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)