Florida
Scenes during the Gators Invitational on February 17, 2024. photo courtesy of Ashley Ray.

What Has Driven Florida Men’s Golf Success?

Last year, the Florida Gators men’s golf team reached its final destination: The National Championship. Then, they won it. Fred Biondi became only the third Gator ever to win the individual national title, Yuxin Lin earned first team All-SEC honors and four different Gators contributed to six solo victories. Only one player from that group remains.

Coming into the 2024 season, it seemed nearly impossible for head coach J.C. Deacon and the Gators to match the success of the last year. Yet, now headed into the SEC Championships, the Orange and Blue have once again been incredible.

Roster Turnover

The Gators had four players graduate after their superb 2022-23 season, three of which are former All-SEC first team members. Losing major contributors such as Lin, Biondi and Ricky Castillo, it wasn’t hard to drop expectations for the team. Instead, Deacon has found players to fill the empty roles in different ways.

One of the main fills has come from the transfer portal. Junior Ian Gilligan has proved the portal is not only valuable for sports such as football and baseball. Its been one of the biggest bright spots of this Gator team so far. Transferring from Long Beach State, Gilligan has been named the SEC golfer of the week twice already, was named SwingU college player of the month in February and took home a solo victory at the Southern Highlands Collegiate. He has quickly become possibly the best golfer on this year’s roster, proving to be a huge addition so far.

Youth Impact

The youth from Florida’s roster has also found a way to step up. Besides Gilligan, sophomore Matthew Kress is the only other Gator to have an individual victory on the year. As a redshirt freshman last year, Kress played in 10 tournaments and made the lineup on six occasions. It was at the 2023 SEC Championships where he truly broke out, going undefeated (3-0) with match-clinching victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals. His solo win at the Georgetown Intercollegiate was the first of his young career.

Jack Turner has made an impact on the season, as well. The Freshman from Orlando, Florida, has earned SEC freshman of the week honors twice, with his best finish tied for second at the Georgetown Intercollegiate. He was an American Junior Golf Association All-American in his final year before coming to Florida.

Though Deacon’s 2023-24 squad has found success in the regular season, matching last years team will be a difficult task. They’ll lean on the many new leaders of the team as they go into postseason play starting Wednesday, heading to St. Simons Island, Georgia, for the SEC Championship. They look to win an SEC title in consecutive years for the first time since winning four in a row from 1990-to-1994.

About Dylan Olive

Check Also

Orange & Blue Sports Network

Catch the student-led broadcasts from the College of Journalism and Communications right here.

LIVE THREAD: National Signing Day

Here’s an updated thread of all the recruits who picked the Gator hat today! RB …

AFC Divisional Round Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

During last weekend’s NFL Wild Card round, the Steelers made a statement by handing the Dolphins a …

Houston Looking For an Upset in Foxborough

The saying has always been “it’s hard to beat a good team twice,” and in …

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Tonight

The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be facing each other once …

Possible Additions to McElwain’s Recruiting Class Visiting this Weekend

With National Signing Day less than three weeks away, the Gators are hosting several talented …

Florida Gymnastics Prepares for Season Opener

https://vimeo.com/198372157 GAINESVILLE, FL – The Florida Gator gymnastics team will kick off their season this …

Surprised Gators Promote Randy Shannon To Defensive Coordinator? You Shouldn’t Be

Florida’s head coach, Jim McElwain, announced Friday morning that Randy Shannon would be making the …

Quarterbacks in Spotlight for NFL Wild Card Weekend

The NFL Wild Card kicks off Saturday and the quarterback situations could not be any more different. On …

College Football Playoff Shakes Up Schedule

The College Football Playoff was a success in its first year. Yet, that doesn’t stop …

Michael Jordan Speaks out about Shootings, Police Officers

NBA great Michael Jordan opened up about his thoughts about shootings of African-Americans and the …

Treon Harris to Transfer

With the college football season approaching, the Florida Gators have announced that former starting QB …

USA Basketball Wins Second Exhibition Game

Just a few short days after their big win over Argentina, team USA won its …

Charlotte Is No Longer The Home Of The 2017 NBA All-Star Game

The House Bill 2 came between Charlotte, North Carolina and the 2017 All-Star Game. The …

Tampa Bay Rays Continue Series Against Oakland

The Tampa Bay Rays are continuing their three-game winning streak. The Rays defeated the Oakland …

MLB Preview Tonight

It’s summer time—the best time to go to a baseball game and experience the atmosphere. …

Braves Begin Series With Rockies

The Atlanta Braves (33-62) open up a four-game road series with the Rockies (43-51) tonight …

Marlins To Close Out Series With The Phillies

The Miami Marlins are in the middle of a crucial ten game span against NL East …

Rays Crush Rockies 11-3, Face A’s Next

In the midst of a terrible season that has seen the Tampa Bay Rays (37-57) …

American League Second Half Outlook

The second half of the baseball season is in full swing which translates to? Pennant races. Teams …

National League Evening Preview

Tonight is a busy night for the National League in the MLB. Starting with the …

Big 12 Looks To Expand

Following a Tuesday meeting between Big 12 presidents, Oklahoma president David Boren announced that the …

LSU Looks To Capitalize On Its Opportunity

The Louisiana State University Tigers will enter the 2016 college football season with high expectations, …

Muschamp Helps Close Out SEC Media Days 2016

It wasn’t Will Muschamps first SEC Media Days experience, but 2016 marked the first time …

Phil Mickelson Leads British Open After First Day

The 145th annual 2016 British Open is underway at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. The …

Missouri’s Football Crisis: Rebuilding A Program

On the final day of SEC Media Days, Barry Odom took the stand as Missouri’s head …

Second Half Of MLB Season Begins

The All-Star Break is a good time for teams to rest up and reform themselves …

British Open Underway

The 145th Open Championship is already underway at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. Welcome …

Pat Dooley’s High Five: Football Game Times To Love

It’s funny how being semi-retired makes you not care about game times being released. We …