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Thursday, May 26, 2022

After two consecutive disappointing performances, the Gators were in desperate need of some momentum.

No. 10 Florida’s men’s golf team got exactly what it needed with a season-best team score of 16-under par in the first round of the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate Tournament in Madison, Miss., on Monday.

While it could not duplicate that performance later in the day in the second round, UF still finished atop the leaderboard with a score of 15-under par after 36 holes of play.

The Gators came in as the highest-ranked team in the event and didn’t disappoint on the course Monday.

Seniors Tim McKenney and Tyson Alexander led the team with individual scores of 10-under par and 9-under par after two rounds, which were good enough for the two lowest individual performances of the tournament.

McKenney shot nine birdies in the first round and during one stretch finished with a birdie in six of eight holes.

But over the next 18 holes, he shot three bogeys, all on par-four holes. McKenney still finished in the red at 1-under par in the second round, however.

The other senior, Alexander, took a different approach to his great performance Monday. He used an eagle in each of his first two rounds to negate three bogeys. Both eagles came on long par-five holes.

The only other Florida golfer to avoid finishing over par after 36 holes was junior Bank Vongvanij.

He was consistent and shot two even rounds.

Vongvanij fared well with the longer holes as he shot four of his eight birdies on par-fives but seemed to struggle with the shorter ones.

Seven of his eight bogeys came on either par-three or par-fours.

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The other two UF golfers who participated in the event were not as fortunate as the rest.

Freshmen Phillip Choi and Tommy Mou struggled. They shot a combined 11-over par Monday, and could not provide a solid fourth score for the team.

Choi only shot 1-over par in the first round, but two double bogeys in the second set of 18 hurt his cause.

However, he did rack up five birdies throughout the two rounds. He also finished with six bogeys.

But Mou could never get it going. He finished with four bogeys in each of the two rounds.

Tournament host, Ole Miss, is right behind the Gators with a team score of 10-under par, good enough for second place.

UF, Ole Miss, North Florida and Louisiana Tech are the only teams that finished under par at the end of Monday’s play.

UCF is in seventh place with a team score of eight over par.

With one round to go on Tuesday, Florida will have to turn in another solid performance to hold off the Rebels and UNF, which is in third place, just seven strokes behind the Gators.

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