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Friday April 18, 2008No. 7 UF Men's Golf Opens SEC Championship In Second-Place Tie

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -

Junior All-American Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) carded a 1-under 71 on Friday as the seventh-ranked University of Florida men’s golf team opened the 2008 Southeastern Conference Championship in a second-place tie at the Frederica Golf Club.

The Gators shot a 2-over-par 290 and share second place with No. 2 Georgia. Florida held the lead for a portion of the day, but top-ranked Alabama closed round one in impressive fashion and finished at 3-under 285, five shots better than second place. LSU is in fourth at 4-over 292, and Mississippi State is in fifth following a 5-over 293.

“We didn’t finish like we wanted to, but I thought we put ourselves in a good position,” UF head coach Buddy Alexander said. “Tyson (Alexander) got off to a good start and everyone fed off that. We dropped some shots coming in, but we got off to a solid start.”

The par-72, 7,331-yard Frederica Golf Club yielded only one team round under par. Windy conditions combined with undulating greens served as an obstacle for low scores at the course that is playing host to its first SEC Championship.

“The golf course did a good job identifying the best teams,” Alexander said. “It is a long course with very difficult greens. It is exactly what we thought it was going to be. It is in fabulous shape, and we consider it an honor to play here.”

Horschel returned to championship form with his 1-under round that put him in a four-way tie for fourth place. Alabama’s Joseph Sykora is the clubhouse leader following a 4-under 68. Ole Miss’ Jesse Speirs and Alabama’s Michael Thompson, the nation’s No. 2 player, share second place with 2-under 70s.

“Billy played well today,” Alexander said. “He had a chance to be close to the lead. He was patient, and I was proud of how he played.”

 

Horschel fired an even-par front nine before turning it on by playing his next six holes at 3-under, which included back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12. He dropped two shots with bogeys on holes 16 and 17 and finished his back nine at 1-under.

Senior Manuel Villegas’ (Medellin, Colombia) even-par round of 72 was highlighted by an eagle-three on the par-5 15th. Villegas, who is in eighth place with eight other players, added a birdie and three bogeys to his round.  

Sophomore Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) got off to a stellar start that saw him hold sole possession of the lead at one point during the day. Alexander birdied two of his first three holes and rolled in a birdie on the par-3 eighth to cap a 3-under front nine that featured no bogeys. He played his final nine holes at 4-over and sits in a tie for 17th place following a 1-over 73.

 

Senior Tyler Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) opened with a 2-over 74 and is tied for 24th. Brown registered three bogeys on his front nine but managed a pair of birdies to finish his back nine at 1-under. Junior Toby Ragland (Jacksonville, Fla.) is in a tie for 58th position following a round of 80 (+8).

 

Second round action gets underway at 8 a.m. ET. Florida, Alabama and Georgia are in the final pairings that begin at 10:30 a.m. ET. Live scoring is available at www.Gatorzone.com and www.Golfstat.com.

 

Team Scores After Round 1

Place

School

Score

1.

Alabama

285 (-3)  

T2.

Florida

290 (+2)      

T2.

Georgia  

290 (+2)       

4.

LSU   

292 (+4)     

5.

Mississippi State  

293 (+5)       

6.

South Carolina     

294 (+6)      

7.

Tennessee   

296 (+8)       

T8.

Ole Miss

298 (+10)       

T8.

Kentucky    

298 (+10)       

10.

Vanderbilt

300 (+12)       

11.

Auburn  

301 (+13)      

12.

Arkansas  

308 (+20)       

 

Individual Top 10 Through Round 1 

Place

Player (School)

Score

1.

Joseph Sykora (Alabama)  

68 (-4)   

T2.

Jesse Speirs (Ole Miss)     

70 (-2)     

T2.

Michael Thompson (Alabama)     

70 (-2)     

T4.

Billy Horschel (Florida)        

71 (-1)    

T4.

Brian Harman (Georgia)     

71 (-1)    

T4.

Noah Goldman (Mississippi State)

71 (-1)   

T4.

John Peterson (LSU)   

71 (-1)   

T8.

Manuel Villegas (Florida)  

72 (E)   

T8.

8 other players   

72 (E)   

 

Florida Results After Round 1

Place

Player

Score

T4.

Billy Horschel     

71 (-1)     

T8.

Manuel Villegas  

72 (E)  

T17.

Tyson Alexander       

73 (+1)      

T24.

Tyler Brown     

74 (+2)       

T58.

Toby Ragland     

80 (+8)    

 

 

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