Gators men's golf team at St. Simons Island, Georgia, for the SEC Championships. (Photo via @GatorsGolf on Twitter).

Florida Men’s Golf Knocks Off Top-Ranked Vandy to Capture First SEC Title in Over a Decade

The Gators won 3 1/2 points in their match-play final Sunday against Vanderbilt — the nation’s top-ranked team — to win the SEC Championship at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The victory marks Florida’s 16th conference title in program history and its first since 2011.

“[Vanderbilt] just [has] the most incredible program,” Florida head coach J.C. Deacon said after the match. It took everything for us to beat [them] today. That says it all about my guys. We got an incredible team and we won the SEC Championship.”

Sunday Final

Florida seniors Ricky Castillo and redshirt freshman Matthew Kress won their matches five up with four holes to play before senior John DuBois won four of the last seven holes to win his match one up and clinch the match-winning point.

Senior Fred Biondi built a three-up lead with eight holes to play, but the São Paulo, Brazil, native finished his match tied after only 17 holes once DuBois clinched the winning point.

Senior Yuxin Lin was the Gator who lost his match Sunday. The lefty lost three of the first four holes en route to a five and three loss.

Saturday Quarters and Semis

After earning the number three seed for Saturday’s quarterfinals, the Gators defeated number six Ole Miss before they knocked off number two Texas A&M in the semifinals. Florida won four of its five matches against the Rebels before it won three matches against the Aggies.

Kress won both of his matches Saturday to finish undefeated in match play and lead the Gators with three points. The Saratoga, California, native clinched Florida’s match against Ole Miss with a two and one victory.

Biondi also prevailed in both of his matches Saturday to finish with 2 1/2 points this weekend.

Castillo won his match against Ole Miss and DuBois won his match against Texas A&M as both seniors finished with a winning match-play record (2-1). Castillo (-3) and DuBois (-1) led Florida in the 54-hole, stroke-play format with a pair of top-20 finishes.

NCAA Regionals

After celebrating their SEC title, the Gators will return to links on May 15 to compete in the NCAA Regional Championship. The location of the three-day, 54-hole tournament will be determined on May 3 and the selection show will air on the Golf Channel.

About Griffin Foll

Hi, my name is Griffin Foll and I am currently a senior at UF studying journalism with a focus on sports and media and an outside concentration in political science. In addition to covering the 2023 UF men's and women's golf beats, I contribute weekly web and radio content for WRUF ESPN Gainesville. Be sure to check out some of my recent articles!

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