After Saturday’s round of the Southeastern Conference Championship, the Florida men’s golf team finds itself well back entering the final round of competition in St. Simons, Georgia.
The No. 8 Gators posted a 10-over total in Round 2 and are currently in sixth place at 15 over par, nine shots back of Kentucky.
On a day where fierce wind and on-and-off rain battered the Sea Island Golf Club, UF’s players struggled to get anything going.
“We just need to find a way to get off to a better start,” Florida coach J.C. Deacon said in a release. “This makes two days in a row that we didn’t start well. We have to find a way to start better and hang in there.”
Many of Florida’s players had a hard time navigating the Seaside course, where hazard-lined fairways and undulating greens are at every turn.
Sam Horsfield, the Gators’ top golfer and the No. 3 player in the country, carded two bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4 14th hole to post a 2-over 72. It was the freshman’s second-straight over-par round, marking only the second tournament in his collegiate career where he’s posted consecutive over-par rounds. Horsfield, who is in a tie for 15th at 3 over, will begin Sunday’s round looking to collect his fourth victory of the season.
Freshman Gordon Neale, who fired a 68 in the opening round, had two double bogeys and four bogeys on his way to a 6-over 76.
Alejandro Tosti shot what appeared to be an even-keel, 1-over 71. But his scorecard tells a different story. The sophomore recorded five bogeys and four birdies during his round.
Both Neale and Tosti enter the final round in a tie for 18th.
Jorge Garcia began Day 2 with two-straight pars, but a triple on the third hole, a 204-yard par 3, derailed the freshman’s round. Garcia posted a 3-over 73 and sits in a tie for 28th at plus 6.
Junior Ryan Orr, whose first-round score was not counted toward the team total, posted a 4-over 74. He is in a tie for 41st.
Deacon said he wants to see his players limit the mistakes that contributed to their uneven rounds.
“(Friday) we didn’t make any big numbers,” Deacon said. “If we get rid of the big numbers and start a little better, I think we have a chance to do something.”
Come the final 18, the Gators will have to not only combat the elements and harsh design of the course, but the talented teams ahead of them, including No. 3 Georgia, No. 13 Auburn and No. 23 Arkansas.
“We’re only one round away from winning an SEC Championship,” Deacon said. “We need to have our best day of the year (Sunday).
“We have the guys to do it, so we just have to go out there and execute.”
Sam Horsfield hits a shot during Round 2 of the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 21, 2016, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.