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Thursday May 15, 2008No. 6 UF Men's Golf In Contention At NCAA Central Regional

COLUMBUS, Ohio

Sophomore Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) shot an even-par 71 to lead the sixth-ranked University of Florida men’s golf team into fourth place on the opening day of play at the NCAA Central Regional on Thursday at the Ohio State Scarlet Course.

 

“I am not surprised where we are at because we have been solid all year,” UF head coach Buddy Alexander said. “Of course, we would like to win the golf tournament, but for the first round, we are in pretty good shape. Hopefully, we can keep doing that same solid play.”

The fourth-seeded Gators are just four shots back of the lead after firing a first-round 294 (+10). No. 19 Wake Forest holds a two-stroke advantage on No. 1 Alabama following a 6-over 290. The Crimson Tide tallied an 8-over 292, and No. 6 Oklahoma State is in third place at 9-over 293.

The top 10 teams following Saturday’s final round advance to the NCAA Championships. A total of five shots separate third place from a tie for ninth place. No. 13 Tennessee is three shots off the qualifying pace. No. 8 Georgia Tech, the regional’s third seed, is in a tie for 21st after an opening 23-over 297.

The Central Regional proved to be the toughest among the three sites on Thursday with the scoring average of the 141 players at 76.54. While Wake Forest’s 6-over round leads in Columbus, 13 teams are under par at the NCAA East Regional, and North Carolina leads the NCAA West Regional under par.

“This was a tough golf course today, and that is why I liked it,” Alexander said. “It does a nice job in separating the field. The longer the race, the more likely the best will come to the top. For that reason, Ohio State is a good place for us because I don’t think there is any question that we are one of the best teams up here. It works to our advantage.”

Florida opened its round off of the No. 10 tee in the afternoon wave of tee times. Alexander shot 2-over on his first nine scorecard, and he was 3-over heading into his final four holes. However, the sophomore surged to within even par with three straight birdies on holes six, seven and eight. His final stretch put him in a four-way tie for seventh place at even par. Alexander was making his first NCAA regional appearance.

“It was a good day for Tyson,” Alexander said of his son. “He did some good stuff. He did not bogey a par-4 or a par-5. He three-putted his 14th hole of the day and was 3-over at that point. Then he made three birdies in a row immediately following that, so that was a nice bounce back on his part.”

Wake Forest’s Brendan Gielow, who tied for ninth at the SunTrust Gator Invitational, sits atop the leaderboard with the only sub-70 score of the day. Gielow’s 2-under 69 is one shot better than a handful of talented players at 1-under 70.

 

Junior Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) sits in a tie for 17th place following a 2-over 73. Horschel carded four birdies on the day but counted six bogeys en route to nines of 2-over and even par. Horschel, who is only four shots back of the pace, is seeking his third straight individual medal honor at a regional.

“Billy kind of had a wild ride in that he bogeyed the first two holes then had a birdie,” Alexander said. “He looked like he was going to get it going, but then he made two bogeys in a row again.”

 

Senior Manuel Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) carded a 3-over 74 and is among 14 players in a tie for 24th place. Villegas rolled in three birdies on the day, played his front nine at even par but suffered three bogeys and a double bogey in his final seven holes. Junior Will Strickler (Charlottesville, Va.) and senior Tyler Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) share 55th place after opening-round 76s.

Florida will be in the Friday morning session of tee times that get underway at 8:18 a.m. ET. The Gators will once again be paired with Lamar and Tennessee. Live tournament scoring can be followed at www.Golfstat.com and www.Gatorzone.com.

 

Team Scores After Round 1

Place

School

Score

1.

Wake Forest

290 (+6)    

2.

Alabama  

292 (+8)        

3.

Oklahoma State

293 (+9)  

4.

Florida  

294 (+10)       

5.

Eastern Michigan  

297 (+13)         

T6.

Texas A&M      

298 (+14)        

T6.

Illinois   

298 (+14)         

T6.

Michigan

298 (+14)         

T9.

Lamar      

299 (+15)         

T9.

Ohio State   

299 (+15)         

11.

Indiana   

300 (+16)        

T12.

Louisville   

301 (+17)         

T12.

Tennessee

301 (+17)

T12.

Colorado

301 (+17)

T15.

Eastern Kentucky

302 (+18)

T15.

TCU

302 (+18)

T15.

Kent State

302 (+18)

T15.

Wichita State

302 (+18)

T19.

Arkansas

304 (+20)

T19.

Penn State 

304 (+20)

T21.

Baylor

307 (+23)

T21.

Georgia Tech

307 (+23)

23.

Texas Arlington

308 (+24)

24.

Cleveland State

313 (+29)

25.

Marquette

314 (+30)

26.

Sacred Heart

316 (+32)

27.

Loyola College

318 (+34)

 

Individual Top 10 Through Round 1 

Place

Player (School)

Score

1.

Brendan Gielow (Wake Forest)   

69 (-2)

T2.

Alexander Sitompul (Michigan)       

70 (-1)       

T2.

Graham Hill (Eastern Michigan)       

70 (-1)       

T2.

Mark Harrell (Alabama)          

70 (-1)      

T2.

Kevin Tway (Oklahoma State)       

70 (-1)      

T2.

Charles Ford (Tennessee)

70 (-1)     

T7.

Tyson Alexander (Florida)     

71 (E)     

T7.

3 players   

71 (E)     

 

Florida Results After Round 1

Place

Player

Score

T7.

Tyson Alexander       

71 (E)       

T17.

Billy Horschel    

73 (+2)    

T24.

Manuel Villegas         

74 (+3)        

T55.

Will Strickler       

76 (+5)         

T55.

Tyler Brown      

76 (+5)      

 

 

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