University of Florida mens golf team held off hard-charging Kentucky by three strokes to bring home the tournament title at the 2005 Gary Koch Invitational on Tuesday afternoon. Trailing by 11 strokes entering the day, the Wildcats narrowed the gap with a team total of 279. However, it was not enough to catch the Gators, who established a tournament record by shooting a 24-under-par score of 840 (277-276-287).
Head coach Buddy Alexanders squad emerged victorious for the fourth time in the events seven-year existence and claimed its first championship hardware at the Old Memorial Golf Club since winning three in a row from 2000-02.
I think that the biggest positive was our freshmen coming through and playing well with the tournament on the line, Alexander said. You have to give Kentucky a little tip of the hat. I thought they played a great round when the course was playing a little harder.
Kentucky senior Matt Kohn shot a 7-under-par final-round 65 to overcome a six-stroke deficit to become the individual medalist. He entered the day in a four-way log-jam for 10th place and completed the tournament with a score of 207 (-9; 72-70-65) to match Floridas Camilo Villegas for the second-lowest total in the tournaments history. Current Gator Matt Every holds the standard with a 205 (-11) performance in 2003.
Every kept the Gators lead intact late during the final round by carding a 3-under-par 69. He tied for second place with teammate Toby Ragland, who shot a 73 after beginning the day with a two-shot advantage on the 60-player field.
Big-time players step up and thats what Matt did for us today, Alexander said. He was our leader and put us in a position where we could hang on, because it got dicey out there. The fact that we were able to finish this tournament off was a positive thing.
By finishing as runner-up, Every earned his third top-5 finish in three tournaments this season. Ragland, playing in his first collegiate tournament, finished with a 209 (69-67-73). On the back-nine, Ragland made par on the final four holes to seal the Gator victory.
Senior James Vargas earned his first top-10 finish of the season by delivering an even-par 72 on Tuesday. Vargas, who held the lead after the first round, finished the tournament tied for seventh with a 212 (67-73-72). Freshman Billy Horschel also earned a top-10 finish with a tournament total of 213 (72-68-73). Brett Stegmaier rounded out the Gator lineup by placing in a tie for 20th. Stegmaier had scores of 71-71-76 and finished two-over-par for the tournament.