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Junior Jordan Code is leading the Gators in his first ever NCAA apperance.

Thursday May 16, 2002Men's Golf Struggles in First Day at Regional

Roswell, Ga.

Junior Jordan Code is leading the Gators in his first ever NCAA apperance.

The No. 4 University of Florida men's golf team had a difficult first round at the NCAA East Regional hosted by Georgia Tech at the Settindown Creek Golf Club (par 72 - 7,119 yards) Thursday. Florida will enter round two tied for 12th place.

Clemson junior D.J. Trahan shot a 3-under-par 69 Thursday, and his No. 2-ranked Tigers posted a 2-under-par team score of 286 to take a five-shot lead over top-ranked Georgia Tech after the opening round of the NCAA East Regional Golf Championship.

The tournament, being contested at Ansley Golf Club's Settindown Creek, a 7,119-yard, par-72 layout, was played under near-perfect weather conditions Thursday. Clemson was the only team to break par, and only 11 players among the 141 in the field shot in red figures.

For the second time this year, junior Jordan Code (Tampa, Fla.) leads the Gators. Code finished tied for 31st, shooting 2-over 74. He posted three birdies with only three bogies, despite a tough double-bogey on 18.

The largest difficulty of the day was met by the UF one and two players, sophomore Camilo Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) and senior Camilo Benedetti (Medellin, Colombia). The only two Gators to be ranked in the top-50, they are tied at 46th having shot 3-over 75. Villegas hit a 10-shot on a par-4 hole and added another triple bogey just five holes later. Not to be defeated the current No. 1 golfer in the country tallied six birdies to keep from completely losing the field.

Redshirt-junior Dalton Melnyk (Jacksonville, Fla.) had a strongly consistent first round, tallying even-par scores on every hole through 13. Playing in his first post-season tournament like Code, Melnyk had only two bogies and one double bogey by the end of the round to put himself in a tie for 67th with his 4-over 76. Completing the UF line-up, junior transfer Ari Savolainen (Helsinki, Finland) is tied for 81st shooting 5-over 77.

While it was a tough day for Florida, all is not lost. Eight strokes is all that separates the highest Gator score from the leader and just 14 strokes as a team. The Gators were 16 strokes from the lead after the first day of the NCAA Championships last year where they pulled a phenomenal comeback to win the title.

Tee times for UF are set for an early start of 7:12 a.m. on Friday starting from the 10th tee. Only the top 10 team of and two individuals not on those teams will advance to the championships at Ohio State starting on May 29. The East Regional field showcases six of the top 10 teams in the country, with four of the top five.

Team Leaders

1 Clemson 286 -2

2 Georgia Tech 291 +3

3 Tennessee 294 +6

T4 North Carolina 295 +7

T4 Penn State 295 +7

T6 Auburn 299 +11

T6 Augusta State 299 +11

T6 Furman 299 +11

T6 Georgia Southern 299 +11

T6 North Florida 299 +11

T6 Wake Forest 299 +11

T12 Florida 300 +12

T12 Georgia 300 +12

T14 South Carolina 301 +13

T14 UAB 301 +13

Florida Scores

T31 Jordan Code 74

T46 Camilo Benedetti 75

T46 Camilo Villegas 75

T67 Dalton Melnyk 76

T81 Ari Savolainen 77

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