Men’s golf ties for fourth at SEC Champs

SEA ISLAND, Ga. * University of Florida junior Tyler Brown (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) fired a two-over 72 on Sunday to finish in a tie for fourth at the 2007 Southeastern Conference Championship, leading the fifth-ranked UF men’s golf team to a fifth-place finish in the process.

The Gators concluded the tournament with a final-round 290 (+10) and a team total of 878 (+38), leaving them just nine strokes behind tournament-winner Tennessee (869, +29).

“Not quite the finish we wanted, but there are a lot of positives that we can take from this golf tournament,” Florida head coach Buddy Alexander said. “We played a pretty solid front nine today and put ourselves in a good position with nine holes to play, which is what you want when you play golf at this level. I would have liked to have seen us handle that opportunity a little better on the back nine, but we had a decent day and hopefully this will help us down the road.”

Brown, who matched his best finish as a Gator with the fourth-place tie, battled back from a shaky start to post Florida’s second-best round of the afternoon. His day started with a pair of bogeys and he made the turn with a three-over 38 on the front nine, but he battled back during the second half of his round. He birdied the par-three

12th and recorded a four on the par-five 15th to get down to one over, but an 18th-hole bogey sent him into the clubhouse with a six-over total of 216 (75-69-72) for the tournament. With a tie for fourth in his initial trip to the conference tournament, Brown extended the Gators’ streak of placing at least one golfer in the top-five of the SEC Championship to seven years.

“We were fortunate to have Tyler this weekend, and I’m proud of the way he played,” Alexander said. “He held things together for us on the back nine today, and it was good to see a guy’s hard work and perseverance pay off. He’s played solidly for us in our last three tournaments, and this weekend was a great experience for him.”

Sophomore Billy Horschel (Grant, Fla.) earned a share of 16th place after posting a three-over 73 on Sunday, marking his best round of the tournament by a stroke. He played par golf except for bogeys on the second, 12th and 14th holes during the third round, and finished the tournament with an 11-over 221 (74-74-73). Horschel’s

16th-place tie positioned him among the field’s top 20 players for the ninth time in 10 collegiate stroke-play tournaments this season.

Sophomore Toby Ragland (Jacksonville, Fla.) played his best golf of the tournament, turning a one-over 71 on Sunday that marked his best score of the SEC Championship by four strokes. He got off to a blazing start, recording three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine to make the turn at three under for the day. Back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13, and then again on 17 and 18, led to his one-over finish, but the effort was UF’s low round of the day and moved him six spots up the leader board into a tie for 23rd. Ragland finished the SEC Championship with a three-round total of 222 (76-75-71, +12).

Freshman Tim McKenney (Scottsdale, Ariz.) wrapped up a tie for 33rd with a six-over 76 on Sunday, highlighting the day with back-to-back birdies on holes six and seven. He concluded the three-day event with a 14-over total of 224 (79-69-76). Fellow rookie Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) birdied four holes on the day en route to a four-over 74. He battled back from a four-over front nine to play the back half at even par, finishing in a tie for 38th place in his first trip to the SEC Championship.

“We haven’t been up near the top of the leader board heading into the last nine holes for a while, so it was good for our guys to get a taste of that again,” Alexander said. “This weekend’s experience will be good for us in the long run because the more times you put yourself in a good position, the easier it becomes to handle it. We got up there this weekend and couldn’t quite pull it off, but we were there, and that shows us that we played some pretty solid golf, especially over the last two days.”

The Gators will now await their assignment for the NCAA Regionals, which will take place from May 17-19. The East Regional will be held at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, while the Central will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Grove, Ill., and the West Regional, at which UF earned co-champion honors last season, will be contested at Arizona State University’s Karsten Golf Course.

Final Team Scores

Place School Score

1. Tennessee 301-283-285 = 869 (+29)

2. Alabama 298-288-285 = 871 (+31)

3. Auburn 304-288-282 = 874 (+34)

4. Mississippi 295-293-288 = 876 (+36)

5. FLORIDA 304-284-290 = 878 (+38)

6. Georgia 308-289-286 = 883 (+43)

7. Vanderbilt 302-295-289 = 886 (+46)

8. South Carolina 301-297-288 = 889 (+49)

9. LSU 301-297-294 = 892 (+52)

10. Arkansas 316-295-286 = 897 (+57)

11. Kentucky 312-293-296 = 901 (+61)

12. Mississippi State 304-307-302 = 913 (+73)

Individual Top-10

Place Player Score

1. Patton Kizzire (Auburn) 72-69-70 = 211 (+1)

T2. Chris Paisley (Tennessee) 76-70-69 = 215 (+5)

T2. Tino Weiss (Tennessee) 74-70-71 = 215 (+5)

T4. TYLER BROWN (FLORIDA) 75-69-72 = 216 (+6)

T4. Andrew Landry (Arkansas) 73-72-71 = 216 (+6)

T4. Will Roebuck (Mississippi) 69-75-72 = 216 (+6)

T4. Michael Thompson (Alabama) 77-72-67 = 216 (+6)

8. Charles Ford (Tennessee) 75-71-71 = 217 (+7)

T9. Jon Curran (Vanderbilt) 76-68-75 = 219 (+9)

T9. Mark Harrell (Alabama) 75-70-74 = 219 (+9)

T9. Callum Macaulay (Mississippi) 75-71-73 = 219 (+9)

T9. Glenn Northcutt (Auburn) 81-70-68 = 219 (+9)

T9. Chris Rogers (Mississippi) 76-74-69 = 219 (+9)

Florida Results

Place Player Score

T4. Tyler Brown 75-69-72 = 216 (+6)

T16. Billy Horschel 74-74-73 = 221 (+11)

T23. Toby Ragland 76-75-71 = 222 (+12)

T33. Tim McKenney 79-69-76 = 224 (+14)

T38. Tyson Alexander 81-72-74 = 227 (+17)