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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Florida men’s golf secures win at Sea Best Invitational

Gators men’s golf team takes first place for sixth time at Sea Best Invitational

Senior Fred Biondi follows through on his swing at the Sea Best Invitational Monday, Jan. 30, 2023.
Senior Fred Biondi follows through on his swing at the Sea Best Invitational Monday, Jan. 30, 2023.

The Florida Gators men’s golf team traveled to compete in their season opener at the Sea Best Invitational in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Monday.

The Gators sat in fourth place after day one. The team shot a 287 in round one- and a 283 in round two. Florida trailed Charleston by three strokes before it came back on day two to secure the win.

Florida ended the tournament in first — with a score of 14-under-par 826 — at the Sea Best Invitational for the sixth time in history competing in the tournament.

The first hole of the Spring season was a birdie from junior Tyler Wilkes, who finished the first day in 12th. Wilkes was tied with two of his teammates: redshirt freshman Matthew Kress and senior Yuxin Lin. 

Florida senior Fred Biondi’s even finish placed him inside the top ten.. He scored a two-under-par in the second round to bounce back from two-over-par in the first. Biondi started the second set of 18 with a bogey, followed by three birdies and 14 pars. 

The senior tied for 21st with his teammate, senior Ricky Castillo, who was two-under-par in his first round. 

The Gators went one-under-par, holding a five-stroke lead after round one; they finished round two five-under-par. In the lead was Giovanni Manzoni. 

Senior John Dubois followed up Manzoni. The senior was a stroke back from Manzoni on day one and tied with redshirt freshman Miguel Leal for second. 

Leal shot four-under in the first round. His score had him one stroke away from tying for the seventh-lowest all-time score by a freshman. The score was last set by Castillo at the Sea Best in 2020.

Manzoni took third after battling with Castillo and Biondi. 

Biondi won medalist honors after battling in a playoff with Castillo. He had a six-under, the lowest in the tournament, behind his birdie on hole 18 that forced the playoff. After his one bogey of the day, he birdied six of the next 14 holes. The victory marked the third of his collegiate career.

Gators freshman Parker Bell and sophomore Ryan Hart both recorded their season-best rounds during the invitational as well.

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As a team, the Gators had eight players finish in the top 25. Their nine-under-par in the final round tied for their second-lowest round of the year. 

This victory marks Florida’s 17th win under head coach J.C. Deacon and seventh in the last three seasons. 

Florida continues its Spring season at the Vystar Credit Union Gators Invitational Feb. 11 at  the Mark Bostic Golf Course. 

Contact Madilyn Destefano at mdestefano@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @DestefanoMadi.

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