Florida advances to men's golf championships

Special to Gatorsports.com

CLE ELUM, Wash. — The Florida men's golf team has punched its ticket to Scottsdale after a strong team effort in the final round Wednesday propelled the team into fifth place, qualifying it for the NCAA Championships.

"Wow! What a day!," UF coach JC Deacon said. "I've got to give credit to my guys, that's the most resilient I've ever seen them. The NCAA shipped us across the country to play on grass we rarely see in weather conditions we NEVER get to play in and my guys found a way to get it done. That's so awesome."

Ricky Castillo led the comeback for the Gators. On the eighth hole, he recorded an eagle and on the ninth, a birdie. On the back nine, Castillo carded four birdies against only one bogey and finished the day 2-under par and tied for 6th individually.

Tyler Wilkes carded his best round of the week on the day his team needed him most, making the turn 4-under par after carding three birdies and an eagle against only one bogey. The freshman battled on the back nine and finished the day 1-under par. Overall, his 4-over par 217 landed him in a tie for 22nd place.

Giovanni Manzoni and Yuxin Lin both finished the week 4-over par alongside Wilkes. Manzoni buckled down to record his best finish of the day with an even scorecard in the final 18 holes.

Joe Pagdin finished the three-day tournament 7-over par and tied for 39th place.

East Tennessee St. won the regional (838  -14), followed by San Francisco (848  -4), Wake Forest (850  -2), Pepperdine (851  -1) and Florida (284-290-284— 858  +6).

The Gators will travel to Scottsdale, Ariz., to compete in the NCAA Championships, scheduled to begin May 28 and continue through June 2.