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Reshirt junior Dalton Melnyk was the low scoring Gator at his first NCAA Championships Friday.

Friday May 31, 2002Men's Golf Struggles on Back Nine at NCAA's

Columbus, Ohio

Reshirt junior Dalton Melnyk was the low scoring Gator at his first NCAA Championships Friday.

The 2002 NCAA Championships concluded uninterrupted was interrupted for a third consecutive round Friday at the Ohio State Scarlet (par 70 – 7,141 yards) in Columbus, Ohio. Increment weather not only suspened play during the day but played havoc with the teams, with one of the 30 finishing under par in the third round. The University of Florida Gators overcame their front nine difficulties from earlier in the week, but was unable to finish strong finishing 8-over slipping to T11.

No. 1 Georgia Tech continues to hold the first place spot despite its third round 6-over score. Like Illinois before them, the Clemson Tigers lost their co-champion place Friday, after their 14-over dropped them to 13th. Tulsa slipped into second after tallying the second lowest score of the day with and even 284.

No. 1 ranked Graeme McDowell from UAB stole the individual top spot adding a second consecutive 67 to give him 8-under 205 for the tournament. Washington’s Brock Mackenzie moved to third when he added a 1-over 72 putting him at 6-under 207.

Florida continued to cycle through the lineup for the lead scorer as again a different face was the low UF golfer. Redshirt junior Dalton Melnyk (Jacksonville, Fla.), playing in his first-ever NCAA Championships, led the Gators Friday carding an even 71. Melnyk posted five birdies and despite two double bogeys scored his best round of the weekend. He jumped from T132 to T89.

Continuing to be the top Gator in the field, senior Camilo Benedetti (Medellin, Colombia) is tied for 13th after a 2-over 73 moved him up to 2-under 211 total. Junior transfer Ari Savolainen (Helsinki, Finland) moved back to T37 with his 2-over 215.

"We’re hanging in there," head coach Buddy Alexander said. "We had a wasted opportunity today. We played really well in the morning and then had some problems on the back nine. We still have an opportunity to do something special, but we will need something heroic. We are still in this and tomorrow’s final round should be interesting."

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.

The tournament will conclude Saturday. A cut of the field is not required and will only be made if weather mandates that play would not be able to finish in the fourth and final day. Teams will tee off beginning at 7 a.m. For further information on the Gator men’s golf team and live scoring for the tournament check out www.gatorzone.com.

NCAA Championships

May 29-June 1

Ohio State Scarlet

(Par 71 – 7,141 yards)

Round 3

Team Standings

Pl. Team Scores

1 Georgia Tech 277 286 290 853 +1

2 Tulsa 281 289 284 854 +2

3 Washington 279 291 285 855 +3

4 Minnesota 284 289 283 856 +4

Texas 291 275 290 856 +4

6 North Carolina 282 284 292 858 +6

Pepperdine 284 288 286 858 +6

Toledo 283 281 294 858 +6

9 North Carolina State 286 281 292 859 +7

TCU 283 283 293 859 +7

11 Arizona 282 290 288 860 +8

Florida 283 286 291 860 +8

13 Clemson 286 277 298 861 +9

14 Augusta State 289 283 290 862 +10

15 Purdue 284 287 293 864 +12

Florida Scores

T13 Camilo Benedetti 70 68 73 211 –2

T37 Ari Savolainen 69 72 74 215 +2

T51 Camilo Villegas 70 72 74 216 +3

T89 Dalton Melnyk 75 74 71 220 +7

T119 Jordan Code 74 76 73 223 +10

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