MIROMAR LAKES, Fla. – The FGCU men’s golf team will look to defend its tournament title as the Eagles tee it up in their own backyard Sunday and Monday, Oct. 27-28, at the Cobra-PUMA Invitational hosted by Xavier University at Miromar Lakes Golf Club.
The 54-hole event is set to get underway with a 9 a.m. shotgun start on Sunday and conclude Monday with 18 holes also beginning at 9 in the morning. Live scoring is not available, but updates throughout the event will be posted on Twitter @FGCU_MGolf, with video highlights accompanying the action of FGCU’s only fall tournament in SWFL. Admission is free and open to the public.
In addition to Xavier and FGCU, the 11 other teams competing this week are: Arkansas State, Bethune-Cookman, Dayton, Florida Atlantic, Georgetown, Northern Kentucky, Ohio, Savannah State, St. John’s, Saint Joseph’s and Stetson. The Eagles (No. 99) and St. John’s (No. 93) are both ranked nationally in the top 100 in the most recent Golfweek Rankings updated Thursday. FGCU will go through a round of qualifying on Friday and Saturday before head coach Brent Jensen submits a final lineup.
FGCU won the title in 2011 and then repeated in 2012, doing so in record fashion. The Eagles finished 19 shots clear of Big Ten member Penn State last year, shooting a 27-under 837 to set the program’s 54-hole record. A large part of that performance was due to then-freshman Edward Figueroa (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann HS), who shot a course record and program-tying 64 in the final round. For the three rounds, the medalist shot a 200 (-16) to crush the previous record of 204.
LAST TIME OUT
The Green and Blue is coming off a 7th-place showing at the Pinetree Intercollegiate in Georgia last week and is entering the middle of a three-week stretch in which it will play in three tournaments.
EAGLES FOR THE EAGLES
Through its first three tournaments and nine rounds of the year, FGCU has already tied a single-season record with 12 eagles. The dozen eagles are the third-most in the nation, and match the record set by the 2011-12 and 2008-09 teams. Leading the charge for the Eagles in recording eagles is Figueroa, who individually has the third-most in the country with four, which already places him in sole possession of third on the single-season list in that category. Figueroa is chasing the six recorded in 2011-12 by Brandon Pena and the nine carded during the 2008-09 campaign by Kyle Hammond.
FGCU boasts three other golfers who have two eagles already: senior Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS), freshman Jordan Miller (Bradenton, Fla./Bradenton Christian School) and sophomore Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS). What makes their performances even more impressive is that only Sherwin has played all nine rounds this year; Cote has appeared in six and Miller made his collegiate debut last week with three rounds.
PUTTING & PAR-3 CLINIC
Junior Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) is one of three FGCU players who has played all nine rounds so far this year, and he has yet to three-putt a hole. Out of 867 golfers who qualify, he is tied at the top of the nation with his zero three-putts. Hernandez is getting himself in great position, especially on par-3 holes, as he ranks in the top-5 percent of all Division-I golfers in par-3 green-in-regulation, finding the surface 75 percent of the time.
Not to be out-done, Figueroa’s par-3 green-in-regulation percentage is even better than Hernandez’s at 83.3 percent. That ranks 6th in the nation while his overall green-in-regulation percentage of 75.9 is 12th-best in the country.
LEADING THE WAY
Junior transfer Blake Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) leads the Green and Blue in scoring average at 74.33. Biggs played in each of FGCU’s first two tournaments, firing a low round of 72 in his first competitive action with the Eagles at the Golfweek Conference Challenge.
The Eagles will wrap up their fall season next Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 4-5, at the UNF/Georgia Southern Intercollegiate in Jacksonville, Fla.
TOURNAMENT FIELD (Golfweek Rankings)
#93 St. John’s
#190 Arkansas State
#245 Northern Kentucky
#254 Saint Joseph’s
#282 Savannah State