BRASELTON, Ga. – Led by senior Dan Mazziotta (Fort Myers, Fla./Cypress Lake HS) who will play the final tournament of his illustrious four-year career, the FGCU men’s golf team will attempt to capture its first-ever conference title starting on Monday at the Atlantic Sun Championship on The Chateau Course at Chateau Elan.
FGCU will open the first round of the three-day event on the 7,030-yard, par 71 course Monday morning from 10:15-10:51 a.m. The Eagles will play alongside defending champion ETSU and No. 44 UNF. The trio occupied the top three spots in last year’s standings.
Another strong A-Sun Championship yields six teams in the top 100 of the Golf Week rankings, including a pair in the top 50 in No. 44 UNF and No. 49 Kennesaw State. Looking even further, eight different A-Sun teams have won a tournament title during the 2010-11 campaign, including two by FGCU and Kennesaw State.
The Eagles finished second at the 2010 A-Sun Championships in their second-ever appearance in the conference tournament. This year’s version of the Blue and Green are led by first-year head coach Brent Jensen, who has helped guide the Eagles to a team single-season record 14 under-par rounds and are on-pace to set the single-season scoring average (291.03).
Highlighted by its wins at the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate and Stetson Invitational in the fall, the Eagles have placed in the top 5 in eight of 10 tournaments, including pair of runner-ups. As a team, FGCU ranks sixth in the nation in birdies (465), eighth in par 5 scoring (4.76), 20th in par 3 scoring (3.18) and 25th in fairways hit (.682).
One of three A-Sun players in the top 50 of the Golfstat Cup, Mazziotta sports a 71.4 stroke average - 34th nationally - through 30 rounds played. Mazziotta ranks tied for sixth in the country in birdies with 114, helping him set a program single-season record with 20 rounds at par or better. Mazziotta has put together 10 straight top 20 finishes this season, highlighted by seven top 10s and four top 5s. He enters the A-Sun Championship with three straight top 10s and 10 or his last 11 rounds at even-par or better. Mazziotta also ranks nationally in par 5 scoring (4.59/8th), fewest bogeys per round (2.5/t-16th) and fairways hit (.795/25th).
One of two seniors on the trip for FGCU, Mazziotta has 28 top 20s and 20 tops 10s over his 37 career tournaments. He holds the program record for most career rounds (102), par or better rounds (43), counting scores (94) and sits second in career scoring average (73.11).
Junior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) will occupy the No. 2 spot in the FGCU lineup. Pena was the talk of the final round at last year’s A-Sun Championship when he carded a conference final round record seven-under par 65 to finish in second place overall. The Clewiston, Fla. product ranks second on this year’s squad with a 72.7 stroke average over 24 rounds and has four top 10s and three top 5s. Pena has finished at par or lower in 13 of 24 rounds this season, highlighted by a pair of 54-hole tournaments with all under-par rounds.
Playing his best golf of the year, junior Alex Medinis (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) makes his third straight trip to the A-Sun Championship. Medinis is coming off a second place finish at the 92-player FAU Spring Break Championship where he set a 54-hole career-low with a five-under 211 (68-73-70). The top 5 finish was the second of the season for Medinis who has a 73.5 stroke average. Medinis’ .782 fairways hit percentage is 36th in the nation according to Golfstat.
Senior Gyles Robin (Jersey, England/De La Salle College) will make his first-ever A-Sun Championship appearance. Robin’s 74.8 stroke average has come over 18 rounds and includes five rounds at par or better. A native of Jersey, England, Robin posted back-to-back top 20 finishes to open the fall and is second on the team in par 5 scoring (4.69).
Freshman Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) used a pair of strong tournaments in the fall to break into the deep FGCU lineup and earn four starts in the spring. Cote is just the third FGCU freshman in the last three years to make the trip to the A-Sun Championship, following in the footsteps of Pena and Medinis who did so in 2009. The Palm Harbor, Fla. product opened his collegiate career with even-par or better scores in seven of his first 10 rounds and has a solid 73.2 stroke average. Cote is currently 12th in the nation in fewest putts per round (29.1).
The Chateau Course features contoured fairways, thick Bermuda roughs, and strategically placed lakes and ponds opened in July 1989. Built on 170 acres of the finest terrain, the 7,030 yard layout of the Chateau Elan Course, designed by Denis Griffiths, plays to a par 71. Winding along three lakes and two creeks, water comes into play on ten of the eighteen holes while 87 bunkers give definition and character to the course. Chateau Elan has served as the A-Sun Championship course twice before. The Woodlands Course played host in 2008 and last year, the teams competed at The Legends Course.
Live in-progress scoring can be found by going to the FGCU men’s golf schedule and clicking on the day’s event or by going to www.GolfStat.com and searching for the Atlantic Sun Championship on the front page. Live twitter updates from the course can also be followed at www.twitter.com/fgcueagles. Full recaps, stats and post-round interviews after each day can be found at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.
FGCU PARTICIPANTS (Tee Time)
1. Dan Mazziotta, Sr. (10:51)
2. Brandon Pena, Jr. (10:42)
3. Alex Medinis, Jr. (10:33)
4. Gyles Robin, Jr. (10:24)
5. Matt Cote, Fr. (10:15)
TOURNAMENT FIELD (Golf Week Ranking)
Kennesaw State (49)
USC Upstate (154)