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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Gators mediocre, Castillo thrives in day one of NCAA Championship

Ricky Castillo sits in a tie for fifth after a 2-under-par opening round

<p>Freshman Joe Pagdin walks through practice at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Pagdin is currently tied for 73rd at the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona.</p>

Freshman Joe Pagdin walks through practice at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Pagdin is currently tied for 73rd at the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Ricky Castillo shone brightly in Scottsdale, Arizona, Friday during the first round of the NCAA Championship. The rest of Florida’s roster, unfortunately, left work to do to advance beyond stroke play.

The sophomore carried the Gators at Greyhawk Golf Club and shot a 2-under-par 68 in the first round of competition to sit in a tie for fifth place in the individual competition.

The California native started out hot, knocking in four birdies against two bogeys on the first nine and making the turn at 2-under-par 33. He notched another birdie and bogey on his second nine to finish the day at 2-under. 

The rest of Florida’s lineup trailed behind Castillo, as the Gators shot 8-over-par as a unit to finish the day in a tie for 15th place. 

Yuxin Lin opened his round with back-to-back birdies, but the USC transfer couldn’t keep the momentum rolling. He bogeyed three of the last four holes on his front nine and carded five bogeys on the day. The sophomore is tied for 55th after a 2-over-par 72.

Freshman Joe Pagdin struggled out of the gates. The SEC Freshman of the Year bogeyed the opening hole, a dark omen for the rest of his round. He recovered with birdies on two of his next three holes, but failed to add another circle to his scorecard from there. He bogeyed four of his last 14 holes and finished day one with a 3-over-par 73. The English native found himself outside the top 70 individually, in a tie for 73rd.

Junior Giovanni Manzoni and freshman Tyler Wilkes brought up the rear for the Gators. Manzoni put up an uneven performance featuring two birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey for a 5-over-par 75. 

Wilkes, meanwhile, never found his swing in the opening round. He bogeyed five of his first seven holes and finished the day with 10 bogeys and just one birdie. Both competitors sit outside the top 100.

The Grayhawk Golf Club proved to be a formidable course for the NCAA Championship Friday. Texas Tech leads the field at just 4-under-par, and only three teams and 27 players broke par. Players averaged a 72.98, nearly 3-over-par, on the Raptor Course. 

The Gators will tee it up Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Live updates are available at

Contact Michael Hull at and follow him on Twitter @Michael_Hull33

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Michael Hull

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. 

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