The Florida men’s golf team saw its second action of the season this past weekend, traveling up north Friday through Sunday. The Gators tied for runner-up at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite in Olympia Fields, Illinois.
Seniors Ricky Catstillo and Yuxin Lin led the lineup on day one with 2-under-par rounds. Castillo started the morning with a birdie on the par-5 first hole and was 3-under-par through his opening six holes. The duo tied for third lowest first round in reside T5.
Senior Fred Biondi finished even par on day one, good for T13. He used a late birdie on hole 15 to finish 1-under on the back nine. The Gators shot a 3-under-par 277 as a team to own a six-stroke lead over fourth-place Oklahoma State. Florida was one of the three teams to shoot under-par in the opening round, joining the leaders Stanford and host Illinois, who sat at 10-under-par and 9-under-par respectively.
Castillo stayed consistent in round two, carding another 2-under-par 68. He finished the day still tied for fourth. He, and Biondi, birdied the first hole. The Gators momentarily cut the Cardinal lead to four strokes, but it was as close as they would come. He shot a 68 Friday to mark his fourth in six total rounds this year.
Senior John Dubois had a rough start to his second day, shooting 5-over-par on the front nine. He bounced back at the turn, however, and went 2-under-par the rest of the way with only one bogey on hole 18. Other Florida golfers struggled on day two, Lin shot a 4-over-par 74 to drop into a tie for 15th while Biondi ended with a 5-over-par 75 to tie for 37th.
As a team, the Gators finished round two of the tournament in fourth. Stanford continued to easily lead the field at 9-under with Arizona State in third and Illinois in second.
On the final day of competition, Castillo posted his fourth under-par round this season. He shot another 2-under-par 68 to end 6-under overall at Olympia Fields.
Castillo went bogey free on the back nine with birdies on holes 10 and 18. His 54 hole score of 204 was only three strokes away from tying ninth all-time last set in UF program history by Chris Nido in the 2019 NCAA Regional. Castillo tied for the tournament lead in birdies, making 12.
Lin, who finished tied for 15th, and Biondi, who finished tied for 20th, both placed in the top 25 for the second consecutive tournament. Biondi shot his lowest round, a 1-under-par 69, to jump 17 spots after the final round. Lin shot an even-par 70 Sunday, starting and ending his day with a birdie.
Florida shot a 1-under-par 279 in its final round to claim a tie for second with Illinois. The Gators and Fighting Illini finished 3-over-par for the tournament. Stanford ran away with the win after a dominant round one put it securely in first. The Cardinal ended on top with a 9-under-par 831.
Florida continues its fall season at the Southeastern Conference Match Play Championship Sept. 25-27 in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
Alyssa Britton-Harr is a first year journalism major. She is the Gator's golf men and women's beat reporter for The Alligator. When not reporting, Alyssa spends her time cheering on the Tampa Bay Bucs and Lightning as well as spending time with her friends and family.