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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The No. 12 UF men's golf team had an encouraging performance in its first event of the spring.

The Gators won first place at the Golden Ocala Collegiate on Monday. Despite the rainy conditions, the team shot 558 (18 under par) to beat the four other teams participating in the event.

"I was very proud of our guys today," UF coach Buddy Alexander said. "They played pretty well under some very difficult conditions."

Senior Will Strickler shot six under par to earn his first college win. He got off to a quick start, finishing the first round with a four-under-par 68, the lowest round of the day. Strickler finished the day with a two-under-par second-round score of 70.

"I have to congratulate Will for winning his first collegiate event," coach Alexander said. "He's worked hard and it's nice to see him get a reward like this."

Not far behind Strickler, Tim McKenney shot five under par to finish second in the tournament. McKenney tied Strickler's first-round score of four under par, and the two tied for the lowest round of the day.

Toby Ragland and Tyson Alexander shot a two-under-par 70 and one-over-par 71, respectively. Meanwhile, All-American senior Billy Horschel finished the day at one under par.

UF's team score of 18 under par was good enough to finish 26 strokes ahead of second-place North Florida.

These types of performances must become a consistent thing, coach Alexander said.

"We've got to get to a point where we can play with this much confidence against teams that are confident they can beat us," he said.

Florida Gulf Coast took third place and finished five strokes behind North Florida, Jacksonville came in fourth place, and South Florida finished last.

The Gators' next event of the season is on Feb. 14-15, when they will host the SunTrust Gator Invitational at Mark Bostick Golf Course.

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