BRASELTON, Ga. – The FGCU men’s golf team will begin its quest for its first-ever Atlantic Sun Championship on Sunday when it begins play at the three-day conference championship at the Legends Course of Chateau Elan. The Eagles’ best finish at the A-Sun Championship came in 2010 when they placed second.
FGCU will sport a five-man lineup that has just five rounds of experience at the A-Sun Championship, but will be making their third straight trip together. Although it’s a youthful lineup, four of the players have been FGCU’s low-man at an event this season while all five have multiple under-par rounds.
The Eagles will be paired with in-state rival Stetson, going off the first tee starting at 8 a.m. Live scoring of all three rounds is available through www.GOLFSTAT.com or can be found on www.ATLANTICSUN.org or www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.
With one team title to its credit in the fall, FGCU has rebounded from a shaky start to the spring with three of its top five team scores of the year over the past month. The Eagles broke 300 in five of the last six rounds compared to just nine times over the first eight events (24 rounds).
FGCU will use the same five-man lineup for the third tournament in a row with juniors Mathias Boesmans (Belgium/Western Texas College) and Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS), sophomore Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and freshmen Edward Figueroa (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann) and Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS).
FGCU has placed a player in the A-Sun Championship top 10 the last three years. Kyle English finished fifth (73-74-69/216) in 2012, Alex Medinis tied for sixth (69-70-73/212) in 2011 for his second top 10, Brandon Pena took sole possession of second (71-77-65/213) in 2010, while Medinis’ first top 10 came in 2010 when he tied for ninth (75-72-72/219). Pena’s seven-under 65 in 2010 is still an A-Sun Championship final round record.
Figueroa has been FGCU’s low-man in five of the eight events he’s played in this year, sporting a team-low 73.1 stroke average in his first season. With three top 10s to his credit, including medalist honors at the Cobra/PUMA Invitational (hosted by Xavier) in the fall in which he shot a 16-under 200, Figueroa has turned in a counting score in all 24 rounds. He leads the team with 70 birdies and is 18th in the nation in par 3 scoring (3.05).
One of two players with A-Sun Championship experience, Hernandez will begin as FGCU’s No. 2 man after a top 20 (73-79-72/224) showing during tough conditions at the Jim West Intercollegiate hosted by Texas State. An A-Sun All-Freshmen team selection a year ago, Hernandez has returned to form over the last five rounds with a 74.0 stroke average.
A junior college transfer, Boesmans along with Figueroa and Sherwin will be making his A-Sun Championship debut. Sherwin is the only the only Eagle to play in all 10 events this year, finishing as the team’s low-man in three of the five spring tournaments. Sherwin was named the A-Sun Player of the Week on Apr. 3 after tying for third – his second top 5 of the spring – at the FAU Spring Break Championship.
Figueroa and Sherwin may look to Cote for advice this week, as Cote was the first FGCU freshman to participate in the A-Sun Championship in 2010. Named the 2010 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Cote tied for 40th in his only appearance despite back-to-back 73s to open play. The Palm Harbor, Fla. native is tied for the team lead with three top 10s and has a streak of 11 straight rounds in the 70s resulting in a 75.3 stroke average.
FGCU PARTICIPANTS (Average)
Edward Figueroa, Fr. (73.1)
Jack Hernandez, So. (77.4)
Mathias Boesmans, Jr. (76.6)
Jake Sherwin, Fr. (76.3)
Matt Cote, Jr. (75.3)
ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD (Golfstat Ranking)
Kennesaw State (56)
USC Upstate (177)
Northern Kentucky (205)