Scenes from the Gators' practice round in Scottsdale Arizona on Thursday. Photo courtesy of @GatorsGolf Twitter.

Gators Men’s Golf Begins National Championship

Friday morning, the Gators men’s golf team began the NCAA Golf National Championship at Grayhawk Golf Course in Scottsdale, Arizona. The team tee’d off at 9:10 a.m. and is currently three-under par. After trailing by five strokes on the final day of the Bath Regional, the Gators were able to comeback in the final round to earn a spot in the championship and come into the tournament as a No. 9 seed.

Course Changes

Florida has seen a change of scenery in the NCAA tournament being placed in a regional in Bath, Michigan. Now, the team heads out West to Arizona, playing at Grayhawk Golf Course in Scottsdale.

Head coach J.C. Deacon said he expects his team to be hitting the ball 15-20 ft further, adding a golf ball goes three feet further per degree of heat.

When asked about the challenges of a course change, this is what he had to say:

Golf Head Coach

Deacon is in his ninth season with the Gators. Coming off of a successful regular season, where Florida won the SEC Tournament, Deacon talked about the importance of preparation before a tournament.

Opponents

Thirty teams are competing for the championship trophy. The Gators are one of eight SEC teams to make it to the championship. Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Auburn are the other conference teams playing in Scottsdale.

Vanderbilt is the No. 1 seed coming into tournament play, and Florida is the only other SEC team ranked as a Top 10 seed.

Fred Biondi, Ricky Castillo, Yuxin Lin, John DuBois, Matthew Kress and Ryan Hart will represent the Gators in an attempt to bring home a National Championship. 

The Weekend

The Gators will play up until Monday, looking to finish in the Top-8 to advance to the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Florida is looking to claim its first team and player National Championship since 2001.

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