WINDERMERE, FL (October 18, 2016) -- On Tuesday afternoon the University of Florida completed its tour de force wire-to-wire victory at the Tavistock Collegiate Intercollegiate. The eighth ranked Gators finished an impressive 20-under and 11-strokes in front of runner-up, No. 5 Vanderbilt (-9) at Isleworth Country Club.
"Resilient is the word that I can think of. All of our guys believed in what they were doing, and their ability, and hung in there tough," head coach J.C. Deacon told Florida athletics. "This group really believes we can achieve some amazing things if we focus on what we're doing and what we can control, and we did that this week and got a pretty convincing victory against a great field."
Florida was paced for much of the tournament by sophomore Alejandro Tosti, who despite a 1-over 73 in the final round finished 8-under and took home medalist honors. For Tosti it was his first outright and second individual title overall. The Argentinian was tied with Matthias Schwab until the Vanderbilt senior bogeyed the final hole.
Tosti, who posted rounds of 70-65 on Sunday and Monday, had an up and down Tuesday with four birdies and five bogeys. The circles came on the 4th, 7th, 12 and 13th holes.
"It was good to be in that position again, to be in first place. The week before Nike (Golf Collegiate Invitational), I was in Mexico and I had a really good learning experience in the World Amateur Team Championships. I practiced a few new things and in the next two tournaments, and saw better results. I'm really happy with the result I had today, but I still have a lot to work on," said Tosti.
Three other Gators picked up top-15 finishes that helped propel the program to its second win of the season. Sophomore Jorge Garcia was tied for seventh at 5-under, sophomore Sam Horsfield posted 3-under to finish 10th while freshman Andy Zhang was tied for 14th at even-par.
"Jorge Garcia was huge for us," Deacon said. "He played well from the start and carried it through the whole round. Having that low under-par score was massive for us. All five of our guys contributed in their own way this week and the belief we have as a group is amazing."
The final round was an interesting one for Horsfield. When the 2016 SEC Freshman of the Year reached into his bag on the eighth hole the head of his putter came off the nozzle.
“I wasn’t too thrilled with my chip (on No. 8, which Horsfield bogeyed), but from where I was I would’ve taken it. I just pulled my putter out kind of fast and it just fell through my hand," Horsfield told Golfweek. "It just happened really fast and I told the rules official what I thought happened and the guys I was playing with told him what they saw, and he told me that I could use another putter.”
Fortunately for Horsfield, because the club was "damaged during the normal course of play" he was allowed to add a replacement putter to his bag. It took two holes for the substitute putter to arrive and during that stretch Horsfield, putting with a wedge, rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 9th.
Vanderbilt, the only other team under-par, registered a second place finish thanks to runner-up finishes by Schwab and sophomore Patrick Martin. Both players were 8-under for the tournament.
Rounding out the top-five of the individual standings are North Florida's Andrew Alligood and Dillon Woods sharing fourth with North Carolina's William Register at 6-under.
In the team standings Arizona State (+3) was third, North Florida (+4) was fourth and No. 20 North Carolina (+6) was fifth.
Defending champion and No. 1 Illinois finished 14-over and in a log jam for eighth.
-Florida Athletics and Golfweek contributed to this story