The Florida men’s golf team concluded its shortened fall campaign with a 10th-place finish at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate on Wednesday.
The Gators struggled as a squad during the final round, shooting a collective 5-over-par. They were 1-over-par entering Wednesday. Florida finished the tournament 25 strokes behind the top spot at 6-over-par, in which there were three schools tied. Vanderbilt, Georgia and Auburn all tied for first at 19-under-par.
Old Overton, the tournament’s course, played much tougher Wednesday than in the previous two rounds, as seven teams shot over par. UF’s 5-over-par card was far from the worst of the day. Kentucky shot a collective 16-over-par, while both Mississippi State and host Alabama shot 8-over.
Individually, freshman Joe Pagdin kept his spot atop the Florida standings, shooting a one-over-par in the final round. He finished a 2-under-par for the tournament, tying for 16th. He finished with 10 birdies over the three rounds of play and thrived on the course’s par 3s. He averaged a score of 2.83 on those holes, according to Golfstat.com, which was good for the third-best average in the field.
Sophomore Ricky Castillo followed Pagdin in the standings, carding a 2-under-par in the final round to bring his total to even par for the tournament. He finished in a tie for 29th. Junior Giovanni Manzoni was close behind in a tie for 35th, shooting 2-over-par across the three rounds.
Redshirt sophomore Fred Biondi and freshman Tyler Wilkes rounded out the squad. Biondi finished at 6-over-par and in a tie for 44th, while Wilkes came in a tie for 63rd, shooting 12-over-par.
Head coach J.C. Deacon was not impressed with his team Wednesday, saying that their inability to knock down putts crushed their shot at a run.
“We have a talented team, and our standards are the highest; we just have to be better,” Deacon said in a release. “And we will be.”
Now, the Gators turn their attention to the spring with a lot of work to do. This team came into the fall with high expectations. However, it disappointed during the three tournaments it competed in, finishing no higher than in a tie for fourth. The Gators never touched the top three in a competition, even after just a round. Deacon is confident Florida can turn its fortunes around in the coming months.
“This is a good golf team; I know it 100%,” Deacon said. “We are all ready to put in the necessary work this winter to ensure we make a big run during our championship season in the spring.”
A spring schedule has yet to be announced, and the date for the announcement is still to be determined.
Contact Michael Hull at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Michael_Hull33.
Michael Hull is a fourth-year journalism sports & media major and a sports writer at The Alligator. He hosts the weekly sports podcast and has worked on staff for five semesters. In the past, Hull has served as the sports editor, the men's and women's golf beat writer, the volleyball beat writer and the football beat writer.