After a long winter break, the Florida men’s golf team will begin its season this weekend at the SunTrust Gator Invitational in Gainesville.
The annual event, in which Florida placed fourth last year, features 16 teams from across the Southeast. No. 8 Florida will be joined by the likes of No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 17 Missouri and No. 20 Arkansas.
While Florida will face some tough competition this weekend, coach J.C. Deacon said his team is eager for the challenge.
“We got some of the best players in the country and best teams in the country coming here this weekend,” Deacon said. “Having the best players in the country coming to their home course, they’re very, very excited.”
Last spring, the Gators’ season ended in disappointment at the NCAA Regionals in Indiana, finishing eighth out of 13 teams. They also failed to win an SEC championship, which they last won in 2011.
Deacon, in his fourth season as UF’s coach, is looking for more out of his team this year.
“We’ve won a lot of tournaments, but we haven’t won anything on that level yet,” he said. “That’s the next step for this team.”
Deacon also stressed that he is looking for consistent, team-based success this weekend instead of relying on one individual player, like defending individual SEC champion Alejandro Tosti, to carry the team.
“The best part of our team this year is we should get a strong performance from all five guys,” Deacon said. “We got five guys who can contribute at a really high level, and that’s exactly what I’m expecting.”
Follow Sam Campisano on Twitter @samcampisano and contact him at email@example.com.
Senior Alejandro Tosti paced the Gators at the NCAA Championships with an opening round of even par.