Gainesville, FL -- Top-ranked Florida overcame sluggish conditions and gusty winds to shoot a final round 287 (+7) and win the 27th annual SunTrust Gator Invitational by 11 strokes over Alabama-Birmingham Sunday afternoon at the University Golf Course.
Florida earned its fourth tournament victory in six events this season -- the most by a Gator squad since the 2000-01 team also claimed four victories. Florida hasn't won more than four tournaments in a season since the 1995-96 team won six.
'This is kind of sweet,' Florida coach Buddy Alexander said. 'When you haven't won two years in a row after the success that we've had here through the years, I'd say that this tournament was a pretty good focal point for us this season. We didn't do anything spectacular, but we played solid golf and got out in front and played very consistently. I was proud of the team.'
UAB finished in second place at 19-over with three round scores of 283-286-290, while Kentucky rounded out the top three 285-287-294 = 866 (+26).
UAB junior Chris Cousins won his second tournament of the season after carding a final round 70 at the 70-par, 6,701-yard course. He finished at three under (207) and was the only player to conclude the tournament under par.
'It feels great and I was really pleased with how consistent I managed to play in this tournament,' Cousins said. 'I wasn't bothered by the weather because I usually play pretty well in these conditions back home.'
Tennessee's David Skinns finished second at 210 (E), while Georgia State's Kasper Jorgensen and Florida senior Camilo Villegas tied for third at 211 (+1). Jorgensen and Florida sophomore Matt Every were the only players in the field of 78 to shoot in the red on Sunday as each recorded scores of 69 (-1). Every posted his fourth top-10 finish in five tournaments this season after finishing tied for seventh at 213 (+3).
Sophomore Brett Stegmaier earned his first top-10 finish of the season by also placing in a tie for seventh at 213 (+3) after a final round score of 73. Junior Duke Butler IV carded a final round 72 to earn his first top 10-finish at Florida by tying for 10th at 214 (+4).
Sophomore Ryan Cochran posted the second top-20 finish of his career after recording a 73 in the final round to finish at in 12th at 215 (+5).
Freshman Jessie Mudd finished in a tie for 13th at 217 (+7) in earning his fifth top-20 finish this season in as many tournaments. Mudd's score ensured that all five Gators finished in the top 20 -- the first time Florida has accomplished the feat this season.
Florida returns to action next week when the Gators travel to Ponte Vedra, Fla. for the Mercedes Benz Collegiate at Sawgrass Country Club. The event runs from Feb. 8-10.