Three Florida Gators golfers at 2015 U.S. Open

Three former Florida Gators golfers – and one incoming freshman – will participate in the 2015 U.S. Open beginning Thursday at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.

Below are breakdowns of each of the golfers. Scores will be updated each day after their rounds are completed.

Billy Horschel
Years at Florida: 2006-09
PGA Tour wins: 3
Major wins: 0
U.S. Open cuts made: 2/3
Best U.S. Open finish: T4 (2013)
Career earnings: $10.7 million
Official World Golf Ranking: 20

» Round 1 score: +2, 72 (T52)
» Round 2 score: +2, 72 (+4, 144, T50)
» Round 3 score: +3, 73 (+7, 217, T46)
» Round 4 score: -3, 67 (+4, 284, 27th)

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FOUR BITS: Florida Gators RHP Lauren Haeger wins Honda Sports Award for softball

1 » Already the 2015 USA Softball Player of the Year (first in program history), Most Outstanding Player from the 2015 Women’s College World Series and the 2015 SEC Pitcher of the Year, Florida Gators right-handed pitcher Lauren Haeger added to her trophy case on Wednesday by being named the 2015 Honda Sport Award winner for softball. The honor makes Haeger a finalist for Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2015 Honda Cup. She is the second Florida softball player to win the award (Kelsey Bruder, 2011), 18th overall Gators athlete since 1978 and second this year (Kytra Hunter, gymnastics).

Haeger, the second player (Babe Ruth) with 70+ home runs and 70+ wins on either the college (baseball, softball) or professional (MLB) level, smacked 71 homers and won 73 games over her four-year career at Florida. She finished the 2015 campaign with a 32-2 record and 1.23 ERA with 25 complete games in 35 starts and 214 strikeouts in 222.1 innings pitched.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Florida Gators RHP Lauren Haeger wins Honda Sports Award for softball

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4 BITS: Horschel, U.S. Open, Spikes, Grossman

1 » Former Florida Gators golfer Billy Horschel (-11) is in contention at the Deutsche Bank Championship, one stroke back of leader Russell Henley (-12) with the event’s final round set to begin Monday afternoon. Horschel and Henley will tee off at 1:55 p.m. as the final pairing but will also face stiff competition from Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Chris Kirk, all of whom are just two shots back at -10. Horschel’s best finish this season has been sixth (twice, most recently at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June). He’s looking for his first tournament victory since 2013 when he won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Horschel has already earned $1.3 million this season. Former Gators golfers Camilo Villegas and Matt Every also made the initial cut at the Deutsche Bank, but Villegas is at the back of the pack and Every got cut after shooting an 86 in the third round.

2 » Florida freshman tennis player Brooke Austin is competing in the junior’s bracket of 2014 U.S. Open, facing Evgeniya Levashova in opening-round action. The match is suspended, as of press time, with Austin up 4-1 in the second set after falling 6-0 to Levashova in the first. Former Gators star Lisa Raymond, also participated this year, teaming with fellow American Vania King in the women’s doubles draw. Pushing past opponents in the first two rounds, Raymond/King fell 6-3, 6-7(4-7), 6-2 to Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia on Monday. The oldest woman to ever win a Grand Slam doubles title (back in 2011 at age 38 with partner Liezel Huber), Raymond has won nearly $10 million in her career with 15 Grand Slam doubles titles and a bronze medal in mixed doubles from the 2012 London Olympics.

Continue Reading » 4 BITS: Horschel, U.S. Open, Spikes, Grossman

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TWO BITS: Leon Orr, Billy Horschel at U.S. Open

1 » Florida Gators redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr on Monday poked some fun at Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (who was caught on tape shoplifting crab legs from a Publix supermarket this spring) by sharing an Instagram video of himself going to Publix for steak, milk and orange juice…and actually paying for it. He even has the cashier confirm his purchase. Check it out below.

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2 » No one was catching Germany’s Martin Kaymer (-9) as he ran away with the 2014 U.S. Open, beating the rest of the field by eight strokes or more, but former Gators golfer Billy Horschel did bring home 46 FedEx Cup points and a respectable $80,000 with a 23rd place finish thanks to a second-round 68 and final-round 70. The other two former Florida golfers that played did not fair as well with Spain’s Andres Echavarria missing the cut by a stroke and Matt Every missing the line by an even wider margin. Every remains 14th in FedEx Cup points (1,196) and 15th in earnings ($2.4 million) due in large part to his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in March.

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FOUR BITS: Meyer, Sturgis, World Cup, U.S. Open

1 » Speaking at the Sound Mind Sound Body football camp in Detroit, Michigan over the weekend, Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer discussed lessons he learned from the military about teamwork and how it is so much more important to be a team than in individual in the sport of football. In doing so, he praised the 2008 national title-winning Florida Gators, stating for the second time in as many years that he thinks that group was the best team in college football history. “I’ve been a part of a couple great teams. I think the best team that’s ever played the game [was] in ’08. That was animal instincts [that] took over on the field; they protected each other,” he told the group. “Have you ever tried to reason with a wild animal? You never reason with a wild animal; they protect each other. Have you ever tried to negotiate, evaluate, take a play off? If you’re a wild animal, that doesn’t happen.” (Hat tip: Yahoo! Sports)

2 » Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis threw out the first pitch at Saturday’s home game for the Miami Marlins. Sturgis will enter his second NFL season in 2014 looking to hold down his starting job with the Dolphins. Though he flashed his signature strong leg and dead-on accuracy at times in 2013, Sturgis did go through his share of struggles, finishing 26/34 (.765) with seven field goals of 50+ yards.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Meyer, Sturgis, World Cup, U.S. Open

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TWO BITS: Horschel’s finish, Tebow and baseball

1 » Former Florida Gators golfer Billy Horschel (+5) finished in a four-way tie for fourth place at the 2013 U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club over the weekend, earning $291,406 and 120 FedEx Cup points after a strong showing in the event. Horschel hit all 18 greens in regulation – the first time a competitor has accomplished this feat at the U.S. Open since the statistic began being recorded 20 years ago – while registering a three-under 67 on Friday. He shared the lead with Phil Mickelson entering the weekend but posted rounds of 72 and 74 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to fall out of first place and finish four strokes back of eventual winner Justin Rose. Horschel has now registered 10 top-10 victories in 16 events so far in 2013. He won the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, LA back in April and has missed one cut. Horschel entered Thursday fourth in the 2013 FedEx Cup standings and is now fifth with 1,413 points and approximately $3 million in winnings. Players ahead of him include Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Mickelson.

2 » WEEI 93.7 FM revealed over the weekend that former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was nearly drafted by the Los Angels Angels out of high school. “We wanted to draft him,” said former Angels scout Tom Kotchman, “but he never sent back his information card. Either it never got to him, or… It’s Tim Tebow. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise we were going to take him.” Had Tebow decided to concentrate on baseball, he would have been projected as a Round 7-12 pick with six-tool potential and great left-handed power. “It was just easy for him,” said Boston Red Sox scout Stephen Hargett. “You thought, ‘If this guy dedicated everything to baseball like he did to football, how good could he be?’”

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FOUR BITS: Wambach, Horschel, Zunino, Moultrie

1 » Former Florida Gators striker Abby Wambach scored her 156th career international goal on a penalty kick in stoppage time on Saturday as the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Korea Republic 4-1 in a friendly. Wambach moves within two goals of former teammate Mia Hamm, whose 158 international goals are a worldwide record for either gender. The United States and Korea will square off again on Thursday as Wambach looks to close the gap even further.

2 » Former Gators golfer Billy Horschel, who entered the 2013 U.S. Open ranked fourth on the FedEx Cup standings, is tied for fifth at +1 entering Sunday’s fourth and final round at Merion in Ardmore, PA. Horschel shot a 67 on Friday, becoming the first player in at least 20 years to hit the green on all 18 holes in a U.S. Open event. He followed his dominant performance with a 72 on Saturday and is now two shots back of leader Phil Mickelson (-1). Horschel hopes to win his first professional major in style as he will be donning these pants on Sunday (2:47 p.m. tee time).

Check out two more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Wambach, Horschel, Zunino, Moultrie

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SIX BITS: Zunino, Horschel, Wambach, Elam

1 » Former Florida Gators catcher Mike Zunino earned his first career MLB start on Wednesday for the Seattle Mariners, opening the game behind the plate and batting sixth. Zunino went 1/4 with a strikeout in the game, registering his first big-league hit during his second at-bat. Had Nick Franklin not held up at third base, Zunino also would have registered his first career RBI.

2 » Billy Horschel is the only former Gators golfer competing in the 2013 U.S. Open this weekend and plans to make a statement with his attire. Should Horschel make it to Sunday, which is likely considering he is fourth in the FedEx Cup standings at this time, he will don a dark pair of pants featuring octopi. Really. See here.

3 » Though no further information was provided, U.S. Women’s National Team star striker Abby Wambach on Wednesday tweeted out this picture of her hanging out with New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes. “Hey @BrandonSpikes55 nice chillin’ with you. Gators nation forever. No doubt! #newpatsfan,” she wrote on Twitter.

Check out three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Zunino, Horschel, Wambach, Elam

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