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Saturday, April 13, 2024

It sometimes seems like UF's men's golf team has a checklist of tasks ranging from the mundane to the insane. It would help explain a season with more highs and lows than the average weather forecast.

After Sunday, in their opening round at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Invitational in Charleston, S.C., the Gators can check a roller-coaster round off that sheet.

Every Gator sustained at least two bogeys in an over-par front nine, and every Gator played the back nine even or under par.

When the ride ended, the up-and-down play up and down the lineup gave UF a share of third place at one-over for the tournament. The Gators are five shots behind leader South Carolina.

UF head coach Buddy Alexander was pleased with his team's late charge.

"We had a nice little rally there today," Alexander said. "I was happy with our poise and patience.

"We have struggled with that in the past when we get off to a slow start, but today we didn't," Alexander added. "We kept our composure. They did a nice job with that, and it is a tribute to them to rally after the poor start."

Tyler Brown was the low Gator at one-under. The junior closed his one-under 70 with birdies on three of his last four holes and is tied for seventh, three shots behind leader Lamar University's Justin Harding.

Tyson Alexander continued the momentum from his strong final-round play at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational, recording an even-par 71 that featured three back-nine birdies. It was the sophomore's second straight even-par round in tournament play after a funk of high scores in the spring, and he is tied for 16th.

Senior Manuel Villegas and two-time All-American Billy Horschel took different roads to their twin one-over 72s and dual shares of 22nd place. Villegas played solidly throughout his round, notching 14 pars, while Horschel's scorecard showed an early streak of three bogeys, followed by four birdies over nine holes, finally pockmarked by an unplayable lie penalty that led to a double bogey on the 17th hole.

Toby Ragland fired a two-over 73 with four birdies, three bogeys, and one triple-bogey to round out UF's lineup. He is tied for 34th.

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