It was clear entering Sunday’s third round of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Florida needed to kick it into high-gear. However, the Gators opted to shift into reverse.
Florida entered the third round of play in Scottsdale, Arizona, in a tie for 22nd and seven strokes back of the top-15 cut for Monday’s final round. After a mediocre final 18 holes with all five UF golfers carding over-par scores, the Gators held 22nd by themselves at 40-over-par, their season now over.
Ricky Castillo continued to be the only glimmer of consistency in the Gators’ lineup. The sophomore never lost his grasp on the course over the first three rounds of stroke play and played the four par-3s to a 2.75 average, tied for the lowest in the tournament. A 2-over-par 72 dropped him to 1-over-par for the tournament, but the California native will advance to Monday as an individual in a tie for 16th.
Joe Pagdin put together his best round of the weekend early on. He avoided major missteps and balanced two birdies with two bogeys for an even-par first 15 holes until the final stretch of Grayhawk Golf Club retaliated. The SEC freshman of the year collapsed and finished his round with three straight bogeys and a 3-over-par 73. His 13-over-par tournament landed him a tie for 115th.
Giovanni Manzoni also had a few holes derail his afternoon. The junior made 13 pars on Sunday, but double bogeys on the second and the 18th bookended his day and tarnished the 3-over 73. A 16-over-par tournament slid the Italian into a tie for 123rd.
Yuxin Lin was the only Gator who matched Castillo’s output the opening two rounds. The USC transfer kept pace as Florida’s second best golfer in the tournament at just 3-over for the week, yet his Sunday undid all his hard work.
Lin began strong with a birdie and four pars through the first five holes, but four bogeys in his next six holes turned a sublime start into a slow bleed. He played his final four holes in 6-over, including back-to-back doubles on 15 and 16, to solidify the damage. His 8-over-par 78 was the worst round of the day for the Gators and his second-worst round of 2021. Despite the messy third round, the sophomore came in under the century mark individually with an 11-over-par to finish in a tie for 90th.
Following a Saturday meltdown from freshman Tyler Wilkes, head coach JC Deacon threw alternate John DuBois into the NCAA Championship fire. The sophomore could not find a birdie all day and finished his round with a 5-over-par 75 after a closing double-bogey.
The failure to make the top-15 signifies the end to Floirda’s 2020-21 campaign. Castillo will sport the orange and blue for another round on Monday before the team departs back to the Sunshine State.
Live stats on Castillo’s individual round will be available on Golfstat.com.
Contact Joseph Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Josephhenry2424