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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The UF's men's golf team improved upon an unspectacular first round to record its second top-ten finish of the season at this weekend's PING/Golfweek Preview Invitational in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The No. 5 Gators shot a combined 25-over (303-291-295 = 889) for the three-day, 54-hole event held at the par-72 Kampen Course at Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, 22 strokes behind first-place Charlotte.

UF finished eighth in a strong field of 15 that included six top-ten teams, including Southeastern Conference rival No. 2 Alabama, who claimed fourth. The Gators also got a glimpse of a course they hope to see again, as the Kampen Course will serve as the site of the NCAA Championships in May.

Sophomore Tyson Alexander led the Gators at six-over for the tournament, firing a two-under 70 dotted by seven birdies in his final round, including three straight to open his day, to tie for 23rd, thirteen strokes back of individual champion Stefan Wiedergruen of Charlotte.

Senior Manuel Villegas, the only other Gator to play in all three tournaments this fall, finished at eight-over with a 224 (76-74-76) for a share of 34th. He still holds the Gators' lowest stroke average for the season at 72.89.

A few debuts marked the weekend as well. Junior two-time All-American Billy Horschel played his first tournament with the squad, sandwiching a stellar Saturday afternoon 69 between a pair of 77s and winding up at seven-over and tied for 29th. Horschel's 69 was UF's lone sub-70 round of the weekend.

Junior Will Strickler and sophomore Tim McKenney also saw their first tournament action of the season at the Preview, but their paths were slightly different.

While McKenney shaved strokes as the tournament progressed (81-76-74) and rose steadily into his tie for 59th, Strickler backed up in his final round, firing a ten-over 82 on Sunday and dropping into his share of 50th.

The Gators next tee it up in tournament play on Oct. 8 at the Jerry Pate at Birmingham, Ala., at the Old Overton course.


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