Yuxin Lin (left) and Fred Biondi (right) during the practice round of the 2022 NCAA National Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club. Photo By: Anna Carrington

Gators Men’s Golf Begins Spring Play at Sea Best Invitational

The No. 9 Florida Gators men’s golf team travels to the legendary TPC Sawgrass course in Jacksonville, Florida, to compete in the Sea Best Invitational on January 30 and 31. The event, hosted by Jacksonville University, will be played on the Dye’s Valley Course, a 6,790-yard par 7o course. Furthermore, Dye’s Valley is adjacent to The Players Stadium Course, a legendary PGA Tour track. The format of the invitational is 36 holes on Monday, teeing off at 8 a.m., and 18 on Sunday, tee times to be determined.


The competing schools in the invitational include Campbell, Charleston, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Liberty, Lipscomb, Louisville, North Florida, USC-Upstate and UT-San Antonio.

The ninth-ranked Gators are the only top-25 team in the event. However, Florida will have some legitimate competition. Golfstat ranks Lipscomb at 32, Liberty at 40, North Florida at 42 and Louisville at 44. While these squads won’t be the toughest tests the Gators will face throughout the season, it is a good precursor for competition to come.

Gators’ history at Sea Best

In Florida’s first two outings at the Sea Best Invitational in 2010-11 and 2011-2012, they won both events. Impressively, they won consecutive times again in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons and won last season. Head coach J.C. Deacon has been at the helm for three of the five Gator wins at Sea Best. After winning the invitational last year, the Gators had a great spring season; they went on to win back-to-back events and then finished top-10 in all of their next eight tournaments.


The event will feature both team and individual events.

For the Gators team lineup: No. 1 Fred Biondi, No. 2 Yuxin Lin, No. 3 Ricky Castillo, No. 4 John Dubois and No. 5 Tyler Wilkes.

For the Gators individual lineup: Parker Bell, Ryan Hart, Matthew Kress, Miguel Leal and Giovanni Manzoni.

Four seniors, all but Wilkes, headline the Gators team lineup for the invitational. These veterans each have their fair share of experience in college play and have participated in majors including the US Open (Biondi) and the Masters (Lin).


Last event

Previously, the Gators played in late October in the Isleworth Collegiate, an event held at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Florida. The Gators finished runner-up to No. 1 Auburn (Golfstat ranking) in the three-day event, with Lin tying for fifth with a score of 210 (-6) and Biondi tying for eleventh with a score of 213 (-3). Also, Kress (T17) and Dubois (19) finished in the top 20.

An impressive performance against other high-caliber teams including Purdue, LSU, Illinois and Arizona was a great closing point for the fall. Hopefully, the Gators can build upon that momentum at TPC Sawgrass.

About Alex Winn

Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida.

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