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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Gators start 2021 hot with a win at Timuquana Collegiate

Florida shot at 21-under-par, beating Liberty University in a playoff

<p>Freshman Joe Pagdin practices at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Pagdin was the only Gator to shoot below par on the front nine Tuesday</p>

Freshman Joe Pagdin practices at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Pagdin was the only Gator to shoot below par on the front nine Tuesday

The Florida men’s golf team won the Timuquana Collegiate in Jacksonville, Florida, Tuesday.

In its  opening tournament of the spring, the Gators entered Tuesday in second place —  seven shots behind the University of Virginia. UVA fell off quickly as day two got underway, shooting 8-over-par through its first nine holes. That opened up the gate for Florida and other teams like co-champion Liberty University to make a run for the top spot on the podium.

Florida began the day with poor performance on the front nine as only freshman Joe Pagdin shot under par. However, it was able to rally on the back nine, shooting 4-under-par as a team and ending at 21-under-par for the tournament. Liberty would shoot 5-under-par on the day to tie the Gators after 54 holes. 

Unable to settle the tournament in regulation, the Gators and Flames went to a two-hole playoff. Florida was able to seal the win on the second hole and clinch its first tournament victory since the 2020 Gators Invitational. The victory was also the first non-Gators Invitational tournament UF has won since the 2017-2018 season.

“Winning like that in a playoff was so much fun,” head coach J.C. Deacon said. “Our goal today was to play hard for each other and we certainly did that. We have a lot to work on, but starting the spring with a W is fantastic.”

Sophomore Ricky Castillo led UF. The California native finished in a tie for eighth at 6-under-par, despite shooting 1-over-par Tuesday. Redshirt junior Manny Girona, appearing in his first tournament since the 2020 Gators Invitational, finished in a tie for 15th, shooting 4-under-par for the tournament and 1-under-par on the day. 

The Gators also got solid production from freshman Joe Pagdin and sophomore Yuxin Lin. Both golfers finished in the top 20, tying for 19th at 3-under-par. Freshman Tyler Wilkes finished in a tie for 37th, shooting 5-over-par Tuesday and 2-over-par overall.

Florida was the only team to shoot under par on par 3s over the two days of competition, netting 2-under-par for the tournament. 

The team will get a few weeks before their next event: The Gators Invitational presented by Vystar. UF will defend its home turf during three days of competition starting Feb. 14.

Contact Michael Hull at Mhull@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @Michael_Hull33

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