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Tuesday, December 07, 2021
<p>J.C. Deacon looks on during the 2016 SunTrust Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.</p>

J.C. Deacon looks on during the 2016 SunTrust Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

After Round 2 of UF’s final fall tournament, Florida was in position to make a push for the lead. The men’s golf team held sole possession of second place and sat only two strokes behind the leader, Illinois.

But during the final round on Tuesday, the Gators struggled, posting a team score of 4 over, and they were unable to seize control of the lead. Florida finished tied for second at the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational in Windermere, Florida.

In the final day of play, the Fighting Illini struggled even more than UF did, carding a 6-over round that allowed the California Golden Bears to win the tournament, while Illinois ended up tied with the Gators for second place. Florida had a chance to send it to a playoff, but fell one stroke short of California in the end.

“What an exciting way to end the fall,” coach J.C. Deacon said in a release. “Somehow our guys managed to get in the hunt down the stretch. We had far from our best stuff, but we never quit. That attitude paid off and we were one shot shy of a playoff.”

Freshman John Axelsen and junior Gordon Neale posted solid numbers of 2 under and 1 under, respectively, on Tuesday. Both finished in the top five, with Axelsen in third and Neale in fourth.

Senior Alejandro Tosti played respectably in the first two rounds, but didn’t perform nearly as well on Tuesday, as he was 4 over for the day. Tosti has yet to come close to his performance in the season-opening Carpet Capital Invitational, where he won the individual championship.

Freshman Chris Nido posted another 3-over round on Sunday, while redshirt sophomore Blake Dyer was 5 over. Nido finished tied for 44th, while Dyer finished tied for 84th.

Although there are certainly positive takeaways from this tournament, such as the play of Axelsen, who returned from a one-tournament absence, Florida was once again in a position to vie for the lead after Day 2 and failed to do so.

While a tie for second is far from the worst-case scenario for the Gators, they will look for more consistency and stronger finishes as they head into the break if they still wish to contend for a national title, as Deacon has expressed in the past.

“We need this offseason to get everyone completely settled and focused on growth,” Deacon said. “We have an extremely talented team, but we need to dedicate ourselves to patience, hard work and emotional control. Those championship qualities will determine our ceiling.”

You can follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno, and contact him at tnettuno@alligator.org.

J.C. Deacon looks on during the 2016 SunTrust Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

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