Bulls Geared Up for Gator Invitational
EVENT: SunTrust Gator Invitational
DATES: Saturday, March 11 – Sunday, March 12
LOCATION: Mark Bostick Golf Course (par 70, 6,002 yards), Gainesville
LIVE SCORING: Golfstat.com
TWITTER UPDATES: @USFWGolf
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, MARCH 10, 2017 – USF women’s golf jumps back into action at the SunTrust Gator Invitational, which begins with 36 holes Saturday in Gainesville.
USF will get things started on the back nine at Mark Bostick Golf Course (par 70, 6,002 yards). Head coach Tiffany Prats’ Bulls are seeking their fourth top-10 finish in eight events this season.
Play concludes with 18 more holes Sunday and the field includes No. 6 Florida, No. 12 Duke, No. 25 UCF, Campbell, Clemson, Florida International, Kansas, Maryland, Mercer, Troy, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
USF tied for 11th place the last time out at the Hurricane Invitational on March 1. Senior Nicole Autrique (Mexico City) secured her second consecutive top-10 finish, tying for ninth place out of 86 competitors.
Senior Nicole Autrique continues her run in the top spot of the lineup and leads the team with a 74.1 scoring average through 19 rounds.
Sophomore Maria “Nani” Merchan (Caracas, Venezuela) moves up to the second position in the lineup after tying for 42nd place in Miami.
Junior Maria Rodriguez (Cali, Colombia) is shooting for her second top-25 finish of the spring and third of the season.
Freshman Mariale Merchan (Caracas, Venezuela) returns to the lineup after posting her best finish yet as a Bull. Collecting six birdies, Merchan tied for 52nd as an individual at the Hurricane Invitational, her third event of the season.
Senior Ashley Burke eyes her first top-25 finish of the season after leading the Bulls with 37 pars at the Hurricane Invitational.
Head coach Tiffany Prats on the Gator Invitational and returning home to Gainesville:
“We’ll see what we can do at Florida. Florida is a really good team and the golf course is great, the girls really like it. It’s home for me and a golf course I grew up playing on. It’s where I learned to play and it’s exciting to go back home. We’re going to have a lot of people out watching us and it will just be a fun week.”
Head coach Tiffany Prats on Maria “Nani” Merchan moving up in the lineup:
“Nani is doing well. She played well in Miami and you can see her confidence growing after the wrist injury. Coming back in the spring, she’s been really solid and she’s getting better and better. I think the key is she’s making more putts and she’s still hitting the ball well.”
Head coach Tiffany Prats on Nicole Autrique’s consecutive top-10 finishes:
“Nicole has two top-10 finishes against two really good fields and the same could happen at Florida. The golf course will set up really well for her. Nicole is really good at controlling irons and the greens. A key out there is going to be hitting it in the right position, off the fairways and into the greens, so you have good putts and looks.”