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Saturday February 9, 2008Florida Men's Golf Holds Commanding Lead At SunTrust Gator Invitational

Gainesville, FL

Junior All-American Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) and freshman Bank Vongvanij (Bradenton, Fla.) fired five-under 36-hole scores of 135 on Saturday to guide the 12th-ranked University of Florida men’s golf team to a commanding 12-shot lead at the SunTrust Gator Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course. The Gators tallied an 18-under total of 542 after rounds of 269 and 273.

 

“This team has worked very hard in January,” said UF head coach Buddy Alexander. “I am prouder of that than their play today because I think a lot of the reason we played well today is their hard work. Obviously, my golf team plays this course a lot and they are very comfortable here. It feels really good to play a good round and have a semi-comfortable lead.”

Florida State sits in second place at 554 (-6) followed by UAB in third at 556 (-4), Ole Miss in fourth at 561 (+1) and LSU in fifth at 562 (+2).

 

LSU freshman Andrew Loupe sits atop the individual leaderboard after posting a first-round 68 and a tournament-low 65 in his second round for a seven-under total of 133. Florida State’s Jonas Blixtz is one back at six-under par (134) followed by a slew of players at three-under (135), including Horschel and Vongvanij.

The Gators aim for their fifth straight Gator Invitational title on Sunday in the final round that gets underway at 8 a.m. ET. The final pairing of Horschel, Blixtz and UAB’s Mark Sucher tees off of the first hole at 10:06 a.m. ET. Florida’s tee times begin at 9:30 a.m. ET and follow in nine-minute intervals. Admission is free. Live scoring can be found at
www.golfstat.com and via www.gatorzone.com.

Ideal scoring conditions welcomed the 14 teams on Saturday, which reflected the tournament’s lowest scores since the Mark Bostick Golf Course underwent a renovation in 2001.

 

“I think the weather was the main factor in the scoring today,” said Alexander. “These guys are pretty good, and you give them ideal conditions, and there is a good chance that we shoot pretty well. When the weather is this good, our guys are going to shoot par or better most of the time.”


The Gators’ total of 542 represents the second-lowest 36-hole total in the 31-year history of the Gator Invitational. Seven of eight Florida golfers posted red figures, and three Gators sit within at least three shots of the lead. Florida’s first-round 269 tied for the fourth-lowest round in school history by score and ranked as the third- lowest first-round tally in program history.

Horschel played his first eight holes of the first round at even par before he turned it on with birdies in four of his next eight holes. He gave a stroke back at hole one and finished with a 3-under total of 67. The two-time All-American carried the momentum into his second round, which featured back-to-back birdies on holes six and seven. He finished with a 68 and sits two shots back of Loupe heading into Sunday’s final round.  

Vongvanij, playing as an individual, posted a career-best 36-round score of 135 (-5), eclipsing his previous-best mark of 141. He registered a 68 in the first round followed by a career-low 67 in the second round. Vongvanij closed with birdies on two of his last three holes.  

 

Sophomore Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) also posted career-best numbers on Sunday. His career-low 36-hole total of 136 (-4) put him in a four-way tie for sixth place. Alexander was the clubhouse leader after a first-round 66 (-4), and he followed that tally with an even-par 70 in round two. The 66 bested his previous career-low by two strokes and represented the fourth-lowest total by any UF sophomore in school history.

 

Alexander carded three birdies on his first-round front nine and increased his advantage with an eagle two on the par-four 17th. 

 

Senior Toby Ragland (Jacksonville, Fla.) fired a pair of 68s for a four-under total of 136 as well. Senior Tyler Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) and defending champion Manuel Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) are in a four-way tie for 11th place. Brown posted scores of 68 and 70 for a two-under-par tally of 138, while Villegas posted scores of 67 and 71.

 

Sophomore Tim McKenney (Scottsdale, Ariz.), playing as an individual, is tied for 15th after a one-under 139. Junior Will Strickler (Charlottesville, Va.), Florida’s No. 2 starter, sits in a tie for 27th place after posting a one-over 141.

 

Team Scores Through Round Two (Day 1)

Place

School

Score

1.

Florida

269-273 = 542 (-18)

2.

Florida State

278-276 = 554 (-6)

3.

UAB

276-280 = 556 (-4)

4.

Ole Miss

280-281 = 561 (+1)

5.

LSU

283-279 = 562 (+2)

6.

Mississippi State

288-275 = 563 (+3)

7.

South Alabama

283-282 = 565 (+5)

T8.

Wake Forest

288-278 = 566 (+6)

T8.

Coastal Carolina

283-283 = 566 (+6)

10.

Georgia Southern

287-282 = 569 (+9)

T11.

Duke

289-281 = 570 (+10)

T11.

North Florida

284-286 = 570 (+10)

13.

Georgia State

290-290 = 580 (+20)

14.

South Florida

291-294 = 585 (+25)

 

Individual Top 10 Through Round Two (Day 1)

Place

Player (School)

Score

1.

Andrew Loupe (LSU)

68-65 = 133 (-7)

2.

Jonas Blixt (Florida State)

67-67 = 134 (-6)

T3.

Billy Horschel (Florida)

67-68 = 135 (-5)

T3.

Zach Sucher (UAB)

68-67 = 135 (-5)

T3.

Bank Vongvanij (Florida-I)

68-67 = 135 (-5)

T6.

Tyson Alexander (Florida)

66-70 = 136 (-4)

T6.

Tripp McAlister (Coastal Carolina)

68-68 = 136 (-4)

T6.

Toby Ragland (Florida)

69-67 = 136 (-4)

T6.

Michael Schachner (Duke)

68-68 = 136 (-4)

10.

Johnny Caldwell (South Alabama)

68-69 = 137 (-3)

 

Florida Results Through Round Two (Day 1)

Place

Player

Score

T3.

Billy Horschel

67-68 = 135 (-5)

T3.

Bank Vongvanij (Individual)

68-67 = 135 (-5)

T6.

Tyson Alexander

66-70 = 136 (-4)

T6.

Toby Ragland

69-67 = 136 (-4)

T11.

Manuel Villegas

68-71 = 138 (-2)

T11.

Tyler Brown (Individual)

68-70 = 138 (-2)

T15.

Tim McKenney (Individual)

67-72 = 139 (-1)

T27.

Will Strickler

73-68 = 141 (+1)

 

 

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