The No. 1 University of Florida mens golf team closed out its second round match against No. 14 Texas before going on to defeat No. 5 Georgia Tech 3-1-1 Saturday at the Hooters Mens Match Play Collegiate Championship at Barefoot Resort.
Senior Camilo Villegas tied Jeff Bell of Texas on the last hole to win 1-up and give the Gators a 3-2 win in closing the second round. Against Georgia Tech in the third round, sophomores Ryan Cochran and Brett Stegmaier and freshman Jessie Mudd won matches to lead Florida into the tournament championship against No. 12 UNLV on Sunday.
'Were having a good week here so far,' Florida coach Buddy Alexander said. 'This tournament is kind of exciting because of the format and it lends itself to close finishes and excitement. The kids are playing hard and well at the right time.'
Stegmaiers win against Kevin Larsen of Georgia Tech, who was rated as the No. 48 player in the nation in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, prevented a playoff and gave the Gators the clinching 3-1-1 win. Stegmaier fell behind by as many as two holes, but rebounded to tie things up on the 16th hole before winning the last two.
'Brett was the hero today,' Alexander said. 'He could have lost those last two holes and then Camilo would have gone into a playoff, but he gutted it out and pulled out a win.'
At the time, Cochran and Mudd had already wrapped up wins for the Gators. Cochran defeated Georgia Techs Chan Wongluekiet 7-and-6 and led the entire way, as did Mudd, who beat Michael Barbosa 5-and-4.
Villegas halved with Thomas Jordan of Georgia Tech after leading for much of the match. Jordan fought back to a tie at hole No. 17 and the two each shot a five on the final hole.
Sophomore Matt Every dropped his first match of the tournament, 3-and-2, to the No. 21 player in the country in Georgia Techs Roberto Castro.
UNLV and Florida will square off for the championship Sunday morning with the teams set to tee off at 8:30 AM.