Gators Dominate Atlanta Intercollegiate
ATLANTA, Ga. -- The No. 5 University of Florida men's golf team broke a school-record and tied another, while winning its second consecutive tournament this spring at the Atlanta Intercollegiate Friday. The Gators shot a final round 17-under-par 271 at the Forest Heights Golf Course to match the school-record for the best competitive round by par. The round was part of the UF's three-round total of 828 (-36), which set a new school-record for best tournament total by par.
Florida's 828 was 20-strokes better than No. 1 Clemson's second-place score of 848 (-16). It marked the first time in seven tournaments this season that the Gators finished ahead of the Tigers in the team standings. Clemson has been the top-ranked team in the nation throughout the course of the entire fall and spring seasons.
'We had another spectacular round as a team today,' said Gator Head Coach Buddy Alexander, who won his 62nd career tournament as a coach, including his 49th as the head of the Gators' program. 'We couldn't pick a better time of year to be playing our best golf as a group.'
Junior Camilo Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) also made history on the day as he won the individual title with a 22-under 194. After shooting back-to-back 66s during the first day, Villegas did even better by shooting a tournament-record 62 (-10) in the third round. It was Villegas' sixth career medalist title, which moved him into sole possession of second-place in UF history for career titles. Villegas, a 2003 All-Southeastern Conference second-team selection, is only one individual title away from Chris DiMarco's mark of seven career wins. Villegas also won the individual championship at the Inverness Invitational in the fall to mark the second time in as many seasons that he has won multiple titles in the same season. He has also won at least once in each of his first three seasons at UF.
'Camilo was just outstanding in this tournament,' Alexander added. 'He was in a slump for most of the spring and we've been waiting for him to return. It's great to see him back and playing the way I know he can play. I'm really happy for the guy, because he deserves it.'
Following Villegas was freshman Matt Every (Daytona Beach, Fla.), who turned in the highest finish of his young career with a tie for ninth at 212 (-4). After having a rough first round which saw him shoot a +3 (75), Every rebounded by shooting a 70 (-2) in the second round on Thursday. Just like Villegas, Every's third round score was even lower, as he shot a 5-under 67. He also became the sixth different Gator golfer to finish in the top-10 of a tournament this season.
After Every were fellow freshmen James Vargas (Miami, Fla.) and Brett Stegmaier (Madison, Conn.), who finished tied for 17th and 21st respectively. Vargas' third round score mirrored his second round, as he shot an even-par 72 to finish at -1 (215). Competing in his first tournament since winning the SEC individual title two weeks ago, Stegmaier did not get off to a great start in the first round by shooting a 79 (+7). But the 2003 All-SEC first-team selection showed poise by shooting a 68 (-4) in the second round, and followed that up with an impressive 2-under 70 in the final day to finish at +1 (217).
Senior Jordan Code (Tampa, Fla.) also had a strong tournament by finishing tied for 23rd at 218 (+2). Code shot a final round 74 (+2) Friday after shooting rounds of 69 (-3) and 75 (+3) on Thursday.
UF will be back in action next weekend, as the Gators take part in the NCAA East Regional at the Auburn University Club, May 15-17, in Auburn, Ala. Each day's round will begin at 9 AM. The top-10 teams from the regional will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held at the Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla., May 27-30.
1. FLORIDA 281-276-271=828 (-36)
2. Clemson 288-279-281=848 (-16)
3. College of Charleston 273-292-284=849 (-15)
4. Georgia State 276-282-296=854 (-10)
5. Augusta State 278-287-290=855 (-9)
6. Georgia 287-284-293=864 (E)
7. Auburn 289-289-292=870 (+6)
8. UAB 289-295-296=880 (+16)
9. Vanderbilt 296-287-298=881 (+17)
10. Louisville 298-295-298=891 (+27)
11. Florida State 295-297-313=905 (+41)
12. Mississippi State 309-323-300=932 (+68)
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.
Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.
Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim.
Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.
Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday
SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.
“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”
So was Woods.
DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.
“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”
Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.
“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.
“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”
Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.
“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.
“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”
Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.
With blinders on, Rahm within reach of No. 1 at Torrey
SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.
The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.
Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.
It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.
“It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”
Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.
According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.
“I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”
Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.
And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.
As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.
He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.
“I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”
If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.
Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.
“I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”
Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.
Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.
“If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.
Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.