The Florida Gators men’s golf team came up just short against Alabama in match play as they fell 3-2.
The Gators placed seventh in stroke play Tuesday at the SEC Fall Preview and forced match play with the Crimson Tide Wednesday before UF fell 3-2.
UF finished day one of stroke play (-11). The Gators collected themselves after a slow start to finish with a 13-shot improvement from round one to two.
Sophomore Matthew Kress led the Gators on day one of the Fall Preview. Kress shot back-to-back rounds in the 60s. This marked the third time out of four rounds of play this season he has accomplished this feat.
Kress would later go on to finish his opening day (T8) at 7-under.
A trio of Gators finished with subpar performances in their first rounds. However, they later regrouped to improve their scores. Sophomore Parker Bell came back from a (73) in round one to post a (68) in the second round.
Fifth year John DuBois made a six-shot improvement in the second round for a (70). Meanwhile, freshman Luke Poulter had an impressive performance in his second collegiate outing as he shot a (67) in round two. This was a five-stroke improvement from Poulter’s previous round.
Bell finished day one (T24). Not far behind was Poulter, who finished (T31). Rounding out the lineup was DuBois and junior Ian Gilligan who both tied for 59th.
The Gators shot a 279 (-5) as a team to finish 16-under through 36 holes of stroke play. Auburn won the stroke play portion at the end of day two shooting a combined 41-under.
Round three marked the third straight round Kress finished with a score in the 60s. He concluded stroke play a team-best (T6) at 9-under. He’s made 17 birdies through 36 holes in his five rounds this season.
Bell kept his momentum going in round three as he shot a career-low 4-under 67. The sophomore’s impressive third round led to a (T17) performance. Poulter finished even for the stroke play portion (T34).
Rounding out the Gators in stroke play was Gilligan (T44) shooting 2-under 69 on the day while DuBois finished day two (T63).
In the final round of the SEC Fall Preview, Florida faced Alabama in match play. The Gators took their first loss in SEC match play since the 2022 SEC Championship Finals. UF is now 9-2 in its last 11 matches.
Kress tallied the first point for the Gators after a 5 & 4 victory over Alabama senior Thomas Ponder. After losing the first hole of the match, Kress bounced back to win six of the next 13 holes without taking a loss in the remainder of the matchup.
The Gators used this momentum to go up 2-0 after Bell’s 6 & 4 win over Crimson Tide senior JP Cave. Bell notched two streaks of three straight wins and only lost two holes along the way.
The Crimson Tide quickly responded as they caught fire in the three remaining matches. Alabama would go on to take the next three matchups 3 & 2, 2 & 1 and 1 up for the match play victory.
UF continues their Fall schedule Oct. 15-16 as they travel to the Williams Cup in Wilmington, North Carolina. The two-day tournament at Eagle Point Golf Club will be a 54-hole event.
Contact Max @email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MaxTuckerUF25.
Max Tucker is a junior transfer student at UF. After obtaining his A.A. in Journalism from Santa Fe College in 2023, he chose further his education at Florida's College of Journalism and Communications. Max is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Journalism with a specialization in sports and media. He enjoys golfing and going to the beach with his friends in his free time. Max will be covering the Gators Golf teams this Fall for The Alligator.