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Saturday, March 02, 2024
Florida senior John DuBois lines up a putt in at the Vystar Credit Union Gators Invitational Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023.
Florida senior John DuBois lines up a putt in at the Vystar Credit Union Gators Invitational Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023.

The Gators earned the No. 3 seed in Saturday’s quarterfinals after they finished in the top eight Friday. 

The No. 7 Florida men’s golf team traveled to St. Simons, Georgia, to compete in the Southeastern Conference Championship tournament Wednesday.

After 54 holes of play, the top eight teams earned spots in the quarterfinals and semifinals set to take place Saturday and Sunday. 

The Gators finished round one in seventh at Sea Island Golf Club. The team shot a three-under-par 280 in round one with eight strokes separating it from the tournament leader — Texas A&M — which was 11-under-par. 

Florida was paired with Auburn in round one Wednesday.

Senior Fred Biondi carried Florida with a bogey-free round of three-under-par 70. This marked his career-best at the conference championship. Tied for fifth in round one, he was three shots away from the solo lead. 

Senior Yuxin Lin was right behind Biondi. Lin shot his team-leading 16th under-par round. He shot a two-under-par 70 with one bogey on hole 18. The senior made a birdie on the 13th hole to move Florida into a tie for third. The team overall was six shots out of the lead. Lin was tied for 11th individually. 

Senior John Dubois was under par as well. He shot a one-under-par 70 to tie for 23rd. 

Redshirt freshman Matthew Kress made his post season debut and recorded the first birdie on hole one. He was tied for 58th individually with a score of four-over-par 70 after round one.

The Gators climbed to third in round two Thursday. They were then paired with Arkansas and Tennessee Friday.

Senior Rickey Castillo and Kress led the Gators. They each shot a seven-under-par 280. This was the lowest round of the day and the fourth lowest of the tournament.

Castillo shot the second-lowest round with a four-under-par 70 to make the lowest round of his career at the conference tournament. His performance in round two jumped him 31 spots to tie for 22nd individually. His three birdies in a row from holes 14 to 16, resulted in a seven-shot improvement from round one. 

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Kress set a career-best with a round of three-under-par 70. He went bogey-free through the majority of round two with a pair of birdies on holes 11 and 12. The redshirt freshman wrapped up the round with a birdie on hole 18, which marked only the tenth of the event. Kress was the sixth golfer to record a birdie on that hole Thursday.

Florida teed off with Alabama and Texas A&M Friday as it fought for a spot in the top eight. 

Kress picked up where he left off in round two. He had back-to-back birdies to start the round; Florida was 12-under-par. He finished the final round one-under and tied for 19th. 

The Gators dropped to fourth before they regained the No. 3 spot from rounds 13 to 15. Castillo tied for eighth in individual play, while the team took third overall. 

Florida will compete in the quarterfinals Saturday morning against Ole Miss. The semifinals will be streamed live on SECN+, and the finals will air Sunday.

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

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