament, placing in a tie for 12th.

As was the case last year, senior Kelly Grassel bookended a subpar second round with decent first and third rounds in Sunset, South Carolina, carding a 6 over in Round 2. Grassel finished in a tie for 48th, her worst placement in a tournament since her freshman season at Michigan State.

Tomlinson, who was tied with Torres through two rounds at 4 under, seemed to be in a funk from the beginning of the third round, posting two bogeys and a double-bogey before draining her first and only birdie of the round on the 14th hole. Vlckova also had one birdie on the day a day after posting four birdies in an effort to card a 3 under in the second round.

Glaser was optimistic about her team’s chances heading into Round 3.

“We were grinding hard for that team score,” Glaser said after the second round. “I’m proud of them. Tomorrow is going to be really fun.”

The final round may have been fun to play, but the result was ultimately disappointing for Glaser’s team.

“It’s a great lesson that every shot counts,” Glaser said. “Unfortunately, today we made too many mistakes to make any kind of real run at FSU.”

The Gators will now have a few weeks off before heading up to Birmingham, Alabama, to prepare for the SEC Championship taking place between April 21 and 23.

Contact Morgan McMullen at mmcmullen@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @morganmcmuffin .