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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

UF's 19th-ranked men's golf team had a "pretty mediocre" day Tuesday at the Jerry Pate National Invitational, UF coach Buddy Alexander said.

In fact, mediocre sums up the Gators? fall so far.

With a 21-under 278, UF finished fifth to No. 4 Alabama?s tournament-record 42-under onslaught at the Old Overton course in Birmingham, Ala., at the Jerry Pate National Invitational.

Billy Horschel followed his second-round 64 with a third-round 68, which lowered the junior two-time All-American?s total to 13 under for the tournament.

He finished in third place, two strokes short of Alabama?s Mark Harrell. Horschel?s three-round 200 was the best finish in his career at UF.

But there wasn?t a lot of help behind him.

Junior Toby Ragland fired the Gators? second-lowest score of the tournament, 208, to finish in 17th place at 5 under.

Following Ragland was senior Manuel Villegas, who chipped in a 70 to finish tied for 18th at four-under.

Freshman Arnond Vongvanij shot a 1-over 72 and backed up to 44th at 5 over.

Sophomore Tyson Alexander, whose score increased each round, struggled to finish at a 6-over 77, which relegated him to an 11-over 224 and a tie for 58th place.

Coach Alexander admitted the disparities in scoring have him concerned.

BBilly finishes in the top 10 and we don?t get anybody else in the top 10,C he said. BYou can?t be competitive in golf tournaments with only one guy in the top 10.C

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So far this fall, no more than two Gators have made the top 10 in each tournament, and even that only happened once, at the season-opening Inverness Invitational.

UF finished third in that tournament, its best finish of the season.

BWe?ve played pretty well at home and at our qualifying rounds,C Alexander said. BI think we probably need to readjust our expectations, our dedication to getting better.C

With only the Callaway Golf Collegiate - a match-play tournament at the end of October - on UF?s slate for the rest of the fall, Alexander is hoping his team works out the kinks before its spring swing.

BWe?ll see if we can get these guys to believe in themselves a little more.C

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