Gators Golf Victory
Gators women's golf celebrates their victory at the VyStar Credit Union Gators Invitational Sunday, March 5, 2023. photo by Ashley Ray

Florida Women’s Golf Sweeps in Match Play over No. 20 Pepperdine and No. 4 UCLA

Florida women’s golf began its 2024 season Saturday with a 2-0 match play sweep over No. 20 Pepperdine and No. 4 UCLA at the Therese Hession Regional Challenge. The No. 10 Gators defeated No. 20 Pepperdine 4-1, and No. 4 UCLA 3-2.

The tournament format was altered to two rounds of match play instead of a practice round Saturday due to severe weather in the area.

Gators Handle Waves 4-1

California native Jackie Lucena claimed the first point for the Gators to begin the match. The fifth-year cruised to a 6 and 5 victory over Pepperdine junior Lauren Gomez. Lucena was the first golfer on the course to win her match among the 16-team field. Lucena was in full control, losing only one hole throughout her match.

Senior Maisie Filler made it 2-0 for the Gators behind a 5 and 4 win over Pepperdine senior Lion Higo. Filler was 4-under through 14 holes and won in wire-to-wire fashion, not losing a single hole.

However, the Waves would get one back to put the match at 2-1 with Pepperdine senior Kaleiya Romero’s 5 and 3 win over Gators freshman Inès Archer.

Then, Florida freshman Paula Francisco earned the match-clinching point with a 4 and 2 victory over Pepperdine junior KaYee Kwok. Francisco won four consecutive holes to secure the win after the match was tied with six holes remaining.

The third true freshman in the Gators’ lineup, Sophie Stevens, played out her match and secured the team’s fourth point with a 2 and 1 win. Stevens, like Lucena, only dropped one hole.

Gators Defeat UCLA, Play Ends Due to Darkness

Sophie Stevens secured the first points of the match in a 4 and 3 win over UCLA senior Kate Villegas. Stevens eagled the 18th hole to give her a two-hole lead with seven holes remaining. She then won two, and split two of the next four holes to end the match.

The remaining matches were tied 2-2 after Stevens’ win.

Then, UCLA senior Tiffany Le evened the count at 1-1 after defeating Paula Francisco in a 3 and 1 win, leaving three matches still undecided.

Each leader in the three remaining matches held no more than a two-hole lead going into the final holes. However, play was suspended due to darkness resulting with the golfer leading at the time to earn the point in their match.

Fortunately for the Gators, Inès Archer and Maisie Filler held one-hole leads in their matches when play was suspended. This gave the Gators their second and thirds wins to clinch the match.

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