The Florida Gators men’s golf team is back on the course this week, competing in the Vanderbilt Legends Collegiate in Franklin, Tennessee.
The tournament is a 3-day, 54-hole stroke play competition that will start Sunday and conclude Tuesday. It features all 14 SEC schools. The Gators have historically had success in the Legends Collegiate, never finishing outside of the top five since they began competing in the tournament in 2016.
The Gators will keep their lineup from their first tournament mainly intact, with four of five players returning to compete. Graduate student Carlos Bustos is being replaced this week by redshirt sophomore Fred Biondi. Bustos shot 19-over-par at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational, opening the door for Biondi to make his first appearance of the season. Biondi appeared in the Florida lineup three times last season, averaging a score of 74.5 per round.
Besides Biondi, the Gators lineup features sophomore Ricky Castillo, junior Giovanni Manzoni and freshmen Tyler Wilkes and Joe Pagdin. Wilkes led the Gators in their first tournament, finishing tied for 26th and shooting 6-over-par.
Florida will be hoping for more production from both Pagdin and Castillo. The reigning SEC freshman of the year, Castillo shot 8-over-par at the Blessings earlier this month. Pagdin came into the fall season with high expectations, committing to UF at just 13 years old. He came in a tie for 30th at the first tournament.
The tournament takes place at the Vanderbilt Legends Club. Designed by legendary golf architect Bob Cupp and U.S. Open champion Tom Kite, the club opened in 1992 and features two 18-hole courses. The tournament will be played on the North course, which spans 7,200 yards and is par-72 course. Besides the Legends Collegiate, the club also hosts the Men’s and Women’s Mason Rudolph Championships every year.
Scores the Legends Collegiate will be updated live on GolfStat.com throughout the tournament. The Gators are expected to tee off at 11:25 a.m.
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Redshirts sophomore Fred Biondi practices at Mark Bostick Golf Course. He'll travel to Franklin, Tennessee, with the rest of the Gators squad this weekend for their second tournament of the 2020 season.
Michael Hull is a third-year journalism major with a specialization in sports & media. He has a minor in business and leadership and is a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars fan.