With one victory and a third-place finish already in the books, the Florida mens golf team earned the No. 1 ranking in the country in the Precept Division I Coaches Poll as announced Wednesday evening.
The Gators, who debuted tied with Oklahoma State in the Precept preseason poll, moved ahead of defending national champion Clemson into the top spot with 12 of the 28 first-place votes and 667 total points. Clemson was 21 points behind and hauled in 11 first-place votes.
'Its certainly flattering that your peers would put you in this position so early on in the season,' coach Buddy Alexander said. 'But it is early in the season, so were just going to keep on working as hard as we can and doing the things that we do.'
So far, Florida is 20-2-1 in head-to-head competition with teams in the top 25 after the Gators opened its season on a high note by winning their second consecutive season-opening tournament with a victory at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate on Sept. 13-14. Florida followed up by tying with Clemson for third at the Ping and Golfweek NCAA Preview last weekend ' the site of the 2004 NCAA Championship.
Florida has been led by senior Camilo Villegas, whos making a bid to become just the fourth player in school history to earn All-America honors four times. He is also just one victory behind the school record for wins and entered the 2003-04 season as Floridas all-time leader in career stroke average. Villegas tied for second at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate and tied for 12th at the NCAA Preview.
Sophomore James Vargas has also more than helped the Gator cause with two top-20 finishes thus far in the season. He carded his second lifetime hole-in-one as well as a pair of eagles en route to finishing fourth at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate.
Freshman Jessie Mudd has also been a key contributor for Florida as he sported two top-15 finishes in the first two collegiate tournaments of his career.
The Gators return to action Oct. 3-5 when Florida travels to Dalton, Ga., for the Carpet Capital Collegiate at The Farm. The Gators will be seeking to open the season with their third-straight top-five finish for the first time since 1989.