Alejandro Tosti

Alejandro Tosti hits a shot during the day one of the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 18, 2017, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

Charles Hatcher / Alligator Staff

As the 2017-18 campaign began on Friday for the Florida men’s golf team, the expectation for senior Alejandro Tosti, the defending SEC champion, was to be nothing short of exceptional.

Tosti, a senior from Rosario, Argentina, looked the part this weekend as he soared to a tournament-best score of 11 under at the Carpet Capital Invitational in Dalton, Georgia, claiming the year’s first individual victory on Sunday.

A strong performance from Tosti in the season-opening tournament did not go unnoticed by fourth-year head coach J.C. Deacon, who said the golfer’s outing was impressive and showed improvement.

“Coming off of a summer that did not live up to Alejandro’s high standards, he has come back to school more focused and dedicated than I’ve ever seen him,” Deacon said in a release.

“His sensational performance this week was a product of hard work, discipline and greatly improved emotional control. Every area of his game was at an elite level this week.”

Although he was the only Gator golfer to finish below par this weekend, his victory was enough to put the Gators in a tie for fifth place overall with Tennessee.

Florida sat in first place of the competition after Day 2, but dropped four strokes on Sunday in the final round of action.

In order for the Gators to improve moving forward, they’ll need more consistent performances from members of the team beyond Tosti.

Chris Nido and Jorge Garcia finished the tournament tied for 34th place at 4 over, Gordon Neale finished tied for 41st place at 5 over and John Axelsen finished tied for 48th place at 7 over.

While the Gators ultimately finished behind Georgia Tech, Alabama, Auburn and LSU, they did manage to do so while starting two true freshmen in the 18-year-old Nido and 19-year-old Axelsen.

“This is definitely one of the stronger fields of the fall season in college golf,” Deacon said.

“Ale’s win goes to show you how truly special of a player he can be.”

You can follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter at @TylerNettuno, or contact him at [email protected].