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Senior Camilo Benedetti took the lead for the Gators moving into the top-10 at the NCAA's Thursday.

Thursday May 30, 2002Men's Golf Slips at NCAA Tournament

Columbus, Ohio

Senior Camilo Benedetti took the lead for the Gators moving into the top-10 at the NCAA's Thursday.

For the second consecutive day the field at the NCAA Championships hosted at Ohio State was forced to leave the course when severe rainstorms suspended play. Unlike yesterday’s first round however, the teams were able to retake the field and complete round two at the Ohio State Scarlet (par 71 – 7,141 yards). The No. 4 University of Florida Gators slipped from seventh into eighth with a 2-over 286 Thursday.

Play was interrupted at 4:45 p.m. (EST), but not before favorites Georgia Tech and Clemson could finish their round tied for the lead. The Yellowjackets shared the lead with Illinois after the first round, but the Tigers carded a blistering 7-under 277 while the Illini shot 12-over to drop to T16. Washington’s Brock Mackenzie holds sole possession of the individual lead with his 7-under 135.

Although Florida slipped from their first-day place they made a big comeback on the day after dropping as low as 22nd at one point. The Gators scored 16 birdies, 11 of which were on the back nine. The veteran and 2002 Southeastern Conference champion Camilo Benedetti (Medellin, Colombia) took the reigns Thursday posting a 3-under 68 scoring five birdies. He is tied for seventh with his 4-under 138.

Junior transfer Ari Savolainen (Helsinki, Finland) lost the stellar control he had over the course from yesterday finishing with 1-over 72. Savolainen finished the first round 2-under and has now dropped to T23. He set a course record with his second round 66 when UF played in the Preview back in September.

No. 2 ranked Camilo Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) also found difficulty finding his groove, unable to get on the minus side on his scorecard. Villegas came on strong on the back nine, hitting three birdies to move from 3-over and finish 1-over 72. He is currently tied for 32nd with an even 142.

"We had a very poor front nine, but did a nice job on the back nine," head coach Buddy Alexander said. "Benedetti played great and was a big part of that incredible comeback. These guys wrestled strong on the back nine. The field is very condensed and we are right in the middle of it. All we need is a few putts to fall and we could get there. If we can get something going, this should be a fun weekend."

Only seven of the thirty teams finished under par Thursday. Although Clemson’s stunning day moved them into first, the best round goes to Texas who tallied 9-under par to catapult themselves into a tie for fourth place. The Illini’s 12-over was the most disastrous of the day not only being the worst score and losing the tie for the lead, but also outside of the 15-team cut which means they will fail to advance into Friday’s play.

At last year's championships, the Gators claimed the fourth national title in school history after opening the tournament in 13th, 16 shots from the lead. They ended up scoring a school record 1126, 18 strokes over runner-up Clemson, the third largest margin of victory since the tournament went to four-round play.

NCAA Championships

May 29-June 1

Ohio State Scarlet

(Par 71 – 7,141 yards)

Round 2 Scores

Team Standings

Pl. Team Scores

1 Clemson 286 277 563 -5

Georgia Tech 277 286 563 -5

3 Toledo 283 281 564 -4

4 North Carolina 282 284 566 -2

TCU 283 283 566 -2

Texas 291 275 566 -2

7 N.C. State 286 281 567 -3

8 Florida 283 286 569 +1

9 Tulsa 281 289 570 +2

Washington 279 291 570 +2

11 Purdue 284 287 571 +3

Virginia Tech 291 280 571 +3

13 Arizona 282 290 572 +4

Augusta State 289 283 572 +4

Pepperdine 284 288 572 +4

Florida Scores

T7 Camilo Benedetti 70 68 138 -4

T23 Ari Savolainen 69 72 142 -1

T36 Camilo Villegas 70 72 142 E

T132 Dalton Melnyk 75 74 149 +7

T138 Jordan Code 74 76 150 +8

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