Seminoles run away with Gator Invitational
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 11:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 11:43 p.m.
Usually, Florida is the story on Sunday in the SunTrust Gator Invitational. This time, the Gators were pretty much irrelevant, bit players behind perhaps their biggest rival (and others).
Trailing by nine shots going into the final round, the Gators failed to generate enough energy and momentum (and birdies) to be a factor Sunday. As a result, they had to look on helplessly as Florida State turned UF's own tournament into the Seminole Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.
Led by individual winner Daniel Berger, the Seminoles overwhelmed the course and the field (including tournament favorite UF) to win the Gator in a walk (unspoiled).
FSU was the only team under par, finishing at 8-under 832, a whopping 15 shots ahead of runner-up North Florida (847). The Gators (851) finished fourth, a distant 19 shots behind the Seminoles.
“Pretty disappointed, obviously,” UF coach Buddy Alexander said. “You're playing on your home courses, you know your way around pretty well. I can't remember the last time we finished fourth (in the Gator).
“Not a good week. Poor play. We kind of stunk it up if you want to know the truth. We didn't have anything this week. We didn't play well, didn't think well, didn't putt well. We didn't play smart. It was pretty disappointing.”
For the Gators, it was their second consecutive loss in the Gator Invitational, a tournament they had won eight times in a row heading into last year's tournament.
Alexander said the Seminoles pretty much performed like the Gators traditionally have in this event.
FSU was 17-under par over the final two rounds to wipe out the field. The Seminoles shot a 9-under 271 Sunday and were never threatened.
“That's kind of what we've done in the past,” Alexander said. “That's what it takes to win it. Look at the individual leaderboard. It's filled with guys from Florida State.
“As a coach, you drive out of here and feel pretty good about your golf team.”
That's exactly what Florida State coach Trey Jones did late Sunday afternoon.
“I can't tell you how happy I am for our guys,” Jones said. “Knowing how good Florida is, for them to come out and have a great round yesterday (afternoon) and then turn about today and not really wait for somebody to give it to them. They went out and took it. I can't tell you how proud I am of them.”
All five Seminoles were good, but none better than Berger, a sophomore from Jupiter. After shooting back-to-back rounds of 1-under 69 on Saturday, Berger came out on Sunday and pulled away for the tournament title with a sterling 65, the low round of the weekend.
Berger finished at 7-under 203, three shots ahead of Georgia Southern's Scott Wolfes. It was Berger's first collegiate victory.
“It means a lot, especially to be here in Gainesville when we're Seminoles and any win against the Gators is a good one,” Berger said. “To win individually, and as a team, is really nice.
“It says we're all playing well. When you have five guys all playing well, it's a team that's going to be tough to beat. Five guys playing well is a good combination.”
It's a combination the Gators did not have. With UF's top two players playing sick — T.J. Vogel with the flu and Tyler McCumber with walking pneumonia — the Gators were over par in all three rounds.
The only real UF highlight during a 1-over 281 Sunday was a 67 by Santiago Gavino.
I was a little concerned with yesterday (playing with two sick players),” Alexander said. “But no excuse for what happened today. We felt better than we did yesterday, but we played worse today. We're not going to lean on that excuse. We played poorly. We have to work harder and get better.
“I know we're better than we played this week. (The players) know this was a poor event. They're disappointed just like I am. We've got to do better.”
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