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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s golf finishes in first place at SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational

The Arizona men’s basketball team wasn’t the only squad to achieve back-to-back accomplishments this past weekend. UA women’s golf continued to roll after the Wildcats traveled to Gainesville, Fla., and finished in first place at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational.

Manon Gidali had a breakout tournament that the Wildcats needed, as the senior finished at the top of the leader board to become the first Wildcat to finish in first place individually all season.  

The ninth-ranked Wildcats won the event last season, and as of recently, Arizona is striving for greatness. The spring season has treated Arizona very well, to put it mildly, as the Wildcats have finished in the top 10 of every tournament in 2015.

The Wildcats teed off the first round of the tournament and shot 295 (+15) as a team to lead after Friday.

“The course was playing extremely difficult, and [Florida] coach [Emily] Glaser and coach [Janice] Olivencia told us the conditions would be difficult, as people can see from the high scores,” Arizona women’s golf coach Laura Ianello said.

The Wildcat leaders after the first day were Gidali and freshman Krystal Quihuis, as the pair both shot 73 (+3) and finished tied for fourth after day one. Quihuis also snagged two birdies and shot an average of 4.20 on par-4s, which was good enough for fourth place in that category.

Gidali was in third place in par-4 average after the senior shot an average of 4.10 strokes (+1) in round one. Gidali got off to a shaky start, as the senior collected four bogeys on the front nine but made one birdie on the par-3 11th hole. Gidali would then finish off the round with seven consecutive pars.

“I played really [well] and tried to stay patient and in the present,” Gidali said.

Wanasa Zhou also finished in the top 10 of the first round for the Wildcats, tying for ninth place and shooting a 74 (+4). Zhou is having a strong sophomore campaign and came into the tournament on Friday with confidence, due to playing in the final round of the Volvik Championship. Zhou finished the first round with an average score of three strokes on par-3s.

The Wildcats shot a 290 (+10) in the second round and created some breathing room with an 11-stroke lead going into the final round. Arizona appeared to be a team that was finally hitting fifth gear.

Quihuis, who shot 70 (E) and finished Saturday at three-over-par for the tournament, was the highlight of the second round. Quihuis jumped out to first place, led in both par-4 and par-5 scoring and made five birdies.

Gidali was tied for second place after Saturday and shot one stroke better than she did on Friday. She collected three birdies and had confidence going into the final round.

Lindsey Weaver jumped from tied for 17th place to tied for seventh after shooting 73 (+2), and ended the second round at eight-over-par for the tournament.

Arizona created some space from the host, Florida, and ended the tournament with four Wildcats placing in the top 10, which included Gidali taking the top spot on the individual leader board. Gidali ended the tournament with 215 strokes overall (+5) and earned her first individual win in two seasons.

“It feels great, because I haven’t won individually for the past two years, and I had a really bad season last year and wasn’t really playing for the team,” Gidali said. “So, I worked really hard to get back at it, and this victory means a lot right now.”

The Wildcats’ next event will be at home for the Wildcat Invitational. The home event is a two-day tournament from March 16-17. Tee times are set for 7 a.m. at Sewailo Golf Club.

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Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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