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Junior Manuel Villegas carded a career-best 68 (-3) at Inverness Country Club on Tuesday.

Tuesday September 12, 2006Men?s Golf Climbs One Spot, Finishes Third At Inverness Invitational

Toledo, OH

Junior Manuel Villegas carded a career-best 68 (-3) at Inverness Country Club on Tuesday.

The University of Florida men’s golf team used a career-best and final-round low score of 68 (-3) from junior Manuel Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) on Tuesday to make a late run at the Inverness Invitational, finishing third with a team score of 900 (+48). The Gators, who entered the day tied for fourth, finished four strokes behind winner Southern California’s mark of 896 (+44). UF’s final-round 294 also tied the Trojans for the lowest team total of the day.

 

“We played well today and it showed because we were in the mix to win the golf tournament,” Florida head coach Buddy Alexander said. “We have three freshmen who just got great experience in seeing what it’s like to try to win a college tournament. This will certainly help us down the road.”

 

Villegas leaves Ohio with his first career runner-up finish and two personal bests to his credit, recording a personal tournament standard of 218 in addition to his career-low round of 68. He got off to a quick start on Tuesday, starting on the sixth hole and collecting three birdies on his front nine. After making the turn at -2 on the day, he rolled in back-to-back birdies on the par-four 18th and first holes to drop to -4 for the round. He went on to bogey the third hole, then played par golf the rest of the way to secure one of only two under-par rounds of the tournament’s final day. Villegas birdied nine of the 54 holes he played at Inverness, more than any other UF player.

 

The second-place showing is the first collegiate top-10 finish for Villegas, and his highest since tying for 27th at the 2005 SunTrust Gator Invitational. The three-under performance is the second round at par or better in his career, and the first since a second-round 70 (-1) at the 2004 NCAA Preview.  

 

“That was fun to see,” Alexander said. “He was able to get off to a decent start and hang on through the difficult holes. He worked hard on his golf swing this summer, and this could be the start of something big for Manny.”

 

Sophomore Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) picked up the 10th top-10 finish of his young career, wrapping up the tournament with a score of 223 (+10) after a final-round three-over 74. He produced eight birdies in the two days and played an even clip on the par-fives.

 

After his second-consecutive round of 75, freshman Tim McKenney (Scottsdale, Ariz.) turned in the best finish of the three Gator rookies in the lineup, a 37th-place tie with a score 232 (+19). He had a solid day on Tuesday, recording pars on his first 13 holes. Classmates Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) and Andres Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia) finished in a tie for 43rd (234, +21) after final rounds of 79 and 77, respectively.

 

“There were a lot of quality teams in this field, and we were able to beat some of the really good ones,” Alexander said. “We were in the mix, but we weren’t able to get this one. We know we won’t win them all, but the fact that we were there in the end is a positive experience for us.”

 

Florida will return to action on Friday, Sept. 15, as they head to Dalton, Ga., for the Carpet Capital Collegiate, hosted by Georgia Tech at The Farm. Check gatorzone.com for results and daily recaps.

 

Final Team Scores

 

Place

School

Scores

1.

Southern California

303-299-294 = 896 (+44)

2.

TCU

295-299-305 = 899 (+47)

3.

FLORIDA

303-303-294 = 900 (+48)

4.

Coastal Carolina

299-303-299 = 901 (+49)

5.

Georgia

305-301-298 = 904 (+52)

6.

UNLV

312-299-295 = 906 (+54)

7.

Texas A&M

309-299-306 = 914 (+62)

8.

Kent State

306-307-309 = 922 (+70)

9.

Florida State

308-310-305 = 923 (+71)

10.

Nebraska

311-305-308 = 924 (+72)

11.

Michigan State

319-306-304 = 929 (+77)

12.

Toledo

302-311-318 = 931 (+79)

T13.

Illinois

316-309-307 = 932 (+80)

T13.

Virginia Tech

318-308-306 = 932 (+80)

15.

New Mexico

313-325-315 = 953 (+101)

 

Individual Top-10

 

Place

Player

Score

1.

Jon McLean (TCU)

69-72-73 = 214 (+1)

2.

MANUEL VILLEGAS (FLORIDA)

74-76-68 = 218 (+5)

3.

Jamie Lovemark (Southern California)

72-75-72 = 219 (+6)

4.

Dustin Johnson (Coastal Carolina)

76-73-71 = 220 (+7)

5.

Tom Glissmeyer (Southern California)

74-74-73 = 221 (+8)

T6.

BILLY HORSCHEL (FLORIDA)

75-74-74 = 223 (+10)

T6.

Ryan Kenney (UNLV)

74-74-75 = 223 (+10)

8.

Jarred Texter (UNLV)

78-76-70 = 224 (+11)

T9.

Ryan Brehm (Michigan State)

80-69-76 = 225 (+12)

T9.

Zack Byrd (Coastal Carolina)

76-77-72 = 225 (+12)

T9.

Mark Ogren (Illinois)

77-74-74 = 225 (+12)

T9.

Brady Schnell (Nebraska)

80-70-75 = 225 (+12)

T9.

Brendan Todd (Georgia)

75-79-71 = 225 (+12)

 

Florida Results

 

Place

Player

Score

2.

MANUEL VILLEGAS

74-76-68 = 218 (+5)

T6.

BILLY HORSCHEL

75-74-74 = 223 (+10)

T37.

Tim McKenney

82-75-75 = 232 (+19)

T43.

Tyson Alexander

77-78-79 = 234 (+21)

T43.

Andres Echavarria

77-80-77 = 234 (+21)

 

 

 

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