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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The UF men's golf team has no excuses.

The No. 14 Gators will have two big advantages this weekend as they play in the SunTrust Gator Invitational.

The first is the confidence gained from playing in familiar territory. The tournament will be held on UF's home field, Mark Bostick Golf Course.

In golf, the benefit of playing on your home turf should never be underestimated, coach Buddy Alexander said.

"I don't know any other sport where playing at home is more advantageous," he said.

The Gators have really enjoyed playing in Gainesville. The team has won its last five home tournaments, dating back to 2004. Furthermore, the team has not finished worse than second place at a home tournament since 1988.

"There is actually home-course knowledge that makes it a terrific impact on your ability to wiggle your way around the golf course," Alexander said.

Another huge advantage the Gators have on their side is experience.

Will Strickler, Billy Horschel, Tyson Alexander, Toby Ragland and Tim McKenney have made a combined 125 appearances in their careers at UF.

Those golfers, who will take the course for UF this weekend, are all juniors and seniors.

"We don't have any excuses that we are a young team at this point," coach Alexander said. "We are an old team."

The Gators will use the same five players they used in their first event of the season, the Golden Ocala Collegiate. The team won first place at the one-day tournament and finished 26 strokes ahead of second.

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"I am playing the same five that played in Ocala because I didn't want to break up a winning group," he said.

There will be 14 teams in the tournament this weekend, including FSU, No. 25 Duke and Wake Forest.

Coach Alexander is confident his team can extend its home-tournament winning streak to six.

"Anything less than winning the golf tournament is probably not going to be acceptable," he said.

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