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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Castillo leads Gators to an even-par opening round at regionals

Florida sits in the middle of the pack at the conclusion of the opening day of the NCAA Regionals in Washington.

<p>Florida Head Coach J.C. Deacon and his team sit in a tie for eighth after the opening round of regionals in Washington.</p>

Florida Head Coach J.C. Deacon and his team sit in a tie for eighth after the opening round of regionals in Washington.

The mark of a great golf team is consistency, from the star player to the fifth man. 

The Florida men’s golf team lacked consistency on Monday. 

The Gators sit in a tie for eighth with the University of Denver after an even-par 284 first round at Tumble Creek Golf Club in Cle Elum, Washington. 

Florida has two more opportunities to climb back into contention and will need to start putting up under-par rounds if they expect to advance to the NCAA Championships. 

Ricky Castillo, fresh off a strong showcase during the 2021 Walker Cup, led the Gators on Monday with a 3-under-par 68. The sophomore climbed all the way to a tie for fourth on the individual leaderboard, with a spotless scorecard until a bogey on the closing hole. 

Yuxin Lin put together a solid round for Florida Monday. The transfer joined Castillo as the only Gators to card an under-par opening round. He bogeyed his opening hole for his only misstep of the day. A 1-under-par 70 put Lin in a tie for 15th. 

Florida led the regional in total pars after the first day with 62. Lin made 15 in his round and Castillo came home with 13. 

Junior Giovanni Manzoni and Freshman Tyler Wilkes both found themselves in a tie for 43rd following 2-over-par 73s. 

Wilkes strung together nine-straight pars to open the day, but a rollercoaster back nine left him over-par. The Tampa, Florida, native bogeyed 12 and 13 to fall behind the pace. He made up for the blunders with back-to-back birdies to get his card back to even, but he struggled to close the day with two more bogeys on 16 and 17. 

Despite four birdies on the day, Manzoni found trouble on a few holes, his largest blunder coming on the par-3 11th. The Italian entered the hole even par and left 3-over after a triple bogey. 

On Friday, Joe Pagdin was named SEC Freshman of the Year. On Monday, he shot a team worst 4-over-par 75. 

Pagdin will need to have short memory entering the final two days of play, especially on holes five and 13. The Englishman triple bogeyed both holes to plague an otherwise solid day of golf. 

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No. 6 Wake Forest and No. 25 San Francisco lead the tournament at 6-under-par with 36 holes to play. 

Only the top five teams and the top individual not on an advancing team will move on to the NCAA Championship.

Florida will look to get back on track when play continues Tuesday. Pagdin leads the Gators off the tee at 11:55 a.m. eastern time. Live scoring can be found at golfstat.com. `

Contact Joseph Henry at jhenry@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @Josephhenry2424

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