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Thursday April 19, 2012Gators Look to Defend Title at SEC Championship

St. Simon’s Island, Ga.

Coming off a 6th place finish at the Gary Koch Invitational, the University of Florida men’s golf team will kick off its postseason play on Friday, April 20, by looking to defend its title at the 2012 SEC Championships at the Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga.

 

“We’re excited to go play,” said Gator head coach Buddy Alexander. “We got off to a rough start but we’re starting to play more consistent. We haven’t put it all together yet but we’ve still been competitive which I think is a good sign.” 

 

The Gators will bring a lineup of juniors T.J. Vogel (Cooper City, Fla.) and Tyler McCumber (Ponte Vedra, Fla.), freshmen J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, Fla.) and Eric Banks (Truro, Canada) and senior Michael Furci (Sayville, N.Y.) to the par-70, 6,898 yard Seaside Course. McCumber is the only Gator in the lineup with prior SEC Championship experience.

 

As in years past, this year’s SEC Championship features a strong field including six teams, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and LSU, that are in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Additionally, the field at Sea Island features four of the top-20 golfers in the country according to Golfweek/Sagarin.

 

UF has won 15 SEC team titles in its history, good for second most among SEC teams, while Gator golfers have taken home medalist honors on an SEC best 22 occasions.

 

At last season’s SEC Championship, the Orange and Blue walked away with the team title after firing a three round total of 848 (+8). For the tournament, the Gators were led by individual medalist Andres Echavarria who finished the tournament in one-under 209. Phillip Choi and Bank Vongvanij also finished in the top-5 for the Orange and Blue carding scores of 210 (E) and 211 (+1), respectively.

 

“We aren’t the favorites by any means this year so we should be pretty loose,” Alexander explained. “If we can go out there with a nothing-to-lose attitude and get in the hunt on the back nine on Sunday anything can happen.”

 

Live scoring for the 54-hole event, which runs Friday through Sunday, will be available through GolfStat and the SEC Championship Home Page.

 

Tournament Field (Golfweek/Sagarin rankings in parentheses)

Alabama (2)

Arkansas (9)

Auburn (4)

Florida (23)

Georgia (26)

Kentucky

LSU (17)

Ole Miss

Mississippi State

South Carolina

Tennessee

Vanderbilt

 

Golfweek/Sagarin Top-20 Golfers in the Field

4. Justin Thomas (Alabama)

5. T.J. Vogel (Florida)

8. Blayne Barber (Auburn)

20. Cory Whitsett (Alabama)

 

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