Florida junior Jorge Garcia has transferred to Barry, a Division II school, and will be one of two Division I transfers eligible to compete for the Buccaneers beginning this spring, Golfweek has learned.
Garcia, a highly-ranked recruit in Florida’s 2015 recruiting class, will be joined at Barry by Florida State’s Tyler Bakich, a junior from Valrico, Fla., who competed just twice in two seasons for the Seminoles.
“Jorge will add a much needed boost to the team,” said Barry head coach Jimmy Stobs. “We struggled to get going this past fall after Hurricane Irma rolled through and some other unfortunate distractions popped up. He is an outstanding player and will be a great team leader. Jorge is one of the best amateurs in the world and we are excited about him joining the program. … (Tyler) he needed a fresh start and is expected to be in the lineup right away.”
Barry is ranked 12th in the Bushnell/Golfweek Division II Coaches’ Poll. The Bucs didn’t finish better than T-5 in four fall starts after losing four of its top four scorers from last season to graduation.
Since the NCAA Division II title began being decided by match play in 2011, Barry has won two national championships, in 2013 and ’14. The Bucs won the stroke-play portion of the 2017 NCAA D-II Championship before losing to eighth-seeded Arkansas Tech in the quarterfinals.
Garcia is a Venezuelan native who went to high school in Miami. Barry is located in Miami Shores.
“I just want to be closer to my coaches and family who have supported me through the good and bad before I start getting ready for pro golf,” Garcia said. “… By moving to Miami I will be able to control my own destiny and write my own script.”
Garcia played in just one event this fall for the Gators, tying for 34th at the season-opening Carpet Capital Collegiate, and was seventh on the team in scoring average at 73.33.
He had a solid freshman campaign, notching three top-10s in 13 events and ranking fourth on the team in scoring average. As a sophomore, he posted two fall top-10s, but ended up playing only seven events and finished T-30 or worse three times in four spring starts. He was sixth on the team in scoring average (72.86) as a sophomore.
Garcia finished his sophomore season ranked No. 154 by Golfweek after ranking No. 89 at the end of his freshman season.
“I was disappointed in the timing of Jorge’s decision, but I do understand how badly he wants to play professional golf,” Florida head coach J.C. Deacon said. “Hopefully this move helps him reach those goals. We all wish him the best.”
Florida ended this past fall ranked ninth in the country and remain a national-title contender behind junior Gordon Neale, sophomore Andy Zhang and freshman John Axelsen, among others.