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Univ. of Florida signs Piccio to 2009-10 seasons

Sun Star Network Online

NEGRENSE international amateur golf standout Mia Piccio of Bacolod City has signed a National Letter of Intent and will play for the famous University of Florida Women's Golf Lady Gators during the 2009-2010 season.

This was announced recently by University of Florida Women's Golf coach Jill Briles-Hinton who said Piccio signed up together with Megan Pak of Brandenton, Florida.

"We really have a phenomenal class," Briles Hinton said. "Both girls are from the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at the IMG Academy. They possess a remarkable golf game and I truly believe that they will be a great addition to the Lady Gators golf program."

Piccio is currently ranked No. 22 in the Class of 2009, as per the GolfWeek. She has collected four first place finishes in the last two years, including back-to-back individual titles at the Future Collegians World Tour World Woods Rolling Oaks Open. She finished the 2007-08 seasons on the FCWT in sixth place.

Piccio also took home top honors at the American Junior Golf Association's Preseason Medicus at Callaway Garden and at the Burgett Money Jr. Rome Classic. According to the AJCA, the Negrense is ranked 18th in the Class of 2009.

"Mia has the drive to be the very best," the 2008 SEC Coach of the Year said. "Her brother is an Olympic athlete from the Philippines and she has the same aspirations. She is a fierce competitor, a great athlete and an even better student. I am confident that she can make an immediate impact on our team."

Piccio's brother is former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and Olympic swimmer Carlo Piccio.

Piccio's scheduled homecoming trip for the holidays might be delayed, her mother Gina told Sun.Star Bacolod Tuesday, since her daughter is slated to participate in a special LPGA event that will include two promising top amateur golfers.

Meanwhile, Pak, the other amateur who has signed up with the Florida Gators along with Piccio, is currently ranked No. 33 in GolfWeek's Class of 2009. She has played in many tournaments on the FCWT and has claimed seven top-10 finishes in 2007-08. Her best finish came in 2007 when she took home third place honors at the AJGA Jerry Pate/Andrews Institute Southern Junior.

Like Piccio, Pak joins the Gators from IMG Academy, which also counts current Gator golfer Andrea Watts (Bradenton, Fla.) as an alumna.

The 2008-09 Gators return to action for their spring season on Feb. 9-11, 2009 at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, California.

Piccio is a leading candidate for top honors in the yearend SCOOP Awards for Outstanding Negros Athletes of the Sports Communicators Organization of the Philippines-Bacolod, headed by George Liza. (HCV)

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