The Gators imploded by every definition of the word Sunday.
UF shot a collective 22-over-par in the final round of the LSU Invitational and blew a three-shot lead to Illinois, who took the title with a collective score of 12-over-par.
Florida finished the invitational at 25-over-par. After they shot a tournament-low 7-under-par Saturday, the Gators had their third straight tournament win within its reach — except they didn’t.
The Gators’ collective score of 310 claimed the third worst slot in the tournament’s round and only trailed Louisiana Tech’s first and third rounds.
Freshman Tyler Wilkes was the only Gator to post a round even par or better Sunday. His even-par 72 was six strokes lower than Florida’s next best finisher: Ricky Castillo. Wilkes finished in a tie for 15th for the tournament and shot 5-over-par.
Sophomore Yuxin Lin lost all the magic he possessed Saturday. Coming off a blistering 6-under-par 66, Lin crashed back down to earth and carded an 8-over-par 80 in the final round. His day featured a birdie, five bogeys and capped off with back-to-back double bogeys. His rollercoaster three days resulted in a tie for 15th.
Castillo’s day included nine bogeys and three birdies. The sophomore’s six-over-par 78 falters behind the 4-under-par 68 he carded Saturday. Castillo finished the tournament 7-over-par and tied for 24th.
Fred Biondi’s day started out strong. The redshirt sophomore entered the back half of the course at 1-under-par. However, things quickly unraveled. Biondi started the back-nine carding a bogey, quadruple bogey, bogey and a triple bogey.
The Brazil native added another bogey, a double bogey and a birdie in the last five holes to finish the round 10-over-par. He finished in a tie for 49th and shot 11-over-par.
Finally, Joe Pagdin shot 8-over-par in the final round and carded six bogeys and a quadruple bogey Sunday. He finished in 80th place, with a total score of 20-over-par.
Florida’s most consistent performer this weekend didn’t even have his score count. Sophomore John DuBois competed as an individual in Baton Rouge and shot 5-over-par. He tied for 15th along with Lin and Wilkes, and his worst round was just 4-over-par.
The Gators weren’t the only team to struggle this weekend. The University Club’s terrain dropped the average score to 75.68, nearly a 4-over-par average. The 18th hole proved the most difficult and collected 28 double bogeys and a staggering 124 bogeys over the three days.
No team shot below 12-over-par, and only three teams dipped below 20-over-par.
“I feel fortunate to have been humbled in February instead of April/May,” head coach J.C. Deacon said. “This team is built to win championships and we will use today to our advantage.”
Florida will have some time to regroup before its next tournament. The Gators don’t take the course again for another two weeks until they play in the Tiger Invitational on March 15-17.
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.