Gordon Neale

Gordon Neale led the team in the first round of the NCAA Kissimmee Regional alongside teammate Andy Zhang.

Faced with over an hour of rain delays at the Watson Course at Reunion Resort, the Florida men’s golf team didn’t allow the weather affect its postseason aspirations.

Instead, the Gators jumped out to a tie for first place at 12 under after Day 1 of the NCAA Kissimmee Regional on Monday, thanks to top-10 performances from three of its players.

Sophomore Andy Zhang (tied for fifth), junior Gordon Neale (tied for fifth) and freshman John Axelsen (tied for ninth) combined for 14 birdies and just three bogeys.

“Obviously, a very nice start for the Gators today,” coach J.C. Deacon said in a release. “It was fun watching our guys prepare for and enjoy some tough conditions.”

Zhang shot an even par on the front nine, failing to record a birdie or bogey. The rain delay seemed to help the sophomore on the back  nine, as he recorded four birdies to end his day at 4 under.

Neale’s day was almost the same. After sinking three birdies on the first nine holes, he carded a bogey on the 12th hole before tallying back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes. Neale also finished at 4 under.

Axelsen started his day with two consecutive birdies. He totaled five on the day but shot two bogies on the back nine. He is currently at 3 under.

Freshman Chris Nido also shot under par, finishing at 1 under on the day. While his card was mostly consisted of pars, he recorded two birdies and a bogey over the opening round.

While everyone else found success on the course, senior Alejandro Tosti faltered a bit. A bogey on the fourth hole was immediately followed by a double bogey on the fifth. He responded with two birdies and a bogey to finish the day and limit the damage to 2 over.

“Adversity just isn’t that big of a deal anymore,” Deacon said. “We have a long way to go, but today was a great foundation to build on. I’m excited to see us play even better.”

You can follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake or contact him at [email protected].org.

Jake Dreilinger is the online sports editor of the Alligator and covers the University of Florida men's basketball team. He has previously covered baseball, lacrosse, men's and women's golf and women's tennis. He has worked at the paper since Fall 2015.