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Friday, January 28, 2022

After two rounds of competition at the Arizona Invitational, the Florida men’s golf team is currently in a three-way tie for fifth place.

The Gators ended Monday’s 36 holes shooting a total of 560 (281-279, -8) in Tucson, Ariz., trailing current leader California by 17 strokes.

UF’s struggles might be due to some rust, as the tournament was the team’s first competition of the spring schedule and the first since its second-place finish in the Isleworth Invitational on Oct. 27.

Although the Gators hadn’t competed in over three months, UF coach Buddy Alexander expected more from his team, especially as good as the weather conditions were Monday.

“We didn’t play particularly well today in that this golf course is really different,” Alexander said in a press release. “The wind wasn’t blowing, so it was a pretty easy day to score, but we didn’t adjust. I don’t think we realized how easy the course was, and the team needed to pick up on that as the day went on but didn’t.”

Senior Tyson Alexander (70-69, -3) finished both of his rounds on a positive note. He birdied two of his final three holes in the first round and sunk an eagle on the 18th hole in the second round.

Junior Bank Vongvanij (71-68) tied Alexander and six other golfers for 10th place at -3.

One of those other golfers was freshman Tommy Mou.

Mou (69-70, -3), competing as an individual, carded one eagle, eight birdies and seven bogeys in his collegiate debut.

One shot behind was senior Tim McKenney (68-72) who tied for 18th place at -2. Junior Andres Echavarria (72-70) tied for 30th at even par.

Rounding out Florida’s lineup in 71st place was freshman Tyler McCumber, who finished with a total score of 158 (77-81, +16).

Monday was an up-and-down day for McCumber, with more of the latter than the former.

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Although McCumber was the only Gator to tally two eagles on the day, he also took eight strokes on a par 3 in the first round.

Before Monday, McCumber led the team with a stroke average of 71.6.

Entering the Arizona Invitational, the Gators were ranked the third-best team in the country by Golfweek, their highest ranking of the season.

“I think that everyone was pretty average today,” Alexander said. “Overall, we’ll need to turn it up a notch or two and hopefully get a good round to finish this tournament up.”

The Arizona Invitational will conclude with its final round today.

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