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Sunday February 17, 2008Men's Golf In Sixth-Place Tie After Day 1 Of John Hayt Invitational

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.

The ninth-ranked University of Florida men’s golf team sits in a tie for sixth place after posting an 8-over-par total of 296 on the first day of the John Hayt Invitational on Sunday at the Sawgrass Country Club.  

 

The Gators’ 296 puts them with two other groups in sixth place, including tournament host North Florida and Georgia State. No team posted red figures on Sunday as No. 2 Alabama holds the 18-hole lead with a 2-over 290. No. 10 Tennessee is one shot back at 3-over 291, and Pepperdine is in third place at 6-over 294.

“We didn’t have a particularly good day, but we didn’t play our way out of the golf tournament,” said UF head coach Buddy Alexander. “We’re still in it. If we can shoot a good round tomorrow, we can have a shot on Tuesday. We picked up a few strokes on the last holes because we were playing downwind.”

 

Senior Tyler Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) and junior Will Strickler (Charlottesville, Va.) each fired 1-under scores of 71 on Sunday to earn a share of fourth place on the individual leaderboard. Both sit within two strokes of the lead held by Georgia State’s Joel Sjoholm, who tallied a 3-under 69. Twenty-four individuals are within five shots of the lead.

 

Brown, who is a regular at the Sawgrass Country Club, started his round on the right note with a birdie three at the first followed by another birdie at the par-5 fourth. Back-to-back bogeys on five and six moved him back to even on the front nine. However, Brown responded with a 1-under 35 on the back nine after rolling in a birdie four on the par-5 11th.

“He played solidly,” said Alexander. “He feels comfortable here, and hopefully, he will continue to play well. That is what I was hoping for.”

 

Strickler, playing as an individual, carried the momentum of his final two rounds last weekend into Sunday’s play. The junior carded his third straight round under par highlighted by an eagle three at the par-5 eighth. Strickler played his first five holes on the back nine at 2-under with birdies on 11 and 13. He closed three straight pars for a back-nine score of 35.

“I was proud of Will Strickler,” said Alexander. “He had a nice day as an individual out there.”

 

Senior Manuel Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) and freshman Bank Vongvanij (Bradenton, Fla.) each carded 2-over 74s to claim a tie for 24th place. Villegas was even-par through 13 holes but took bogey fives on 13 and 16 to finish with a pair of 37s.

 

Vongvanij played the most impressive back nine of his career on Sunday. After posting a 5-over 41 on the front nine, the freshman responded with four birdies in his last nine holes to close with a 3-under 33. Vongvanij held the lowest back-nine total with Sjoholm out of the 81 players in the field.

“I was proud of Bank,” said Alexander. “He had a nice stretch there where he birdied three or four of his last holes.”

Junior Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) tallied a 5-over 77 for a tie for 49th, and sophomore Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) finished with an 11-over 83 to sit in 77th place.

Round two begins at 8 a.m. ET Monday. Live scoring is available via www.golfstat.com.

 

Team Scores Through Round One

Place

School

Score

1.

Alabama

290 (+2)

2.

Tennessee

291 (+3)

3.

Pepperdine

294 (+6)

T4.

UCLA

295 (+7)

T4.

Charlotte  

295 (+7)

T6.

Florida  

296 (+8)

T6.

North Florida  

296 (+8)

T6.

Georgia State  

296 (+8)

9.

South Carolina  

301 (+12)

10.

UAB  

301 (+13)

T11.

Indiana  

302 (+14)

T11.

Vanderbilt

302 (+14)

T13.

UCF  

306 (+18)

T13.

Notre Dame

306 (+18)

T13.

Coastal Carolina 

306 (+18)

 

Individual Top 5 Through Round One

Place

Player (School)

Score

1.

Joel Sjoholm (Georgia State)

69 (-3)

T2.

Jason Kang (UCLA)

70 (-2)

T2.

Michael O’Neal (North Florida)

70 (-2)

T4.

Tyler Brown (Florida)

71 (-1)

T4.

Will Strickler (Florida-I)

71 (-1)

T4.

Eric Shriver (Pepperdine)

71 (-1)

T4.

Joseph Skykora (Alabama)

71 (-1)

 

Florida Results Through Round One

Place

Player

Score

T4.

Tyler Brown

71 (-1)

T4.

Will Strickler (Individual)

71 (-1)

T24.

Manuel Villegas

74 (+2)

T24.

Bank Vongvanij

74 (+2)

T49.

Billy Horschel

77 (+5)

T77.

Tyson Alexander  

83 (+11)

 

 

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