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Sophomore Billy Horschel is just two strokes off the pace after the first round in Las Vegas.

Friday March 9, 2007Men's Golf In The Hunt At Southern Highlands

Las Vegas, NV

Sophomore Billy Horschel is just two strokes off the pace after the first round in Las Vegas.

Sophomore Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) fired a three-under 69 on Friday, pacing the University of Florida men’s golf team to a fifth-place standing after the first round of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship. UF shot 291 (+3) as a team in the opening round, and sits one stroke in front of sixth-place Minnesota as the fifth through ninth places in the field are separated by just three strokes.

 

“Not a great day, but we played solidly enough to put ourselves in contention,” Florida head coach Buddy Alexander said. “There were a few bumps along the way, but we were able to pick up a few strokes during the middle of the round. We’re still in the golf tournament, and that’s all that counts.”

 

Horschel played bogey-free golf over the first 18 holes of the tournament, while birdying three holes in the first round. He entered red numbers on the par-four seventh, and went further below par with fours on holes 13 and 18, both par-fives. His opening-round 69 positioned him in a tie for fifth place, just two strokes behind leader Martin Piller of Texas A&M. He is the second Gator in as many outings to post a first-round 69, as fellow sophomore Toby Ragland (Jacksonville, Fla.) did so at the Puerto Rico Classic on Feb. 25.

 

“Billy’s fast start is important for both him and the team,” Alexander said. “He really kept us in the mix today, and it gave him some confidence that he can get off to a strong start. It’s something that he’s had a little trouble with, so I was happy to get that kind of a round from him.”

 

Ragland and freshman Andres Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia) both found themselves at one over at the conclusion of play on Friday after carding first-round scores of 73. Echavarria rebounded from a double bogey on the par-three 12th to birdie two of his last three holes, while Ragland was one of three Gators to birdie the 13th hole on Friday. The duo will enter the second round in a 12-player tie for 21st place.

 

UF got a first-round 76 (+4) from junior Manuel Villegas (Medellin, Colombia), who brought his round home at a one-over clip of 37 behind back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th. Freshman Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) rounded out the Florida lineup with a six-over 78 on Friday. The pair stand in a 53rd-place tie and a deadlock for 70th, respectively, after the first round of play.

 

“We had a few problems bringing our rounds home, but it’s early in the tournament.” Alexander said. “We need to be a little more consistent from here on out. This is a tough field, and we’re still in the thing despite not having our best stuff, so that’s a positive for us.”

 

Competition will resume at Southern Highlands Golf Club at 11 a.m. EST on Saturday. UCLA claimed the 18-hole lead with a first-round score of 282 (-6), while Piller jumped out to the individual lead with a 67 (-5) on Friday. Live scoring is available at www.golfstat.com, and can be accessed via www.gatorzone.com.

 

Team Scores Through Round One

 

Place

School

Score

1.

UCLA

282 (-6)

2.

Georgia

285 (-3)

3.

Georgia Tech

286 (-2)

4.

Arizona State

290 (+2)

5.

FLORIDA

291 (+3)

6.

Minnesota

292 (+4)

T7.

Arizona

293 (+5)

T7.

Texas A&M

293 (+5)

9.

Kentucky

294 (+6)

10.

Oklahoma State

295 (+7)

11.

Wake Forest

296 (+8)

12.

Clemson

297 (+9)

13.

Texas

298 (+10)

14.

Washington

299 (+11)

15.

UNLV

302 (+14)

 

Individual Top-10 Through Round One

 

Place

Player

Score

1.

Martin Piller (Texas A&M)

67 (-5)

T2.

Kevin Chappell (UCLA)

68 (-4)

T2.

Chris Kirk (Georgia)

68 (-4)

T2.

Brendon Todd (Georgia)

68 (-4)

T5.

BILLY HORSCHEL (FLORIDA)

69 (-3)

T5.

Lucas Lee (UCLA)

69 (-3)

T7.

Roberto Castro (Georgia Tech)

70 (-2)

T7.

Alex Volpenhein (Kentucky)

70 (-2)

T9.

Daniel Im (UCLA)

71 (-1)

T9.

Bronson LaCassie (Minnesota)

71 (-1)

T9.

Kevin Larsen (Georgia Tech)

71 (-1)

T9.

Trent Leon (Oklahoma State)

71 (-1)

T9.

Jace Moore (Texas)

71 (-1)

T9.

Pete Oriol (Arizona)

71 (-1)

 

Florida Results Through Round One

 

Place

Player

Score

T5.

Billy Horschel

69 (-3)

T21.

Andres Echavarria

73 (+1)

T21.

Toby Ragland

73 (+1)

T53.

Manuel Villegas

76 (+4)

T70.

Tyson Alexander

78 (+6)

 

 

 

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