The UF men's golf team finished its opening tournament of the season in sixth place at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.
The Gators finished with a total team score of 878 (294-293-291,+38) after carding a 291 (+11) on Sunday. The No. 18 Gators finished eight strokes behind Arizona State, the winner of the tournament.
After the first round, the Gators' team score improved by one stroke, to 293 (+13), but they lost a spot on the board, slipping to eighth place, tied with Illinois.
Sophomore Max Kieffer had an impressive showing at the team's first tournament of the season, tying for first place on Saturday. Kieffer was one under par after 36 holes, carding 139. He ended up tying for eighth with a final score of 215.
On Sunday, Kieffer struggled to hold on to his lead, adding seven strokes to his round on Saturday, carding 76. Before the turn, he had two double bogeys, three bogeys and a birdie; his performance on the back nine kept him at a six-over score.
Going one under par Saturday, Kieffer carded two over in his first nine holes but finished the round with three birdies in his last five holes. He finished Friday tied for fifth, with an even-par 70. In the first nine holes, he had a birdie in between two bogeys. He completed the next nine holes with a bogey, two birdies, and six pars.
The tournament marked Kieffer's first top-10 finish of his collegiate career.
Senior Tyson Alexander started off the strongest for the Gators on Friday with an even par in his first nine holes, but the back nine was challenging and he finished with five bogeys and one birdie. Alexander also landed in 28th place, with junior Andres Echavarria (74, +4). Alexander tied for 41st on Sunday with a score of 226.
Echavarria finished second on his team Saturday with a score of 71, for a 36-hole score of 145 (+5). Echavarria finished tied for third with a 54-hole score of 213 (+3). This was his first top-five finish.
Senior Tim McKenney and junior Bank Vongvanij each shot 77 (+7) Saturday, and despite McKenney finishing one stroke ahead after two rounds, tied for 45th.