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PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Golden/UAA Communications

Preview: No. 8 Gators women’s golf has plenty to juggle at Allstate Sugar Bowl

The defending champions of the Allstate Sugar Bowl return to English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans in the second stop of the 2019 spring campaign.

Hosted by Tulane, the tournament format is a 54-hole stroke play format of three rounds, played over the course of three days. 18 holes will be played per day.

Defending a title at a familiar course may sound easy. But there are a few variables the Gators need to consider going in.

The Gators vs. the field

The field at the Sugar Bowl isn’t one that’ll be sweet. It boasts some of the best teams in NCAA women’s golf, featuring teams such as No. 1 USC, No. 3 Texas and No. 5 Duke. An individual threat comes in the form of Miami freshman Anna Backman, the No. 3 ranked player in the country.

The Gators have retained most of the same core they won with last year, minus Taylor Tomlinson. Tomlinson was one of the key contributors in last year’s win in New Orleans, where she placed 11th individually.

Junior Sierra Brooks claimed the individual title last year with a 7-under, four-stroke cushion. Beside her skillful play, her leadership will be crucial throughout this tournament. Returning beside Brooks will be junior Marta Perez and sophomore Elin Esborn, who also had individual top-ten finishes last year. The experienced lineup in Brooks, Perez, Esborn and Addie Baggarly will hopefully be enough to integrate freshman Clara Manzalini who will play in her very first Sugar Bowl.

A not-so-hot start

The Gators are coming off of an unfavorable season start. A disappointing 13th place finish out of a 16-team field left quite the sour taste, dropping them from No. 3 to No. 8 nationally. The best individual finish came from Baggarly, who placed T41 with a 13-over finish.

Catch the action

Play will begin for the Gators on Sunday, Feb. 17 with a 9:40 a.m. tee time, beginning on the front nine. Live scoring is available through Golfstat.com.

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