With high expectations and the No. 1 seed in the region, all eyes were on the Gators as they began round one of the NCAA Regional at Kampen Golf Course in West Lafayette, Indiana. When Monday’s action concluded, Florida sat in a tie for fifth place after shooting a combined 4-over par.
The Gators are currently five shots back of frontrunner UNLV. Coach JC Deacon, now in his third year with the Gators, was disappointed with the team’s performance on Monday, but is looking for it to bounce back on Tuesday.
“We just didn’t have our best today for whatever reason,” Deacon said. “It wasn’t anything glaring … it was a bunch of little things. We’re playing good golf and I expect a really good round out of us tomorrow.”
Alejandro Tosti, the 2017 individual SEC Champion, had five birdies in his first round of play, but also had five bogeys to finish at even par, including three straight on holes 15-17. He’s currently in a ten-way tie for 14th.
Gordon Neale also sits in a tie for 14th place. Neale had a near mistake-free round, carding only one bogey on the back nine to negate his lone birdie on three.
Ryan Orr stayed mostly consistent in his first round of play. Orr had a clean front nine, parring all of his holes before bogeying on 12. Orr came right back to birdie on 13, but finished off his round with a bogey on 18. The senior finished the round tied for 24th at 1-over par.
Sam Horsfield had a rough outing in his first day in West Lafayette. The sophomore began the round with four straight bogeys, including a double bogey on the second hole. Horsfield would bounce back from the poor start and finished the round at 3 over.
Andy Zhang, the lone freshman for the Gators in the group, shot 4 over on the day. Prior to the 18th, Zhang was at 2 over before a double bogey on the last hole. His performance follows a rough outing at the SEC Championship that saw the young freshman shoot 16-over par over the three rounds of stroke play.
After seeing his team play on Monday, Deacon said the team just needs to be more focused on the task at hand.
“We’ve just got to be ready to go out of the gate,” Deacon said. “There are some birdie holes out there and I think the guys saw and learned that today and they’ll be ready to go tomorrow. I’m excited to get going.”
The Gators will tee off Tuesday morning around 8:20. Andy Zhang will begin the day, and Alejandro Tosti will be the last Gator on the course at approximately 9:04 a.m.
Contact Justin Ahlum at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @justinn_case1.
Gordon Neale crouches during round two of the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 21, 2016, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.