Bozzelli, Gidali earn player-of-the-week honors
Dominic Bozzelli, Auburn
After closing out the fall season with a share of the title at the U.S. Collegiate, the 20-year-old junior from Pittsford, N.Y., made it two straight by earning medalist honors at the SunTrust Gator Invitational. A career-best 64 in the second round at Mark Bostick GC in Gainesville, Fla., helped him finished with an eight-under 202 total, three strokes clear of Florida's T.J. Vogel. It was the lowest 54-hole score in the event since Graeme McDowell shot a 10-under 200 for UAB in 2002.
Bozzelli's effort also helped propel the Tigers to the team title, beating Arkansas by 16 strokes and the host Gators by 17. It was the first time in nine years that the Gators didn't claim the team title.
"It was a great win for Dominic and the team," Auburn men's coach Nick Clinard. "I am proud of all six of my players. We are happy, but we definitely didn't play our best today. We continue to have lots of work to do to be great. We need the next two weeks to work on our ball striking and short games."
Manon Gidali, Arizona
I wrote about Gidali's historic debut for Golf World Monday today (click here for the story). In her first tournament at Arizona, she shot a 12-under 204 to win medalist honors at the Wildcat Invitational, breaking the school's 54-hole scoring mark set by Lorena Ochoa in 2002.
Now for a little more background: The freshman from France graduated high school last September and was reluctant to come to the U.S. so quickly, hoping to wait until this coming fall in order to improve her English before arriving in Tucson. But Arizona women's coach Laura Ianello convinced the 18-year-old that starting in January would be beneficial, with countrywoman Isabelle Boineau able to serve as a mentor while finishing up her senior year, along with another French native Clemence Abrahamian.
"College is such a stressful time for freshman, because they’re away from home, a new environment, new friends," Ianello said. "And for Manon to move here and already have two friends and help her with the language, help her with adjusting to practice and school and the rigorous schedule student-athletes are under, I think that helped her. I really think that helped her performance this last week. She’s not under as much stress as I would say a normal freshman who was just to school for a month.”
Meanwhile, the addition of Gidali provides Wildcat seniors Boineau, Margarita Ramos and Nikki Koller with another reliable golfer to back them up. Granted the Wildcats were playing at home, but to beat top-ranked UCLA by 13 strokes is nothing to ignore. (Oh, and to beat in-state rival Arizona State by 33 was fun too.)
"We had a 13-shot lead going into the last day," Ianello said, "and not one moment did I feel like the girls were like, 'Oh, I guess we can just go play golf today because we have such a big lead.' They were serious about finishing things off. I really was proud of them for that."