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Senior Camilo Benedetti claimed the second SEC title of his career Sunday.

Sunday April 21, 2002Men's Golf Takes Runner-up Honors at SEC's

Sea Island, Ga.

Senior Camilo Benedetti claimed the second SEC title of his career Sunday.

The No. 4 University of Florida men's golf team won the second place spot at the 2002 Southeastern Conference Championships hosted at the Sea Island Golf Club on Sunday. Florida did capture individual medalist honors in senior Camilo Benedetti (Medellin, Colombia).

Benedetti's win is his first for the season and the third of his career. He also won the individual SEC title as a freshman in 1999. He became the 17th Gator to capture SEC medalist honors, the most by any one school. The senior from Medellin, Colombia, carded the best round of the day with a final-round two-under-par 68 to finish at even-par 210. Georgia’s Ryan Hybl finished second at one-over-par, one stroke off the lead.

The No. 12 Auburn Tigers won the title, the third in the program's history. The Tigers had four golfers finish in the top 12 of the 60-man field. Junior Jay Mundy led the way with a two-over-par 212, followed by Will Claxton’s 213, Lee Williams’ 214 and Kevin Haefner’s 218. Florida looked to make a run on Auburn in the final round, but ran out of holes as the scored 286, to post a three-round total of 24-over 864.

Two other Gators scored in the top-15 of the field. The current No. 1 ranked Camilo Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) tied for fifth after a double bogey on his final hole gave him a 75 for Sunday's final round and a tournament total of 4-over 214. After two redshirt seasons, junior Dalton Melnyk (Jacksonville, Fla.) made a strong impression at his first SEC's finishing tied for 12th, carding an 8-over 218.

The final UF golfers of the lineup were junior-transfer Ari Savolainen (Helsinki, Finland) and senior Ben Banks (Surrey, England) Savolainen scored 78 in his final round to finish tied for 46 with 19-over 229 while Banks improved shooting 71 to finish tied for 50th at 20-over 230.

"We are a little disappointed," head coach Buddy Alexander said. "I think we were coming into this tournament thinking that we were going to win. I have to say congratulations to that Auburn team, they played well and deserved that title. Also a big congratulations to Camilo Benedetti, he really stepped up and I am proud of him. As a team we were just a little too careless. He wasted too many strokes and struggled to make our putts, which was the big problem. Overall, we have a few things to look at and I hope that we can come out and fair a little better in the remainder of this post-season."

While the SEC Championships marks the beginning of the post-season, the Gators will play one more regular-season tournament after a two-week break. Florida will travel back to Georgia where they will play in the Atlanta Intercollegiate at the Eagles Landing Country Club on May 9-10. Following the tournament will be the NCAA Regional on May 16-18 also hosted in Atlanta, Ga. at Settindown Creek.

Agate

2002 SEC Championships

Final Results

Sea Island Golf Course

Par: 70

Yardage: 6,788

Team Standings

1 Auburn 285-282-290--857 (+17)

2 Florida 284-294-286--864 (+24)

3 Georgia 298-284-284--866 (+26)

4 LSU 292-286-296--874 (+34)

Vanderbilt 294-291-289--874 (+34)

6 Arkansas 290-299-289--878 (+38)

7 Tennessee 296-285-300--881 (+41)

8 Kentucky 296-303-288--887 (+47)

9 Alabama 305-289-298--892 (+52)

10 Ole Miss 298-300-298--896 (+56)

South Carolina 302-289-305--896 (+56)

12 Mississippi State 306-301-303--910 (+70)

Florida Scores

1. Camilo Benedetti 70-72-68--210 (E)

T5. Villegas, Camilo, UF 68-70-76--214 (+4)

T12. Melnyk, Dalton, UF 73-74-71--218 (+8)

T46. Savolainen, Ari, UF 73-78-78--229 (+19)

T50. Banks, Ben, UF 79-80-71--230 (+20)

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