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Sunday, June 23, 2024

The UF men's golf team has been preparing for the 2009 postseason all year.

With a core made up of juniors and seniors, the Gators know this could be its best and last chance to compete for a national championship before many of its key golfers graduate.

The No. 7 Gators will travel to Sea Island, Ga., to begin their quest for a title as they play in the Southeastern Conference Championships starting Friday.

One of the graduating seniors, Billy Horschel, has felt the urgency to win a title since he stepped on campus last fall, and he believes the rest of the upperclassmen have as well.

"I think they all have that urgency, too, knowing that this could be their last year they even have a chance at a title," Horschel said.

However, UF heads into the postseason reeling.

The team is coming off its worst performance of the season. The Gators finished in 13th place at the U.S. Collegiate Championship last weekend. That was just the second time this season the team has finished an event outside of the top five.

UF has had more than two weeks to think about that performance, but coach Buddy Alexander has made sure the team does not dwell on that one tournament.

"Coach has really hammered in the fact that it was only one tournament and it doesn't mean anything now," Horschel said.

But if the Gators are going to win this weekend's event, they will have to outplay No. 1 Georgia. UF has played with Georgia in three tournaments this season, and the Bulldogs have finished ahead of the Gators in each one.

Despite Georgia's recent dominance of UF, the Gators believe they can compete with any school in the nation.

"Maybe we don't give ourselves enough credit as a team, but we are a pretty good team," Horschel said. "Yes, Georgia is better than us, but if we play really good and they play OK, we are going to beat them."

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UF will send out Horschel, Tyson Alexander, Tim McKenney, Toby Ragland and Will Strickler to vie for the SEC Championship.

WOMEN READY TO DEFEND SEC TITLE: The No. 31 UF women's golf team will also be participating in the SEC Championships this weekend.

The Gators will travel to Columbia, S.C., to play in their event beginning on Friday.

Unlike the men's team, this will be the first taste of the postseason some of the golfers will get.

"I think that they are going to have some butterflies when they go out there, but once you get on the course it all goes away," sophomore Jessica Yadloczky said.

Yadloczky was part of the team that won the SEC Championship last season, and she will try to use her leadership to help this lineup full of freshmen and sophomores.

Along with Yadloczky, the Gators will throw out a lineup of Andrea Watts, Evan Jensen, Lauren Uzelatz and Nicole Schachner.

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