Friday February 14, 2014Florida Hosts 36th Annual SunTrust Gator Invitational
With one spring competition under their belt, the Florida men’s golf team is set to host the 2014 SunTrust Gator Invitational, their only home tournament of the season, this weekend at the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida.
Over the tournament’s 36-year history, the Gators have dominated the event, capturing 23 team titles and 10 medalist honors including eight consecutive team titles from 2004-11.
Florida finished fourth last year (+11, 851) as Florida State took the event crown with a 15 stroke cushion. In 2012, the Orange and Blue rolled off a third place finish, shooting a final score of 865 and checking in 17 strokes off tournament winner Auburn.
In 2011, Florida won the SunTrust Gator Invitational with an 844 (+4) as three Gators took the top spots. Andres Echavarria, Bank Vongvanij and Phillip Choi all shot even par (210) to finish atop the leaderboard for UF.
Course Information: The Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida is a par-70, 6,701 yard course.
Tournament Information: The tournament will run from Feb. 15-16 and is hosted by Florida.
Format: 54-hole stroke play where teams will play 36 holes on Saturday and play the final 18 on Sunday.
Saturday’s First Round – 8:00 a.m. shotgun
Sunday’s Final Round – 8:00 a.m.
· Junior Eric Banks (Truro, Canada) will make his spring debut for Florida at the SunTrust Gator Invitational. Banks shot a career-low tournament score of 211 in last year’s Gator Invitational, finishing T10 after shooting a 68 in round three.
· Junior J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, Fla.) finished T17 in last year’s home tournament, carding rounds of 69-72-72 to finish with a final score of 213 (+3). Tomlinson was the second-highest finishing Gator at Sea Best on Feb. 4, coming in at T31 (231).
· Senior Billy Anderson (DeLand, Fla.) will make his first appearance in a tournament this season for Florida. Anderson competed in just two events for the Gators last year, including the 2013 SunTrust Gator Invitational, where he shot a low-round 71.
· Freshman Ryan Orr (Belleair, Fla.) is one of just two Gators to compete in every tournament this year. Orr has a current scoring average of 75.47, the second-best mark on the team, and will be looking to make an impression in his first home tournament.
· Redshirt Freshman Conor Richardson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) earned his second five-man lineup spot of his career for the Gators, after competing in the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational in September. Richardson shot rounds of 79-78-79 at Olympia and will play his first competitive rounds at the Mark Bostick Golf Course tomorrow.
· Redshirt Junior Santiago Gavino (San Luis Potosi, Mexico) will compete as an individual for the third time this year for the Orange and Blue. Gavino shot a career-low round of 67 in last year’s SunTrust Gator Invitational, where he finished T12 (212), his career-best tournament score.
· Sophomore Richard Donegan (Okeechobee, Fla.) was the highest finishing Gator in his Florida debut at the Sea Best Invitational on Feb.4, checking in at T24. Donegan notched rounds of 73-78-77 (228) at THE PLAYERS course at TPC Sawgrass. Donegan will compete as individual for the Gators this weekend.
Buddy’s Bite: “Every year we have our Gator Invitational and it’s our only chance we have all season to play at home. So, the kids are pretty excited about that. This year’s field is actually better than recent years… There’s a lot of very, very solid teams so we’re excited about playing. The golf course is in pretty good shape and it will give us a chance to play on a golf course that we are very familiar with.”
“We've had some growing pains. They (the players) haven't turned the corner; they haven't quite grasped what we're trying to get them to understand about playing golf. But at home, maybe we'll have a better chance to do that. Hopefully we can gain a little confidence from a good showing this weekend.”
Eyeing the Competition: This year’s field features five ranked opponents, including in-state foes No. 8 UCF and No. 22 Florida State along with SEC rivals No. 21 Vanderbilt and No. 23 Arkansas.
The Field (Golf World/Nike Golf Division I Coaches’ Poll):
College of Charleston
Florida State (22)
Follow the Gators: Play will begin tomorrow as the field tees off at 8:00 a.m. Live scoring will be available on GolfStat.com along with updates via the Florida Golf Twitter account. A complete recap with full results will be posted on GatorZone.com following the day’s play.