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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Three Gators earn SEC honors ahead of regionals

Joe Pagdin was named SEC freshman of the year and headlines an All-freshman team that includes fellow Gator Tyler Wilkes. Sophomore Ricky Castillo earned second-team all-SEC honors.

<p>Freshman Joe Pagdin practices at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Pagdin was awarded SEC Freshman of the Year Friday.</p>

Freshman Joe Pagdin practices at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Pagdin was awarded SEC Freshman of the Year Friday.

The Southeastern Conference announced its end-of season honors Friday, and three of Florida's most consistent golfers were highlighted. 

Joe Pagdin and Tyler Wilkes received nods to the All-Freshman team, and Pagdin leads the group as Freshman of the Year. Ricky Castillo was also recognized and named to the All-SEC Second Team.

The three Gators honored are the only members of the Florida men’s golf team to appear in the lineup for every single event this season. 

Englishman Joe Pagdin is the second Gator in a row to be named SEC Freshman of the Year. He follows in the footsteps of Castillo who took home the title for the 2019-20 season. Pagdin is the 10th Gator to receive the honor and the third to do so during JC Deacon’s tenure as head coach. 

Pagdin recorded a team-best finish three times in his first season with the Gators. He finished in the top-10 on three occasions during his freshman campaign. His best finish came in the last regular season tournament, shooting 1-under par and tying for fifth at the Calusa Cup. 

From just down the road in Tampa, Florida, Tyler Wilkes was a welcome addition to the Gators team. His freshman year was filled with many accolades including a SEC Freshman of the Week. At the LSU Invitational, his tie for 15th finish led the Gators and marked a season-best finish for Wilkes.  

Castillo was the firm foundation for Florida. He placed in the top-25 six times this season and held the lowest scoring average on the team, 71.38. 

His amazing play at the Gators Invitational, including a third-round 64, led the team to win their home tournament for the second straight year. The Yorba Linda, California, native also paces the team with 87 birdies over 24 rounds of play. 

Beyond his play with the Gators, Castillo put together an impressive weekend at the 2021 Walker Cup. His undefeated record in match play was a major boost to the United States defeating Great Britain and Ireland. 

Castillo, Wilkes and Pagdin lead Florida into Cle Elum, Washington, for the NCAA Regional from May 17 to May 19. The Gators hope to extend their postseason and earn a bid to the NCAA Championship. 

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

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