The Gators hosted 14 teams at Mark Bostick golf course over the weekend for the 45th annual Vystar Gators Invitational. Florida once again capitalized on the strong advantage, claiming the tournament trophy for the 28th time.
Florida shot 28-under-par as a team, placing themselves 12 strokes ahead of second place finisher Oklahoma State. The No. 3 Cowboys battled with UF through three rounds, but ultimately fell short Sunday.
Individual accomplishments varied over the weekend, but redshirt junior Fred Biondi drew the biggest crowd. He tied a tournament record set in 2001 by shooting 14-under-par. The previous record was set by Camilo Benedetti.
Biondi especially wowed the gallery Sunday, shooting his career best (63) with an impressive birdie streak on holes seven through nine. The junior notched a one last birdie on hole 18 to officially match the record.
The São Paulo, Brazil, native had his family and many friends in attendance to witness his record matching feat.
“It means a lot to win on our home track in front of my family and friends,” Biondi said. “Winning any golf tournament feels good, but winning our home event and most importantly helping the team win is awesome.”
Biondi wasn’t the only Gator among the top of the leaderboard Sunday. Junior Ricky Castillo was the invitational’s individual runner-up shooting 10-under-par. Junior Yuxin Lin placed seventh, shooting 5-under-par. Redshirt sophomore Quentin Debove capped off the top-UF finishers, tying for 10th and recording a 2-under-par tournament.
Florida posted its third lowest score at the Gators Invitational under head coach J.C. Deacon. He largely attributes the dominant victory to his team playing on a recognizable course.
“They love this place,” Deacon said. “We play a lot of golf here. It’s our home. We’re really proud of it. The guys stepped up this week because it is important to them to protect their home turf.”
The Gators will stick around for more practice time at Bostick before heading out to Las Vegas Feb. 27. Florida will participate in the Southern Highlands Invitational, its seventh tournament of the season.
Contact Lillian Randolph at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lillyrrandolph.