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Sunday March 16, 2008No. 10/12 Men's Golf Takes Runner-Up Honors At Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational

STATESBORO, Ga.

Three University of Florida men’s golfers tallied top-10 individual finishes as the No. 10/12 Gators concluded the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational with runner-up honors on Sunday at Forest Heights Country Club.

UF shot a final-round 287 and finished at 8-under 856, seven shots behind No. 1 Alabama. The Crimson Tide cruised to another victory behind a final-round 284 that left them at 15-under 849 overall. The Gators overtook South Carolina for second place as the Gamecocks dropped to 5-under for the tournament with a 292 on Sunday. Tennessee took fourth place at 1-over 865.

 

“We had a pretty good start today and this is progress,” UF head coach Buddy Alexander said. “This is a whole lot better than the last two (tournaments). We had an opportunity to get a feel for what we have. Obviously, this Alabama team is pretty good. They haven’t lost this semester. I think we are making some progress, and hopefully, (we) can gain some momentum from this. That would be huge.”

 

South Carolina’s George Bryan IV captured individual medal honors with a final-round 69. Bryan’s 8-under 208 score edged Alabama’s Michael Thompson, the nation’s No. 2 player, by one stroke. Thompson finished at 7-under overall, and Georgia Southern’s Logan Blondell was third at 6-under 210.

 

Alabama had two individuals place in the top five, but Florida was the only school to have three players earn top-10 finishes. The second-place showing was the Gators’ best finish at a road tournament this season and lowest overall on the road since tying for second at the 2007 NCAA East Regional.

Junior Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.), who held a share of the lead entering the final round, closed with an even-par 72 to tie for fourth. Horschel’s 5-under 211 gave him his third top-five finish of the year and eighth of his career.

The All-American was within striking distance for his first individual medal of the season at 7-under, but he carded consecutive bogeys in his final two holes of the day at the par-4 17th and par-5 18th. Horschel posted a 1-over front nine and gained momentum with back-to-back birdies to start the back nine. He managed another birdie on the par-3 13th and finished with 12 birdies on the weekend.

Senior Manuel Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) finished in a three-way tie for sixth place after a 73 left him at 4-under 212. Villegas, who was also in contention on Saturday, struggled with four bogeys in his final round. He played his first four holes at 4-over before dropping birdies on the par-4 fifth and the par-3 sixth. For Villegas, it was his second top-10 finish of the season and fifth of his career.

Senior Tyler Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) continued his steady play to collect a share of ninth place with a final-round 72. Brown, who finished at 2-under 214, has carded two top-10 finishes in his three starts this spring. The senior erupted for three birdies on his front nine and played his first eight holes at 3-under, before giving a stroke back on the par-5 ninth. He shot a 2-over 38 on the back nine.

Junior Will Strickler (Charlottesville, Va.) managed the low UF round of the day with a 1-under 71. Strickler played his first nine holes at 1-over, but turned in a brilliant back nine with birdies on holes 10 and 12 followed by six straight pars. Strickler’s 6-over 222 advanced him nearly 20 places to a tie for 44th.

Sophomore Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) posted his low round of the tournament with an even-par 72 on Sunday. Alexander managed four birdies on the day and tallied a 1-under front nine.

Florida will compete in its third tournament in as many weeks beginning next Sunday. The Gators travel for the first time to the Hootie at Bulls Bay Invitational, March 23-25, in Charleston, S.C.

Final Team Scores

Place

School

Score

1.

Alabama  

285-280-284=849 (-15)

2.

Florida  

290-279-287=856 (-8)  

3.

South Carolina

286-281-292=859 (-5)  

4.

Tennessee

282-289-294=865 (+1)  

T5.

Georgia Southern

301-288-281=870 (-6)  

T5.

UAB  

286-289-295=870 (+6)   

7.

LSU

287-291-293=871 (+7)   

8.

Kentucky      

294-289-294=877 (+13)

9.

North Florida   

303-291-287=881 (+17)  

10.

North Carolina       

298-290-297=885 (+21)   

11.

Augusta State    

295-291-300=886 (+22)  

T12.

Auburn  

296-291-301=888 (+24)  

T12.

Notre Dame      

297-294-297=888 (+24)   

14.

Michigan State

295-296-299=890 (+26)   

15.

Minnesota    

305-286-300=891 (+27)  

16.

North Carolina State  

296-296-300=892 (+28)   

17.

New Mexico     

304-294-303=901 (+37)   

18.

Boston College   

318-305-314=937 (+73)   

 

Final Individual Top 10

Place

Player (School)

Score

1.

George Bryan IV (South Carolina)

73-66-69=208 (-8)   

2.

Michael Thompson (Alabama)   

69-71-69=209 (-7)   

3.

Logan Blondell (Georgia Southern)   

73-69-68=210 (-6)    

T4.

Billy Horschel (Florida)   

72-67-72=211 (-5)  

T4.

Matthew Swan (Alabama)     

71-68-72=211 (-5)  

T6.

Manuel Villegas (Florida)     

72-67-73=212 (-4)   

T6.

Brad Smith (UAB)      

70-69-73=212 (-4)  

T6.

Josh Sandman (Notre Dame)    

73-71-68=212 (-4)  

T9.

Tyler Brown (Florida)   

70-72-72=214 (-2)  

T9.

Michael O’Neal (North Florida)     

72-72-70=214 (-2)  

T9.

Kevin O’Connell (North Carolina)

74-68-72=214 (-2)

 

Final Florida Results

Place

Player

Score

T4.

Billy Horschel      

72-67-72=211 (-5) 

T6.

Manuel Villegas    

72-67-73=212 (-4)  

T9.

Tyler Brown    

70-72-72=214 (-2) 

T44.

Will Strickler     

78-73-71=222 (+6)

T51.

Tyson Alexander    

76-75-72=223 (+7)  

 

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