FORT MYERS, Fla. – Following a season with a pair of team titles and eight top 5 finishes, three members of the FGCU men’s golf team earned postseason accolades from the Atlantic Sun Conference on Wednesday, highlighted by Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) being named the Freshman of the Year, in a vote conducted by the league head coaches.
Senior Dan Mazziotta (Fort Myers, Fla./Cypress Lake HS) was named to the All-Conference first team, while junior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) earned second team accolades. Cote was one of two unanimous selections on the All-Freshmen team. Mazziotta and Pena are the first two players in program history to earn A-Sun All-Conference.
Cote led all A-Sun freshmen in scoring average by a full stroke at 73.3 on the strength of eight rounds of par or lower. With three top 10s on the season, Cote began his collegiate career by going under-par in six of his first nine rounds. The Palm Harbor, Fla. product became the third FGCU freshman in program history to participate in the A-Sun Championship, producing a pair of counting scores with back-to-back 73s. Cote’s best score of the season came in the final round of the USF Invitation where he shot a four-under par 68. For the season, he finished with 74 birdies and currently ranks 29th in the nation in average putts per round (29.5). The A-Sun Freshman of the Year Award began in 2001.
“It’s great to see Matt achieve this honor because he is a great person who really is mature beyond his years,” said head coach Brent Jensen, who took over reigns of the program at the start of the season. “He shows that maturity everyday at practice, and he handles himself like a true professional in tournaments as well. He is a very level-headed kid who has a bright future ahead of him.”
The All-Conference first team honor is a fitting end to Mazziotta’s illustrious career. The Fort Myers native ranks third in the conference with a 71.6 stroke average, a figure that ranks second in FGCU single-season history. Mazziotta was the only Eagle to participate in all 11 tournaments this season, setting a program record for counting scores with 32. He currently ranks 18th in the country in birdies with 121, helping him set a program single-season record with 20 rounds at par or lower.
Mazziotta put together 10 straight top 20 finishes this season, highlighted by seven top 10s and four top 5s. He took home a pair of individual titles, winning the Stetson Invitational in the fall and the Rio Pinar Invitational hosted by UCF. At UCF, Mazziotta set personal records with a seven-under par 65 and a 54-hole 12-under par 204 (65-69-70). The 54-hole score equaled the program record.
“I think it is no surprise that Dan has earned All-Conference honors,” Jensen said. “Dan has had a great senior season and has worked really hard to achieve his goals this year. He has played steady all year and I am extremely proud of the way he has worked, played, and handled himself. He is not only one of the best players in the conference, but also one of the better players in the nation.”
For the third straight season, Pena finished in the top 20 at the Atlantic Sun Championship when he tied for 14th position (73-69-73/215). Pena ranked second on the club with a 72.6 scoring average, producing three top 5s, four top 10s and seven top 20s over nine tournaments. The Clewiston, Fla. product finished at par or lower in 14 of 27 rounds this season, highlighted by a pair of 54-hole tournaments with all under-par rounds. Over the final four tournaments in the fall, Pena went par or lower in nine of the 12 rounds.
“Brandon has also worked extremely hard both mentally and physically this year. He has come a long way in his mental approach to the game as well as his dedication to fine tuning the fundamentals of his game,” said Jensen. “We will look to Brandon next year to help lead this program to successful 2011-2012 season.”
FGCU’s season featured wins at the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate and Stetson Invitational in the fall, and eight top 5s out of 11 tournaments. Led by Jensen, the Eagles finished with a team single-season record 14 under-par rounds and set the single-season scoring average (290.8) mark. As a team, FGCU currently ranks 11th in the nation in par 5 scoring (.477) and 17th in birdies (500).
Atlantic Sun All-Conference
*Jeff Karlsson, Kennesaw State
*Matt Nagy, Kennesaw State
Kevin Aylwin, UNF
Dan Mazziotta, FGCU
Kevin Phelan, UNF
Vaita Guillaume, Campbell
Matt Moot, Campbell
Paul O’Kane, ETSU
Brandon Pena, FGCU
Sam Ryder, Stetson
*Spencer Lawson, ETSU
*Matt Cote, FGCU
Dillon Batsel, Jacksonville
Jonathan Klotz, Kennesaw State
Amanjyot Singh, Campbell
Freshman Of The Year: Matt Cote, FGCU
Coach Of The Year: Jay Moseley, Kennesaw State