Former Gators golfer Villegas wins Honda Classic

Former Florida Gators golfer Camilo Villegas had been searching for a signature victory on the PGA Tour. He found it Sunday, winning his third tour title following four days of outstanding golf at the 2010 Honda Classic from the PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

Villegas, who shot a four-under 66 in the first round on Thursday, duplicated his performance Friday for a tie atop the leaderboard with Anthony Kim with a combined eight-under 132. Looking to pull away from the pack Saturday, he birdied four of seven holes before bogeying three in a five-hole stretch. Villegas still finished the third day with the lead after a three-under 67 kept him atop the leaderboard with an 11-under 199.

He closed out the tournament Sunday with a beautiful birdie putt on 18 for a final round two-under 68 and his first PGA Tour victory of the season. Villegas won the tournament by five strokes with a 13-under 267, tying hall of famer Jack Nicklaus‘ tournament record for margin of victory.

Villegas, who lives in South Florida, had the comfort of staying in his own home throughout the tournament and benefited from the cheering and support of local fans as he progressed throughout the weekend.

“I’m sleeping in my own bed this week, which is always nice,” Villegas said Saturday. “I’ve been nice and relaxed. Golf tournaments are four days. So with that said, you’ve got to put four good rounds together and see what happens at the end.”

After the win Sunday, it was obvious that he felt a sense of accomplishment. “It’s been a long week, but man, it’s been a good one. I loved every second of it,” he said. “It’s never as easy as you think. I stayed patient and my attitude was great all week.”

Fellow former Gators golfer Matt Every finished tied for 26th place with a one-over 281. Chris Couch missed the cut after the second day of the tournament.

Photo Credit: Alan Diaz/Associated Press

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TWO BITS: Gators at The Honda Classic, lacrosse

1 » Former Florida Gators golfers tore up the first round of The Honda Classic at the PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Thursday. Camilo Villegas was T3 on Thursday with a -4 66, Matt Every followed at T19 with a -1 69 and Chris Couch brought up the rear at T43 with a +1 71. All three have begun the second round hot with Villegas, as of press time, tied for the lead.

2 » Lacrosse (3-1) continues to roll in its inaugural season, picking up a decisive 22-11 win over the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (0-2) Thursday night at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Freshman attackers Ashley Bruns and Julie Schindel scored five and four goals, respectively, as the Gators cruised to victory. The team is up for some stiff competition when the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas come to town Tuesday.

Extra Bit » Before the match, Florida freshman midfielder Brittany Dashiell was named the American Lacrosse Conference Co-Rookie of the Week after scoring six combined goals against La Salle and No. 4 North Carolins last week.

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FOUR BITS: Dowling to WR? SEC award winners

1 » In a Q&A session on Rivals Thursday, recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg addressed the Florida Gators’ needs at wide receiver by mentioning that five-star safety Jonathan Dowling (Bradenton, FL) has requested that the catch instead of defend passes while wearing the Orange and Blue. Dowling, assumed to be playing free safety, is listed as an athlete by many recruiting services, could find a spot in Florida’s receiving corps, though he should also see an opportunity to get some time on the field in the secondary.

2 » Though he was not focused on former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris praised the signal caller and believes there will be plenty of teams interested in his services. “Teams will be fired up to get him,” Morris told The Tampa Tribune. “He’s won at every level. His teammates love him. They’ll let you know they love him. [...] Those are the kind of guys you look for to involve in the character, leadership and also the winning of your football team.”

Two more BITS on Joe Haden and UF award-winners after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Dowling to WR? SEC award winners

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FOUR BITS: Haden’s 40, golf, Prestwood, Floyd

1 » Former Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden, unanimously considered the best player at his position available for the 2010 NFL Draft before the Scouting Combine, is being criticized by draftniks and supposedly sliding down boards because of his “slow” 4.57-second 40-yard dash. Comments from some like ESPN’s Todd McShay have Haden falling out of the top 10 (never mind the fact that he has a chance to improve it at Florida’s Pro Day on March 17). The time has even spurned beat writers for teams like the Atlanta Falcons to speculate that Haden could fall as low as No. 19. Others, like Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, put Haden’s time in perspective. It’s a bigger deal to those talking about it on television than it is to the NFL scouts hired and fired based on their ability to discern successes from busts.

2 » Florida men’s and womens’ golf each competed at tournaments over the last few days; unfortunately, neither came out as victors. Though they jumped four spots in the final round, the men’s team finished the John Hayt Invitational with a seventh-place score of 899 (+35). The women tied for seventh in the Kinderlou Forest Challenge with a 913 (+37).

Two BITS of Florida Gators football recruiting news after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Haden’s 40, golf, Prestwood, Floyd

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SIX BITS: NCAA bubble, PGA, Brantley, Brown

1 » After a huge upset win over the No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers last Tuesday, the Florida Gators looked to be squarely in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. A few days later, the Gators found themselves back on the bubble falling to the Georgia Bulldogs on the road. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach looks at what happened and what the team needs to do from this point forward.

2 » Four former Florida golfers were at the top of the leaderboard going into the final round of the PGA‘s Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday. Mark Calcavecchia, Matt Every, Camilo Villegas and Chris Couch were all in the hunt for the tournament title, but each wound up falling short in the end. Couch finished T4 (-13), Villegas was T8 (-11) with Every and Calcavecchia shot a final-day 74 to fall to T43 (-7).

Four more BITS on Brantley, Brown, tennis and baseball…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: NCAA bubble, PGA, Brantley, Brown

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TWO BITS: Former Florida golfers in the PGA

1 » Experiencing his first season on the PGA Tour, former Florida Gators four-time All-American golfer Billy Horschel’s season is now over after he injured a tendon in his left wrist. Planning to have surgery on his wrist after seeing a specialist in New York last week, Horschel will be granted a medical exception by the PGA so he can return to the tour without having to qualify in 2011. “I’m not shocked,” he told Florida Today. “It happens. It’s the nature of sports in general. You get hurt, you have to take time off to get beter. I haven’t been 100 percent in a long time.”

2 » Camilo Villegas, by comparison, is a seasoned veteran having joined the tour in 2006 and taken home wins in the BMW Championship and The Tour Championship in 2008. “I’m playing golf for a living,” he said when asked about his recent struggles by The Gainesville Sun. “A million people would give whatever to be here. I’m feeling more appreciative of what I’m doing. This week, I’m having fun. I have nothing to lose.”

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Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 24

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Arguably the greatest player in the history of Florida Gators baseball, free agent Brad Wilkerson has signed a minor-league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was a member of the 2010 UF Hall of Fame class, a part of the 1996 and 1998 College World Series teams, a two-time All-American, three-time All-SEC selection and the 1998 Collegiate Player of the Year. Wilkerson holds career records at Florida for batting average, RBIs, slugging percentage and walks. He played for four MLB teams from 2001-08 and won a gold medal with Team USA baseball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

There are seven more Gator Bites for you to check out…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 24

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SIX BITS: A.C. Leonard, golf, tennis, b-ball, softball

1 » ESPN has taken to praising 2011 athlete recruit A.C. Leonard (Interlachen, FL), a current Florida Gators commitment. Called “a jack-of-all-trades in high school,” Leonard is projected as a tight end or defensive end in college and worked out extensively at the former position during the Jacksonville, FL, Under Armour combine over the weekend. Leonard continues to impress and remains a solid verbal commitment.

2 » No. 4 Florida men’s golf took home its seventh straight SunTrust Gator Invitational title on Sunday, shooting a team score of 279 (-1) in the final round at the Mark Bostik Golf Course. Up nine strokes going into the final round, the Gators doubled it up and won by 18. Seniors Tyson Alexander and Tim McKenney, along with redshirt junior Andres Echavarria, tied for third place with a total score of 212 (+2).

Four more BITS on tennis, women’s b-ball and softball’s rebound after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: A.C. Leonard, golf, tennis, b-ball, softball

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