Sunday February 2, 2014Gators Begin Spring at the Sea Best Invitational
Returning to tournament play for the first time since October, the Gator men’s golf squad will tee-off the 2014 season at the Sea Best Invitational at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra on Monday.
Florida won back-to-back titles at the invitational in 2011 and 2012 but did not compete there last spring. Former Gator and current Web.com Tour member, T.J. Vogel, claimed individual medalist honors with a first place finish after shooting even par (216) in 2012. The Gators finished +20 (884) to claim the tournament crown.
In 2011, the Orange and Blue shot an impressive 6-under (858) as current Asian Tour member Bank Vongvanij took first place after firing rounds of 69-69-73 (211) to land at five-under. Four of the five Gators who competed finished inside the top-10 as Florida won the tournament by 25 strokes.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was built in 1982 and is the permanent home of the PGA Tour’s THE PLAYERS Championship. In 2012, Golf Digest ranked the course ninth overall among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.”
Course Information: THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a par-72, 6,977 yard course.
Tournament Information: The tournament will run from Feb. 3-4 and is hosted by Jacksonville University.
Format: 54-hole stroke play where teams will play 36 holes on Monday and play the final 18 on Tuesday.
Monday’s First Round – 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday’s Final Round – 8:00 a.m.
· Junior J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, Fla.) led the Gators on the green all fall, including back-to-back top-10 finishes at Shoal Creek and the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate. Tomlinson’s T3 placing at Shoal Creek was a career-best for the junior who shot a career-low round of 68. Tomlinson concluded the fall leading the Orange and Blue with a 72.58 scoring average.
· Freshman Ryan Orr (Belleair, Fla.) One of two freshmen to compete in every tournament in the fall, Orr finished with the team’s second-best scoring average (74.92). Orr had two top-20 finishes in the fall, earning a T17 spot in the last two events for Florida.
· Freshman Victor Tarnstrom (Nykvarn, Sweden) also competed in every fall tournament for the Gators, recording his best finish at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate (T12). Tarnstrom fired a second-round 69 to finish one-under (215). Tarnstrom finished the fall with 27 birdies, a team-best mark shared with Tomlinson.
· Redshirt Junior Santiago Gavino (San Luis Potosi, Mexico) will compete for Florida in the five-man lineup for the first time this season. Gavino participated in two fall events as an individual on each occasion.
· Sophomore Richard Donegan (Okeechobee, Fla.) makes his debut on the course donning the Orange and Blue. Donegan transferred from Florida Atlantic University where he earned two individual medalist crowns for the Owls last spring, taking first place honors at the Rice University Intercollegiate and the Harmony Preserve Intercollegiate. Donegan fired a tournament-low 66 in the second round at Rice.
Buddy’s Bite: “We’re excited to play. It’s the first time since October and our guys have worked hard over the winter. I’m expecting good results. We have some advantages over the other teams competing and, being in Florida, we have the advantage of the weather as well. We can benefit from that and with a lot of hard work hopefully parlay that into a good finish.”
Eyeing the Competition: Florida will face conference rivals Tennessee and No. 7 Texas A&M at the Sea Best Invitational along with in-state foes Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville and North Florida.
The Field (Golf World/Nike Golf Division I Coaches’ Poll):
East Tennessee State
Florida Gulf Coast
Texas A&M (7)
Follow the Gators: Play will begin tomorrow as the field tees off at 8:30 a.m. Live scoring will be available on GolfStat.com. A complete recap with full results will be posted on GatorZone.com following the day’s play.