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Thursday, October 28, 2021
John Axelsen

Sophomore John Axelsen (-7) is in a three-way stalemate for first place at the Trinity Forest Invitational. The Gators sit in eighth overall. 

Coach J.C. Deacon and the rest of the No. 11 Florida men’s golf team will have to wait at least another year before they can win their first SEC championship.

After beating Ole Miss 3-2 in the quarterfinals of match play at the SEC Championship Saturday, the Gators narrowly lost to Alabama in the semifinals 1-3-1.

Obviously, really disappointed to leave without the SEC title, but man our guys left it all out there,” Deacon said in a release. “We lost to a great Alabama team."

In match play at the SEC Championship, each team’s five players are pitted against each other individually. The team with the most individual wins advances.

Against Ole Miss, SEC champion Andy Zhang defeated freshman Cecil Wegener, and the freshman duo of Chris Nido and John Axelsen sealed the deal by winning their matchups.

The Gators had a tougher time against the Crimson Tide, with only Axelsen winning his matchup. Junior Gordon Neale missed a putt on the 18th hole to extend his match into extra play. Nido finished all-square with Alabama freshman Wilson Furr.

Zhang got routed in his matchup, as the Crimson Tide’s Davis Riley won 4&3 - meaning that Zhang was down by four holes and it wasn’t possible for him to catch up with only three holes remaining. Senior Alejandro Tosti also lost handily, going down 3&2 to Alabama’s Jonathan Hardee.

“Though we didn't get the win we came here to get, I have so many great memories of our team this week. They are tough and that makes me proud,” Deacon said.

Now, the Gators will wait to see where they end up for NCAA Regionals. The selection show is on Monday, and regional play begins on May 14.

Contact Sam Campisano at scampisano@alligator.org or follow him on Twitter @samcampisano.

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