Typically, the coming of spring means a fresh start — out with the old and in with the new.
For the 12th-ranked Florida Gators men’s golf team and head coach J.C. Deacon, however, spring means sustaining their fall success.
Although the Gators took a step back in the final round of the Sea Best Invitational at Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach on Tuesday, their lead grew, blowing away the competition to finish with the lowest score in the eight-year history of the Sea Best Invitational.
"I’m just so proud and happy for the guys," Deacon said in a release.
"It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of early mornings, a lot of sacrifice, and they came out and were unbelievable this week."
It was never close for the Gators’ competition. Despite finishing the final round with a 3-over-par 283, UF posted a 14-under-par total of 826 in the 54-hole event. The nearest competitors — Liberty, Arkansas and No. 6 North Carolina — were dominated by the Gators.
With a final score of 9-over-par 549, Liberty finished in second — a whopping 23 shots behind the Gators. Arkansas and North Carolina tied for third with a 54-hole score of 18-over-par 858.
Individually, Florida placed four players in the top four: Sam Horsfield, Alejandro Tosti, Jorge Garcia and Ryan Orr.
UF freshman Horsfield, who finished in first place, and sophomore Tosti, who finished in second, began the final round at 7 under par — one shot back of North Carolina’s Joshua Martin.
Martin would bogey his first hole — a 558-yard par-5.
Things wouldn’t get any easier for the freshman.
He would go on to bogey four more holes en-route to a birdie-less, 5-over-par 75, giving him sole possession of third place at 3 under.
Like Martin, Tosti would also struggle.
He recorded two double bogeys in his final round, including one on his first hole, on his way to a 3-over-par 73, finishing in second place alone at 4 under.
However, the day would reign supreme for Horsfield, whose even-par 70 (7-under total) gave him his first collegiate victory.
Freshman Garcia’s 1-over 71 and junior Orr’s even-par 70 rounded out UF’s top-four scorers, as both finished tied for fourth place at 1 under par.
The Gators will look to win their third event in a row as they return to action to host the SunTrust Gator Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville on Feb. 20-21.
"It was a great day," Horsfield said. "We’ve been working our butts off this whole winter, and the results showed this week."