The Gators men’s golf team struggled out of the gate in the SEC Championship Wednesday and shot 6-over-par. They are tied for ninth place with Missouri and Texas A&M and are 11 shots back of the leading Georgia Bulldogs.
Freshman Joe Pagdin shone among the field despite the collective disappointment from Florida. The England native shot a 2-under-par 68 and is in a tie for fifth place individually.
Pagdin carded five birdies and three bogeys in the round, and he is four shots behind the leader entering round two. The freshman’s five birdies were the third most in the field.
Sophomore Ricky Castillo entered the week as UF’s No. 1 golfer, but the California native did not live up to that title in round one.
Castillo started out hot and was two under entering the second half of the course. However, two double bogeys dropped his round total to a 2-over-par 72 and put him in a tie for 33rd
Sophomore Yuxin Lin and freshman Tyler Wilkes both shot 3-over-par in the opening round. Both golfers knocked down two birdies, but Lin also carded five bogeys while Wilkes finished with three bogeys and a double bogey. They each are tied for 44th.
Redshirt sophomore Fred Biondi brought up the rear for the Gators and shot an 8-over-par 78 to position himself in a tie for 65th.
Florida was near the bottom of the pack statistically as well. They averaged the third-worst score on par-3s (3.30) and par-4s (4.23) for the round.
The Gators have some work to do to play themselves back into contention. They are one stroke out of the top eight, and the top eight teams make the match play tournament over the weekend.
The Seaside Course at the Sea Island Golf Club proved itself worthy to host the conference title tournament in round one. Players averaged just over 2-over-par and carded 237 bogeys and 36 double bogeys Wednesday. The par-3 third hole played the toughest, as golfers averaged a 3.41 score and knocked down just two birdies on the 204-yard hole.
UF will attempt to tighten up the ship Thursday, as it tees off at 9 a.m. Biondi leads the team off the 10th hole. Live updates are available at Golfstat.com.
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.