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Junior Ari Savolainen was one of two Gators to lead UF to finish fourth in Georgia.

Sunday March 24, 2002Men's Golf Finishes Tied Fourth in Georgia

Statesboro, Ga.

Junior Ari Savolainen was one of two Gators to lead UF to finish fourth in Georgia.

The No. 5 University of Florida menís golf team moved up from seventh to finish fourth at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational hosted by Georgia Southern at the Forest Heights Country Club. Florida finished at 8-over 872, just six strokes from the lead.

Augusta State held off a final-round charge from Wake Forest to win their first title in the tournamentís history. The overnight leader at seven-under-par, Augusta posted a final round of eight-over 296, good for a one-stroke victory over Wake, who trailed by four entering Sundayís play. ASU led throughout the final round, although the Demon Deacons pulled to within one shot of the lead coming down the final stretch. North Carolina State, the only team to shoot even par during Sundayís sunny but breezy conditions, jumped from ninth place to third with a final round of even-par 288.

Augusta Stateís Michael Webb and Oliver Wilson paced the Jaguars to the tournament title with a pair of two-under par finishes, good for a tie for third. Jay Haas, Jr.ís tie for 12th gave ASU three top-20 finishes in the tournament, the fourth Schenkel to be played since the rebirth of the event in 1999.

N.C. Stateís Justin Walters claimed medalist honors by firing a final round of five-under 67 -- the low round of the tournament -- for a three-round total of nine-under 207. Georgiaís Bryant Odom finished five shots back at 212, while Webb and Wilson tied for third. Two Gators jumped up the field to tie for fifth. Junior Ari Savolainen (Helsinki, Finland) and sophomore Camilo Villegas (Mendellin, Colombia) tied with Clemsonís D.J. Trahan -- the overnight individual leader -- for fifth at one-over 215. Trahan shot morning and afternoon rounds of 69 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into Sunday.

Villegas shaved four strokes from the mirror image 73ís that he shot in the first two rounds and Savolainen added a 70 for his lowest round of the tournament. Together they combined for nine birdies in the final day.

Senior Camilo Benedetti (Mendellin, Colombia) slipped Sunday after collecting five bogies and one double bogey to finish with five-over 77, totaling 221 for T29 on the tournament. Improving his place, redshirt-junior Dalton Melnyk (Jacksonville, Fla.) moved from 48th to tie for 43rd with eight-over 224. Senior Ben Banks (Surrey, England) closed out the UF lineup finishing with a score of 226 to tie for 53rd.

In its fourth season as the Schenkel E-Z-GO Invitational, the tournament showcased 10 of the top 20 players in the country, making it arguably the strongest field of any collegiate tournament in the U.S. The tournament featured nine of the top 21 teams in the nation including Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida and Tennessee. The quartet is ranked No. 2-No. 5 in the country.

Two-time defending Schenkel champion Georgia is among the schools competing in the Schenkel, named after former ABC sportscaster Chris Schenkel. UGA won the last two tournaments and was the runner-up in 1999, the year the tourney was reinstated with the sponsorship of E-Z-GO after a 10-year absence.

Next-up for the Gators will be a return trip to Georgia when the will compete in the Augusta State/Cleveland Golf Invitational also hosted at the Forest Heights Country Club. The tournament was added to the schedule in October when UF was forced to reschedule when the Inverness Intercollegiate was cancelled due to the tragic events of September 11. The tournament will run from April 6-7.

Agate

Pl. Team Scores

1 Augusta State U. 284 285 296 865

2 Wake Forest Univ. 288 285 294 867

3 North Carolina State 294 289 288 871

4 Florida, U. of 292 289 291 872

5 Georgia, U. of 294 286 294 874

6 Clemson 286 293 297 876

Duke University 286 293 297 876

8 Louisiana State U. 293 289 296 878

9 Tennessee, Univ. of 292 288 300 880

10 Georgia Southern U. 291 295 299 885

11 Washington, U. of 301 288 297 886

12 East Tennessee St. 294 294 300 888

13 Auburn University 293 299 301 893

14 North Carolina, U of 298 298 301 897

15 South Carolina 305 296 300 901

Florida Finishes

T5 Camilo Villegas 73 73 69 215

T5 Ari Savolainen 74 71 70 215

T39 Camilo Benedetti 71 73 77 221

T43 Dalton Melnyk 74 75 75 224

T53 Ben Banks 76 72 78 226

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