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The Greatest Gator of Them All

This past weekend in Las Vegas, the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators were unable to chase down Arizona State at the Southern Highlands Collegiate - finishing in second place. However, Floridas Camilo Villegas was able to take care of business as he captured medalist honors by one shot over Wake Forests Bill Haas. It was the seventh career title for the senior from Medellin, Colombia, and ties him for the schools all-time record with PGA Tour standout Chris Dimarco.
Through the years I have had the chance to watch the development of Villegas, and have seen him become one of the best players in the nation. As a freshman, Camilo was a part of the National Championship team that lapped the field in Durham, North Carolina. At the end of his first year, Villegas was named a first team All-American.
The success continued into Villegas sophomore season, as he won three times, was named the Southeasten Conference player of the year, and again earned first team All-American honors. All this after having the best season stroke average in school history.
Camilos junior year found him winning twice more, passing PGA Tour player Brian Gay on the all-time list for victories at Florida. Again an All-American and all-conference performer, Villegas was rewriting the record books for Gator golf.
In eight stroke play events this season, Villegas has five top-10 and seven top-20 finishes, and is on his way to becoming a four time All-American. Needless to say, Camilo is in the mix to take home national player of the year honors.
The stats dont lie, but it is the kind of person just as much that impresses me greatly. A mild mannered, soft spoken young man, Villegas might be small in stature at 5 feet 9 inches, 145 pounds, but he is one of the longest hitters in the game.
I could share many stories about Camilo, who I have gotten to know to quite well, but one which sticks out in my mind is from earlier this year in Puerto Rico. An event where the beach and ocean seems to take center stage after each round wasnt the case for Villegas. A two hour workout, including a run on the beach which was more of a priority for him. A commitment to fitness and excellence has separated him from most of the other top players in the country.
This type of dedication is part of a daily for ritual for Camilo. His superb play on the course for the past four years also is becoming routine.
There have been many great players who have spent their college days in GainesvilleDudley Hart, DiMarco and Gay to name a few. But when it is all said and done in a few months for Camilo Villegas, I believe he will go down as the best mens golfer to set foot on the University of Florida campus.
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