Jordan McPherson / Alligator Staff UF men’s golf coach J.C. Deacon speaks during a press conference in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Different.
That’s the adjective Florida men’s golf coach J.C. Deacon used to describe his team.
Deacon, now in his third season as the Gators’ coach, told reporters on Monday that UF is as deep as any team he’s coached.
“The competitiveness is crazy,” he said. “I think there’s a little bit of desperation in this team, which is good. It adds a little bit of pressure, but at the same time they all know how good we can be.”
The No. 3 Gators are coming off a win at the Sea Best Invitational that saw Ryan Orr, one of two seniors on the team, take home the first individual title of his college career.
Deacon said being able to see that was amazing.
“Our guys are playing at such a high level that if you can beat just your teammates alone, you’re going to be a pretty good situation,” he said. “And Ryan showed that beating Alejandro (Tosti) by one to get his first win, so we’re all really, really happy for him.”
Tosti, a sophomore from Argentina, finished second at Sea Best, giving him his third top-three finish in his past three tournaments. Deacon had high praise for Tosti as well.
“Yeah, Ali, he’s amazing. His talent is so incredible. He’s one of the best players that I’ve ever seen,” Deacon said. “He can do anything with the golf ball. He’s gifted.”
Despite the encouragement and positive outlook, Deacon knows the challenge ahead.
Florida will host the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Saturday and Sunday, a home tournament at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.
The Gators haven’t won on their own golf course since 2011 and have not placed higher than third as a team since their last win at Mark Bostick.
Even though Florida has struggled to win its own tournament, the Gators come into the weekend with three team wins and a top-five finish in every tournament this year. Deacon said the team wants to end the drought this weekend and feels the continued losing at home is unacceptable.“It’s important for the guys to win,” he said.“I think all of us think it’s really important to let Ryan Orr and A.J. Crouch leave with at least one Gator win. So they’re going to be playing hard for them this week.” Contact Justin Ahlum at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @justinn_case1 .