After three rounds at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Woodstock, Georgia, the Florida Gators Men’s Golf team finished their season placing 25th in their 13th straight NCAA Championships appearance.
Despite eight top-five finishes and a win in their first tournament this season, Florida couldn’t finish strong in postseason play. The Gators rebounded well after placing 10th in the SEC Championships by placing 2nd to Alabama in the NCAA South Regional. The Gators were hoping to ride that momentum into the NCAA Championships this week, but finished 17-over par, fifteen shots off the cut line to advance to the match play portion of the tournament.
The Gators were led by a trio of players that included sophomore Eric Banks and seniors Tyler McCumber and T.J. Vogel, who all finished their three rounds at four-over par. Senior Tommy Mou rounded out the top four by finishing +11 for the tournament, and sophomore J.D. Tomlinson, a Gainesville native who suffered from a toe injury this week, finished +12 in his second NCAA Championships appearance.
The Gators say goodbye to seniors Tyler McCumber, T.J. Vogel, and Tommy Mou this year. McCumber and Vogel both notched five top-five finishes, All-SEC, and All-Southeast Region honors in their senior seasons. Vogel’s senior season was also topped off by an appearance as one of six amateurs in the Masters in April, an honor he earned by winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links in 2012.
But despite the talent departing Gainesville this year, the Gators have a good chance of making their 14th straight NCAA Championships appearance next year, as J.D. Tomlinson returns for his junior season along side Eric Banks, who underwent heart surgery this year. Also returning are A.J. Crouch, and Santiago Gavino, who both finished tied for fourth place in the first tournament of the season. But hopefully the Gators can get beyond an appearance and finish in the top 8 of the NCAA Championships in 2014, something the team hasn’t done since they placed 2nd in 2005.
Other SEC teams that missed the cut included Texas A&M, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and South Carolina. The only SEC team to make the match play portion of the NCAA Championships was Alabama. The No. 3 seed Crimson Tide barely finished second to Texas in the NCAA Championships last year and are one match away with No. 2 seed Georgia Tech from having the same chance again this year. The winner of the Alabama-Georgia Tech match will play the winner of the No. 1 seed California vs. No. 5 seed Illinois match. Semifinals matches are on Saturday with the Finals to follow on Sunday.