PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The FGCU men’s golf team concluded its season-opening tournament Tuesday at the Sea Best Seafood Invitational in 11th place at the iconic THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
FGCU finished with a team total of 931 for the invite and 314 for the final round. The University of North Florida and Liberty tied for the team lead in the competitive, 16-team field, but by virtue of a 297 final round Liberty was crowned the champion over UNF (304 final round).
Junior Blake Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) made one of the biggest moves in the field Tuesday as he began in 70th place but finished in a tie for 55th (78/87/74: 239) after posting a 2-over 74 – four shots better than any other FGCU performer.
“Blake definitely seemed to find a rhythm today, but overall the final round was disappointing,” head coach Brent Jensen said. “We gave away too many shots and need to start taking big numbers off our cards. We’ve got a month to improve on that and get better before our next tournament.”
Because play was suspended on Monday due to darkness, teams had to finish their second round on Tuesday morning before commencing the final round just before 10 a.m. Mike Andre (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) had three holes remaining on his second round, and he converted two birdies to record a 2-under 70 – FGCU’s best round of the tournament. The junior started the third round in a tie for 6th place, but couldn’t find the same rhythm he had on Monday en route to a birdie-less 81 and a tie for 21st overall (76/70/81: 227).
Sophomore Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evengelical Christian HS) finished tied for 31st (78/72/81: 231) as he also shot a final-round 81 after carding an Even-par 72 in the second round. Lone senior Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) capped his third straight round in the high-70s with a 78 to conclude in a tie for 46th overall (79/77/78: 234). Cote was only +2 on his round before making a bogey and a triple bogey in his final four holes.
Rounding out the FGCU team scoring was Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS), who struggled with an 86 on Tuesday after posting an 88 and 87 in the opening two rounds on Monday. Competing as FGCU’s lone individual, Keaton Jones (Kitchener, Ontario/St. Mary’s HS) shot a final-round 83 to finish tied for 62nd (78/81/83: 242).
Biggs started his final round on the par-5 9th and went out in 37 after carding two birdies against three bogeys. He got his round all the back to Even par after a birdie on the short par-4 6th, but unfortunately made a double bogey on hole 7 to come in with a 37 en route to posting his 74. Despite the tough finish, Biggs still improved 13 shots from his second-round score – the fourth-best performance in the field of more than 80 golfers.
FGCU (No. 89) was one of nine teams competing this week in the top 100 of the Golfweek rankings. Four additional squads were in the top 50, led by No. 5 Texas A&M. The legendary course played to a length of 6,977 yards and a par-72 layout for the teams. The Pete and Alice Dye design hosts THE PLAYERS Championship each May – often referred to as the “fifth major.”
Every hole on the course played over par for the week, and only one hole in the first round (par-5 16th, -0.02) and one hole in the final round (par-3 13th, -0.09) played under par during a given round. The average score decreased each round, but was still more than six shots over par at 78.16.
The Eagles return to action Mar. 3-5 at the Harmony Preserve Intercollegiate. The tournament, held just outside Orlando at the Harmony Golf Preserve, will be hosted by VCU and represent the first of three March tournaments for the team.
FGCU COMPETITORS (1st Round/2nd Round/3rd Round: Final)
T-21) Mike Andre (76/70/81: 227)
T-31) Jake Sherwin (78/72/81: 231)
T-46) Matt Cote (79/77/78: 234)
T-55) Blake Biggs (78/87/74: 239)
T-62) Keaton Jones (78/81/83: 242)
81) Jack Hernandez (88/87/86: 261)
COMPLETE FIELD (GOLFWEEK RANKING)
1) #36 Liberty (296/293/297: 886)
2) #79 North Florida (298/284/304: 886)
3) #5 Texas A&M (306/295/299: 900)
4) #46 Tennessee (304/297/303: 904)
5) #108 USC Upstate (302/303/310: 915)
6) #77 Florida (304/307/307: 918)
7) #81 East Carolina (309/321/289: 919)
8) #55 Winthrop (304/307/313: 924)
T-9) #196 Jacksonville (321/312/294: 927)
T-9) #48 ETSU (303/311/313: 927)
11) #89 FGCU (311/306/314: 931)
12) #175 Cal Poly (322/305/305: 932)
13) #107 Jacksonville State (308/320/306: 934)
14) #122 Pepperdine (320/308/307: 935)
15) #180 Florida Atlantic (320/315/315: 950)
16) #126 Old Dominion (319/318/321: 958)