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Saturday, April 13, 2024

On Tuesday, the UF men's golf team enjoyed a great performance in the final round of the Hootie at Bulls Bay Invitational in Charleston, S.C.

Since that performance, a scintillating 13-under 271 by tournament champions North Carolina State, wasn't theirs, maybe enjoyed isn't the right word.

The Gators prolonged a stretch of strong play in their last regular-season round on Tuesday, submitting a three-under 281 in the final round of their final regular-season tournament, but were simply outstripped by the Wolfpack, who won by 12 strokes over second-place Clemson and South Carolina.

UF had to settle for fourth, at one-under, a shot behind the duo in second place and thirteen shots behind N.C. State.

"I was a little disappointed," UF head coach Buddy Alexander said. "I thought we played hard, but we couldn't make up any ground. North Carolina State played some great golf this week."

Junior Toby Ragland led UF's effort, recording his best finish of the year. His final round, a season-low three-under 68, helped him claim a share of 10th place.

Ragland finished at one-under 212, eight shots behind tournament winner Matt Hill of N.C. State.

A trio of Gators backed Ragland up by tying for 19th, but their paths to the position were wildly different.

Senior Manuel Villegas quietly notched an even-par 71 after two straight one-over 72s to finish at two-over for the week.

Senior Tyler Brown, who contributed a four-over 75 on Monday, recovered with a Tuesday 69 and rose to 19th.

Most dramatically, sophomore Tyson Alexander nearly had his round torpedoed by a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 second hole but chipped away with five birdies in his last 11 holes for a two-over 73.

Add in junior two-time All-American Billy Horschel's woeful week, mercifully ended with a quintet of bogeys and a final round three-over 74 that left him tied for 35th, and it's clear that, for this team, consistency is as elusive as quicksilver.

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Their coach knows as much.

"We are making progress toward the postseason but must get more consistent," Alexander said.

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