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UF Men’s Golf: Gators Show Heart, Resilience as they Punch Ticket to NCAA Championships

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY MORGAN PERRY

Florida battles back in final round to secure ticket to Arizona behind leadership from Ricky Castillo

The Florida men’s golf team has punched its ticket to Scottsdale after a phenomenal team effort in the final round propelled the team into fifth place, qualifying the team for the NCAA Championships that begin on Friday, May 28.

As he did all week, Ricky Castillo stepped up for the Gators when his name was called. After carding two bogeys and a double-bogey through seven holes, the sophomore flashed the talent and skill that garners his phenomenal reputation. 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 at 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.

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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.

Head Coach JC Deacon’s Take
“Wow! What a day! 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.”

On Denver…
“Hats off to Denver, who just wouldn’t go away. They threw everything at us. We needed our absolute best down the stretch to get the job done.”

On Ricky Castillo…
“That 75-footer that Ricky made for birdie up the last is a putt I won’t ever forget for the rest of my life. He’s our leader, and he came through when we needed him the most.”

On what’s next…
“I’m thankful to still have a chance to win the National Championship, by goodness we need to play so much better than we did this week. Go Gators!”

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