The Gators knew one thing heading into the Trinity Forest Invitational after a disappointing 13th-place finish at the Carpet Capital Collegiate: they had to be better. They also knew that this was a tournament that last year’s team had won by 10 strokes.
The results after Day 1, however, are mixed.
UF sits in eighth place out of 13 teams after one round despite boasting one of the tournament’s top scorers in sophomore John Axelsen and last year’s runner-up, senior Gordon Neale.
Axelsen (-7) is locked in a three-way tie for first place after carding a 64 in the first round on Sunday. Axelsen missed the Gators’ opener at the Carpet Capital Collegiate because he was representing his native country of Denmark at the World Amateur Team Championship, which Axelsen and his two teammates won.
His fall season with the Gators began with a hot start on the front nine. He birdied five of his first seven holes and finished the front nine with a 6-under. The sophomore finished his round with two birdies and a bogey to bring him to 7-under.
The problem for the Gators on Sunday, however, was that the rest of the team lagged well behind Axelsen. No other player competing for UF finished in the top 30 individually. Sophomore Manny Girona (-1) did finish tied for 21st, but he is competing as an individual this weekend.
Neale (E) was not in last year’s form on Sunday. He had a promising start on the front nine, putting home three birdies on the first seven holes and not carding a bogey on the front nine. The senior then did the opposite over the back nine with three bogeys and no birdies to finish the round in a tie for 32nd.
Freshman Aden Ye (+2) rebounded from a disastrous final round at the Carpet Capital Collegiate to turn in a respectable first round in Dallas. He had three birdies, but his four bogeys, including a double bogey, left him in a tie for 49th.
Sophomore Chris Nido (+3) and freshman Eugene Hong (+4) rounded out the rest of the team’s first round. The Trinity Forest Invitational runs for two more days. The second round will begin at 9 a.m Monday.
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Sophomore John Axelsen (-7) is in a three-way stalemate for first place at the Trinity Forest Invitational. The Gators sit in eighth overall.