Eagles Finish Second at 11th Annual Rice Intercollegiate
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

HOUSTON, Texas – Despite another sparkling three-under par 69 from junior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) in Tuesday’s final round, the FGCU men’s golf team couldn’t fend off a five-under par 283 from No. 51 New Mexico State en route to finishing second at the 11th Annual Rice Intercollegiate at Westwood Golf Club.

Pena’s three-under 69 was his second in a row, as the Eagles produced a four-man score of 290 to finish with a three round 285(-3)-281(-7)-290/856(-8), just three strokes back of New Mexico State (291-279-283/853). The runner-up is the Blue and Green’s third of the season.

The Aggies played the final two rounds at 14-under par, while their 853 is the lowest three-round score in the tournament’s history. FGCU’s 856 would have been the lowest, but is now the second-best score in the 11 years.

Wichita State (857) dropped from second to third despite a final round even-par 288. No. 72 Houston moved up two spots into fourth place with its 288 on Tuesday, while host Rice (869) and Texas State (869) tied for fifth in the 15-team field that included six of Golf Week’s top 100.

Behind a tournament-high 16 birdies from freshman Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS), 12 from senior Dan Mazziotta (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) and 10 more from Pena, the Eagles led the field with 56 birdies over the three rounds. A large majority of those birdies came on the course’s par 5s where FGCU played 22-under par, third-best. FGCU also led the field in par 4 scoring (+7).

Pena’s scorecard looked almost identical to Monday’s final round, as his second straight three-under par 69 was highlighted by another 33 on the course’s front nine. The Clewiston, Fla. product’s 72(E)-69(-3)-69(-3)/210(-6) put him in a three-way tie for second in the field of 75 individuals and equaled his career low for three rounds which he set in the fall at the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate. Pena’s third top 5 of the season and fourth top 10 featured a tournament-high 40 pars, 10 birdies and just four bogeys. Pena went bogey-free on the front nine over the two days with seven birdies.

After producing two under-par rounds each on Monday, junior Patrick Williams (Toronto, Canada/Crescent School) and Cote finished in a tie for 11th overall. Cote entered the day in a tie for fifth after back-to-back two-under par 70s, but capped a strong tournament with a 76. Cote led the field in birdies and was one of 14 players to remain at even-par or better on the par 4s. Williams’ even-par 216 for the tournament ended on a three-over 75 after rounds of two-under 70 and one-under 71. Like Cote, Williams was strong on the par 4s, playing them at two-under par.

Mazziotta upped his top 20 finish streak to eight tournaments and 16 of his last 17 with a final round even-par 72. The Fort Myers, Fla. product led the tournament in par 5 scoring at eight-under en route to tying for 17th position with a 73-72(E)-72(E)/217. Junior and fellow Fort Myers native Alex Medinis (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) turned in his second two-over 74 of the tournament to go along with a one-under 71 in round two. Medinis’ 219 put him in a tie for 23rd, as he finished at six-under on the par 5s.

FGCU will be back on the course over the first weekend of March at the USF Invitational. The three-day tournament will begin on Friday, March 4 at Lake Jovita Golf Club.

T-2. Brandon Pena – 72(E)-69(-3)-69(-3)/210(-6)
T-11. Patrick Williams – 70(-2)-71(-1)-75/216(E)
T-11. Matt Cote – 70(-2)-70(-2)-76/216(E)
T-17. Dan Mazziotta – 73-72(E)-72(E)/217
T-23. Alex Medinis – 74-71(-1)-74/219

1. New Mexico State (51) – 291-279(-9)-283(-5)/853(-11)
2. FGCU (87) – 285(-3)-281(-7)-290/856(-8)
3. Wichita State (154) – 281(-7)-288(E)-288(E)/857(-7)
4. Houston (72) – 290-287(-1)-288(E)/865
T-5. Rice (153) – 288(E)-289-292/869
T-5. Texas State (104) – 286(-2)-285(-3)-298/869
T-7. Texas-San Antonio (216) – 282(-6)-297-292/871
T-7. Louisiana-Monroe (131) – 290-286(-2)-295/871
9. Bowling Green (115) – 293-290-293/876
10. Nebraska (100) – 291-291-296/878
11. Missouri State (109) – 303-289-288(E)/880
T-12. Miami (OH) (93) – 297-299-289/884
T-12. Louisiana Tech (83) – 297-298-289/884
14. Oral Roberts (197) – 308-294-292/894
15. Houston Baptist (256) – 312-300-302/914