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Monday October 2, 2006Men?s Golf Two Strokes Off Of The Lead After Round One Of The Preview

Gainesville, FL

On the strength of a first-round 68 (-2) from freshman Tim McKenney (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the No. 5 University of Florida men’s golf team got off to a strong start at the PING/Golfweek Preview Invitational, finishing the day in third place with a team score of 281 (+1). That performance places the Gators just two strokes behind Georgia (279, -1) for the tournament lead at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club’s par-70, 6,809-yard Gold Course.

 

“We got off to a solid start, which is what I’m beginning to envision from this group,” Florida head coach Buddy Alexander said. “We’re young, we’re inexperienced and we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve got a pretty good group here. It’s starting to come together, and that’s what you saw out there today.”

 

McKenney, competing in just his second collegiate tournament, got his round off to a solid start, playing the first five holes at even par before birdies on six and nine sent him into the turn at two under. He played an even back nine, making up for a bogey on 12 with a birdie on the par-four 18th hole, to complete his first collegiate round below par and position himself in a fourth-place tie at the conclusion of the first round. Overall, McKenney carded four birdies on the day and tied for the tournament lead in par-four scoring with a three-under clip.

 

Sophomore Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) also had a strong day for the Gators, turning in an even-par 70 on Tuesday and heading to the clubhouse tied for 12th. He opened his round with a birdie on the par-four first before falling back to even par through five holes. Horschel managed a birdie on the sixth hole to make the turn at one-under, and played eight of the final nine holes at even par, but double-bogeyed the 12th and finished the day at one-over.

 

Junior Manuel Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) also found himself in the top-20 after a one-over 71 on the first day of The Preview. Despite bogeys on two of his first three holes on Tuesday, he made the turn at one-over, then made that score stick with an even-par 35 on the back half. Villegas’ five birdies on the day tie him four others for the tournament lead; heading into the tournament, he led the Gators with 22 birdies on the season.

 

In his second collegiate start, freshman Andres Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia) posted a two-over 72 on Tuesday to conclude the round in a tie for 28th. He played the par-threes at a tournament-best two-under in the opening round. Sophomore Toby Ragland (Jacksonville, Fla.) saw his string of three-consecutive rounds under par come to an end with a six-over 76 to round out the Florida lineup.

 

The field will play 18 holes, beginning on at 8 a.m., on Tuesday, before finishing up with the final 18 at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Live scoring can be found at www.golfstat.com and via www.gatorzone.com.

 

Team Scores Through Round One

 

Place

School

Scores

1.

Georgia

279 (-1)

2.

Texas A&M

280 (E)

3.

FLORIDA

281 (+1)

4.

Oklahoma State

282 (+2)

5.

UNLV

283 (+3)

6.

Lamar

285 (+5)

T7.

Arizona State

287 (+7)

T7.

BYU

287 (+7)

9.

Georgia Tech

288 (+8)

T10.

Clemson

290 (+10)

T10.

Minnesota

290 (+10)

12.

Kentucky

292 (+12)

13.

VCU

294 (+14)

14.

Wake Forest

295 (+15)

15.

Washington

288 (+18)

 

Individual Top-10 Through Round One

 

Place

Player

Score

T1.

Robert Gates (Texas A&M)

67 (-3)

T1.

Niklas Lemke (Arizona State)

67 (-3)

T1.

Pablo Martin (Oklahoma State)

67 (-3)

T4.

CJ Gatto (UNLV)

68 (-2)

T4.

Chris Kirk (Georgia)

68 (-2)

T4.

Bronson LaCassie (Minnesota)

68 (-2)

T4.

TIM McKENNEY (FLORIDA)

68 (-2)

T8.

Oliver Bekker (Lamar)

69 (-1)

T8.

Bronson Burgoon (Texas A&M)

69 (-1)

T8.

Brian Harman (Georgia)

69 (-1)

T8.

Ben Martin (Clemson)

69 (-1)

 

Florida Results Through Round One

 

Place

Player

Score

T4.

Tim McKenney

68 (-2)

T12.

Billy Horschel

70 (E)

T17.

Manuel Villegas

71 (+1)

T28.

Andres Echavarria

72 (+2)

T56.

Toby Ragland

76 (+6)

 

 

 

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