After 54 holes at TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the Gators finished atop the team leaderboard Tuesday to claim their sixth Sea Best Invitational since 2011.
Florida shot a combined 14-under-par and finished with a 23-stroke advantage over runner-up UNF. Entering Tuesday’s final 18-hole round, the Gators held just a six-shot lead over the Ospreys.
13 teams competed in the two-day event, which included five Floridian schools and five teams ranked inside the nation’s top-50. No. 9 Florida. No. 40 Liberty (+14), No. 42 Louisville (+16), Florida Gulf Coast (+20) and No. 31 Lipscomb (+35) rounded out the leaderboard’s top-six.
After 54 holes, seniors Fred Biondi and Ricky Castillo were tied for the individual lead at 6-under-par. Biondi birdied the 18th hole to card a final-round 64 (-6) and force a playoff against his teammate. In extra holes, the São Paulo, Brazil, native defeated Castillo to earn his third collegiate victory.
After back-to-back rounds under par, Florida fifth-year senior Giovanni Manzoni held a one-stroke lead over Castillo.
But the Cremella, Italy, native posted a final-round 69 (-1) to finish third overall and just one shot behind Biondi and Castillo.
In addition to Florida’s leading trio, redshirt freshman Miguel Leal — whose scores did not count for the team leaderboard — finished in red figures (-3) to tie for fifth place.
Senior Yuxin Lin, the top-ranked Gator in the NCAA Men’s Golf Division I Player Rankings, and redshirt freshman Matthew Kress each finished the tournament even par to secure a top-15 finish.
The Gators will return to Gainesville and prepare to host the VyStar Credit Union Gators Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole event is scheduled to begin on Feb. 11.