Two weeks after a disappointing first event of the spring, the Florida men’s golf team rebounded in a big way on Monday at the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas.

The No. 7 Gators finished the day in first place at 6 under, putting them three strokes ahead of UNLV, the tournament’s host.

UF was led by freshman John Axelsen, who finished the day at 3 under. Axelsen, who was penciled into the fifth spot of the Gators’ lineup, ended the day in a tie for fifth place on the individual leaderboard.

Senior Alejandro Tosti, the defending SEC champion, struggled mightily. Coach J.C. Deacon demoted Tosti to the third spot in Florida’s lineup ahead of the event, and Tosti didn’t do much to help his chances of regaining the Gators’ second spot. He shot 2 over, putting him in a tie for 41st overall and last among Florida’s golfers.

Joining Axelsen in a tie for fifth was fellow freshman Won Jun Lee. However, Lee was not included in Gators’ five-man lineup and is instead competing at the event as an individual.

The Southern Highlands is Florida’s sixth event of 2017-18 and features 16 teams competing at the Southern Highlands Golf Club. Eight of the teams competing are ranked in the top 25 of the Golfweek rankings.

Florida assistant coach Mark Leon was impressed by his team’s significant lead after the first day of a tournament with such a competitive field.

"We got off to a nice start today and executed our game plan as well as we could have hoped for,” Leon said in a release. “The boys did a great job of selecting targets and adjusting to the firm and fast conditions.”

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