After starting the spring season with a team victory at the Sea Best Invitational, Florida will return to the links Saturday in Gainesville.
The Gators will host 12 teams — including six Florida schools — in the 46th edition of the VyStar Credit Union Gators Invitational at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Competitors will play 36 holes Saturday ahead of Sunday’s final 18-hole round. Florida senior Fred Biondi will look to defend his title after the São Paulo, Brazil, native tied the tournament record (-14) last year.
Biondi earned SEC Co-Golfer of the Week Wednesday after he captured his third collegiate title at the Sea Best Invitational. Following a three-under-par and top 10 finish in his collegiate debut, Florida redshirt freshman Miguel Leal won SEC Co-Freshman of the Week.
Florida senior Ricky Castillo — who finished runner-up at the Sea Best Invitational — climbed four spots in Wednesday’s PGA Tour University Velocity Global Ranking to No. 16.
Biondi remains No. 3 in the nation behind only Texas Tech senior Ludvig Aberg and UNC senior Austin Greaser. Following an even-par (T-9) finish at the Sea Best Invitational, Gator lefty Yuxin Lin dropped three spots to No. 20.
Florida senior John DuBois enters the event ranked No. 26, while fifth-year Giovanni Manzoni is No. 59.
In addition to the 12 visiting teams, the Gators will start two teams of five golfers. Biondi, Castillo, Lin and DuBois will team up with redshirt freshman Matthew Kress for Florida’s ‘A Team.’
Manzoni will lead the ‘B Team’ followed by juniors Quentin Debove and Tyler Wilkes, as well as Leal and sophomore Ryan Hart.
Five of the 12 other teams competing this weekend also participated in the Sea Best Invitational. UNF, Liberty and Florida Gulf Coast all placed in the top five on the team leaderboard.
No. 25 Georgia Southern enters the event as the highest ranked team barring No. 8 Florida. No. 35 UNF and No. 37 Liberty are the only other top 50 ranked participants. The remaining competitors include USF, FAU, Stetson, Jacksonville, Penn State, West Virginia, North Texas and Kennesaw State.
The first group of golfers will tee off on Saturday at 8 a.m. Florida’s A Team will tee off the first hole with a UNF and Georgia Southern golfer. The Gator B Team will tee off the fourth hole with a Liberty and FAU golfer.