The Florida men’s golf team came out strong in the second round of stroke play at the NCAA Championships on Saturday afternoon.
The Gators improved on a rough first-round outing in which they finished tied for last place with Auburn after scoring a 300 (12 over) for the round. They climbed 12 spots on Saturday, good for 17th place out of 30 teams after posting a 286 (2 under) overall team score in second-round play.
UF is at 10 over as a team through the first two rounds of play, while Texas Tech is currently sitting at the top of the leaderboard at 5 under, overall. Oklahoma State (-4), Alabama (-3), Duke (+2) and Oklahoma (+2) round out the top five.
After senior Alejandro Tosti carried the Gators in the first round, UF was led by another golfer on Saturday. Freshmen John Axelsen scored a 4-under 68 in second-round play, besting his disappointing score of 5 over (77) from Friday by nine strokes. He is currently tied for 37th individually at 1 over par overall, just one stroke behind Tosti for the best score from a Gator through the first two rounds of play. Axelsen paced UF with a team-high seven birdies. However, a double bogey on the 11th hole set him back on an otherwise great performance by the freshman.
Junior Gordon Neale continues to have an event he’d like to forget. After shooting 7 over in the first round, Neale followed up Friday’s performance with another high score. He scored 6 over in the second round, leaving him at 13 over, overall.
Sophomore Andy Zhang struggled some on Saturday as well, making two double bogeys with only two birdies on the day in second-round play. Zhang sat at 2 over par after Saturday’s action, putting him at 4 over for the weekend.
Tosti and freshman Chris Nido both had two things in common after second- round play: they each finished at even par, and they both had an eagle on the scorecard. Tosti continues to play consistently. He sits in a tie for 28th individually after an even par performance in each round.
Nido improved greatly after a 5-over round on his first outing. The freshman rode the momentum of his eagle on the first hole Saturday to help him stay put at 5 over after finishing with an even-par second-round performance.
UF will look to be one of the final 15 teams left after the completion of the third round on Sunday night to advance to Monday’s action, which will determine the eight teams that will compete in match play starting on Tuesday.
Third-round play from the NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma will begin Sunday morning.
First tee is scheduled for around 9:15 a.m eastern time. Gordon Neale will be the first Gator to tee it up at around 1 p.m eastern time on Sunday afternoon.
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Correction: John Axelsen
Freshman golfer John Axelsen led the way for the Gators on Day 2 of the NCAA Championships. He posted a team-low score of 4 under on Saturday.