The No. 18 University of Florida men's golf team came from six strokes back in the final round of play to win the 2005 Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship on Tuesday afternoon at the Sawgrass Country Club by five strokes over second round leader Alabama.
By posting a tournament-best team round of 280 (-8), the Gators claimed their second tournament win of the season with a three-round 10-over par team score of 874. The win marks the second time this season the Gators have overcome a deficit entering the final round of play and the first time this season the Gators have come back to win a tournament when trailing by more than five strokes.
'It's always fun for a coach to watch his team come from behind and play well when the tournament is on the line,' Head Coach Buddy Alexander said. 'I think this tournament victory validates our win at the Gator Invitational a little more because we weren't playing on our home course.'
Junior Matt Every (Daytona Beach, Fla.) carded rounds of 71-73-71=215 (-1) to earn his third career tournament individual title and the first of the 2004-05 season. With the win, Every earns Florida's 64th all-time individual tournament title and moves into a tie for fifth-place all-time in individual wins.
'Matt played solid all week,' Alexander said. 'Coming off his worst tournament of the season, it's great to see him make adjustments and comeback and play so well.'
Despite beginning the day in a tie for 19th-place, junior Brett Stegmaier (Madison, Conn.) responded on the final day of competition as he carded tournament scores of 73-76-70=219 (+3) to finish in a tie for sixth-place and earn his second consecutive top-10 individual finish.
Leading the Florida charge in the final round was redshirt senior transfer Richard Treis (Baden-Baden, Germany) as he fired a tournament-low and season-best round score of 67 (-5) to give him a three-day six-over par total of 222. Treis' final round effort rewarded him with his second straight top-20 finish, as he finished in a tie for 19th-place.
'Richard was a huge factor in our comeback today,' Alexander said. 'It took a lot of courage and trust to bounce back and play so well after struggling so much the day before. If there were a game ball to give out for today's round, you'd have to give it to Richard for his performance down the stretch.'
By carding tournament scores of 75-74-75=224 (+8), junior Ryan Cochran (Paducah, Ky.) remained consistent for the Gators and tied for 32nd-place.
Junior James Vargas (Miami, Fla.) saved his best for last as he shaved seven strokes off his second round score of 79 to record an even par score of 72 on the final day of play to give him a 10-over par tournament total score of 226.
Playing as an individual, senior Duke Butler (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) improved in the final round as he carded a four-over par score of 76 to give him a 17-over par overall score of 233 and a tie for 73rd-place for the three-day event.
The Gators will return to action on Sunday, Feb. 27 as they travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Classic hosted by Purdue at the Rio Mar Resort.