Monday February 2, 2009Men's golf takes the title at Golden Ocala
The 12th-ranked University of Florida men’s golf team turned in a solid performance on Monday despite the rainy conditions. In the 36-hole event, the Gators shot 558 (-18) to finish 26 strokes ahead of second-place North Florida.
“I was very proud of our guys today,” said head coach Buddy Alexander. “They played pretty well under some very difficult conditions. It was nice to see the guys at the back-end of the lineup step up.”
Senior Will Strickler (Charlottesville, Va.) shot six-under par 138 for the tournament for his first-ever collegiate win. Junior Tim McKenney (Scottsdale, Az.) finished second, one stroke behind Strickler.
The morning round started off solid for Florida, with McKenney posting the first score of the day at four-under par 68. Strickler came into the clubhouse and matched McKenney’s score, shooting five birdies on the front nine on his way to a 68 (-4).
Senior Toby Ragland (Jacksonville, Fl.) shot even-par on his first 10 holes, then birdied three of his next four and finished at two-under par 70. Junior Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fl.) was two-under par through his first 11 holes, but dropped a few strokes on the back nine to card a 73 (+1).
Senior Billy Horschel (Grant, Fl.), playing atop the Gators lineup, sank four birdies on his way to a one-under par 71. Newcomer Max Kieffer (Germany) had a rough start to his first round of collegiate golf, bogeying his first three holes, but he didn’t let the damage get any worse and finished the morning at three-over par 75.
Heading into the second round, the Gators were 11-under par as a team and held a 15-stroke advantage over second-place Florida Gulf Coast. The momentum carried on, as McKenney shot a one-under par 71 to finish with a two-round total of 139 (-5).
Strickler had five birdies and an eagle in the second round to beat out McKenney with a two-under par 70 and take home the individual medalist honors.
“I have to congratulate Will for winning his first collegiate event,” said Coach Alexander. “He’s worked hard and it’s nice to see him get a reward like this.”
Ragland shot a second-round 71 to finish at three-under par 141 for the tournament, while Alexander had the best scorecard in the afternoon with a three-under par 69. Ragland finished in a tie for third and Alexander’s two-round total of 142 (-2) was good enough for a share of fifth place.
Horschel carded an even-par 72 in the second round and finished seventh, Kieffer shot a 73 to finish at four-over par 148 in 15th place.
“It’s a nice way to start,” said Alexander. “We’ve got to get to a point where we can play with this much confidence against teams that are confident they can beat us.”
Florida will be back in action on Feb. 14-15 in Gainesville when they host the SunTrust Gator Invitational at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Two rounds will be played on Saturday, with the final round played on Sunday. Fourteen teams will be competing in the event, as the Gators look to defend their title in the event.
1. Florida 277-281=558 (-18)
2. North Florida 295-289=584 (+8)
3. Florida Gulf Coast 292-297=589 (+13)
4. Jacksonville Univ. 298-296=594 (+18)
5. South Florida 305-311=616 (+40)
1. Will Strickler, Florida 68-70=138 (-6)
2. Tim McKenney, Florida 68-71=139 (-5)
T3. Kyle Hammond, FL Gulf Coast 70-71=141 (-3)
T3. Toby Ragland, Florida 70-71=141 (-3)
T5. Tyson Alexander, Florida 73-69=142 (-2)
T5. *Christian Martin, Jacksonville 72-70=142 (-2)
7. Billy Horschel, Florida 71-72=143 (-1)
8. Jordan Gibb, North Florida 73-72=145 (+1)
T9. Robby Carl, USF 72-74=146 (+2)
T9. Joe Byun, North Florida 75-71=146 (+2)
1. Will Strickler 68-70=138 (-6)
2. Tim McKenney 68-71=139 (-5)
T3. Toby Ragland 70-71=141 (-3)
T5. Tyson Alexander 73-69=142 (-2)
7. Billy Horschel 71-72=143 (-1)
15. *Max Kieffer 75-73=148 (+4)
*=played as an individual