Fred Biondi

Redshirt sophomore Fred Biondi (pictured) and freshman Joe Pagdin are currently tied for 12th individually at the Vanderbilt Legends Collegiate.

The Gators men’s golf team is in striking distance of the lead after the first round of competition.

The team is 7-under-par after the first round of play in the Vanderbilt Legends Collegiate. The Gators are in eighth place but just six strokes back from the leader, Vanderbilt.

Florida had just 19 combined birdies on the day, the fifth least in the field. However, it  drained 59 pars, good for the third-most out of the 14 teams competing. 

Individually, Florida was led by freshman Joe Pagdin and redshirt sophomore Fred Biondi. They both shot a 3-under-par 68, good enough to be tied for 12th place. Pagdin started the day with back-to-back birdies, knocking down six total on the afternoon.

Biondi was more consistent than Pagdin on Sunday, with four birdies to just one bogey. They both are four shots back of the leader, Mizzou redshirt freshman Ross Steelman.

Junior Giovanni Manzoni is 2-under-par and tied for 20th. Florida’s No. 1 golfer, sophomore Ricky Castillo, struggled early in this round. He was 3-over-par after the first nine holes but recovered on the back half. He birdied twice and now sits at 1-over-par, tied for 45th.

If Florida is to make a run, it will need freshman Tyler Wilkes to find his swing from The Blessings Collegiate Invitational, where he led the Gators in scoring. He finished that tournament in the top 30, but is currently tied for 61st after a 3-over-par round.

The Gators will tee off in the second round Monday morning. Live scoring will be updated throughout the round on Golfstat.com.

Contact Michael Hull at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Michael_Hull33.