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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

In golf, a sport that focuses on the individual, you don't often hear a coach begging for a stronger team effort.

But after the Gators' previous tournament, coach Buddy Alexander did just that.

"You aren't going to win with three (players with good) scores a day, and basically that's what we had all weekend," Alexander said.

However, as the No. 5 UF men's golf team prepares to travel to Atlanta to play in their final event before the postseason starting Sunday, the U.S. Collegiate Championship, Alexander believes he is partly to blame for his team's performance in their last tournament.

"I think that a lot of that blame might fall on me because I elected not to take Toby Ragland, and he is typically one of our more consistent guys," he said.

At this point of the season, Alexander will not make the same mistake twice.

"We are pretty much locked in to four guys playing the rest of the year," he said.

Those four guys are Billy Horschel, Tim McKenney, Tyson Alexander and Ragland.

One problem area for UF this year had been its fifth spot in the lineup.

Alexander has given Will Strickler, Mu Hu and Max Kieffer the opportunity to make the fifth spot theirs, but inconsistent play has prevented them from doing so.

In this event, sophomore Andres Echavarria will take his chance at the position.

"Andres hasn't played a lot this semester, but we have been very inconsistent at that fifth spot with Will, Mu and Max," Alexander said. "I'm just rolling the stones with Andres a little bit, giving him a shot to see what he can do."

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With the postseason just two weeks away, the Gators will have to find the golfer that completes their lineup quickly if they want to be successful.

But before they can get to the postseason, UF will have to play in what could be its most difficult tournament of the season. The top five teams in the nation, including the Gators, will be participating.

"This is the biggest tournament of the semester so far, it's the best field that we will play, it's on a terrific golf course, and it kind of sets the stage for possibilities in the postseason," Alexander said.

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