J.C. Deacon, coach of the No. 11 Florida men’s golf team, is in his fourth year as Florida’s coach and has not won an SEC championship.
After a disastrous first day in St. Simons Island, Georgia, on Wednesday, his team has an uphill battle if it wants to win its first conference tournament since 2011.
The Gators currently sit in a tie for 12th out of 14 teams at the SEC Championship after shooting 13 over on the first day, 17 strokes behind leader Vanderbilt. With only the top eight teams advancing to match play after the first three days, Florida has 36 holes to make up a five-stroke difference behind South Carolina and Ole Miss, which are tied for eighth.
“We're struggling to get the scores in right now,” Deacon said in a release. “We just have to loosen up, have some fun and play the game we all love.”
On the same course where he won the individual SEC championship last year, senior Alejandro Tosti struggled for the Gators. He shot 6 over and currently sits in a tie for 61st on the leaderboard. Once Florida’s clear No. 1, Tosti has fallen to the fifth spot in the lineup for this event.
His performance – however – was not the worst on the day from a Florida player. Freshman Chris Nido finished last among all competitors at 10 over.
Sophomore Andy Zhang, who is turning pro after the season, led the way for the Gators, shooting 1 over and finishing the day in a tie for 18th place. He was followed by freshman John Axelsen and junior Gordon Neale, who shot 2 over and 4 over, respectively.
The Gators will be back in action tomorrow, teeing off at 8:10 a.m.
Senior Alejandro Tosti is struggling at the SEC Championship despite being the returning individual champion. He shot 6-over-par on the first day of competition.