Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dickerson Rises to Occasion for Gators Sophomore's Birdie on 18 Gives UF Win in Mercedes-Benz

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dickerson Rises to Occasion for Gators Sophomore's Birdie on 18 Gives UF Win in Mercedes-Benz

Article excerpt

PONTE VEDRA BEACH -- With no leaderboards, members of college golf teams must depend on information from their coaches to be aware of situations during the final stages of a tournament.

There are players who respond better than others to the knowledge that their next hole or next shot could have an impact on the team's finish. Count Bubba Dickerson of the University of Florida as one who digests the situation and rises to it.

Dickerson, a sophomore from Hilliard, took stock of coach Buddy Alexander's update on the 18th tee of the Sawgrass Country Club yesterday, then birdied the par-5 hole to finish off a 68 and provide the difference in the Gators' one-stroke victory over Augusta (Ga.) State in the final round of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship.

UF finished with a 15-under-par score of 849 (the scores of the top four of five players for each team are counted) to win the tournament for the third year in a row, while Augusta State, which had four players shoot par or better, ended at 14-under 850. The University of North Florida, which hosted the tournament, tied Louisiana State for third at 9-under. The Ospreys starting yesterday's round one shot behind Florida.

UNF senior David Bennett easily defended his individual title, shooting a 70 to finish at 10-under-par 206. Dickerson and David Sanchez (69) of North Carolina State tied for second at 7-under and Camilio Benedetti (71) of Florida and Jamie Elson (68) of Augusta tied at 6-under.

Bennett won in a playoff last year against Camilo Benedetti of Florida, and in six rounds at Sawgrass, has shot 15-under.

"It feels great to win this again, and it feels good to do it on a course this difficult," Bennett said. "But my main goal is still to help us win as a team."

That was left for Dickerson and Benedetti to determine, playing in the last two groups. As Benedetti was cleaning up a bogey at the 17th hole, Alexander told Dickerson on the 18th tee that the Gators needed Dickerson and Benedetti to play the final hole at least 1-under to win the tournament.

Augusta's players already had completed their rounds, with Michael Webb (66), Elson, Robert Duck (70) and Oliver Wilson (72) combining to shoot 12-under for the day.

"I was really surprised about Augusta," Dickerson said. "I asked [Alexander] where UNF was, but he told me we had another problem -- that Augusta was finished and we were tied. We needed someone to birdie the final hole."

Dickerson's drive left him with 235 yards to a back pin placement, and he didn't play it safe, whacking a 5-wood to within 30 feet of the hole, then safely two-putting for the birdie. Benedetti also reached the green in two shots, and conservatively three-putted for par to assure the victory.

Dickerson's birdie was his third in six holes, after he bogeyed the par-5 12th hole. He responded to that by draining birdie putts of 8 feet at No. …

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