FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind a second round team score of 13-under par 275, the FGCU men’s golf team capped Sunday’s opening 36 holes of the 12-team Cobra-PUMA Invitational hosted by Xavier University with a five-stroke leading heading into Monday’s final round at Miromar Lakes Golf Club.
FGCU’s second round 275 was 11 strokes better than any of the other 11 teams in the afternoon and vaulted the Eagles from sole possession of third place after round one into first with a two-round 289-275(-13)/564(-12). The Green and Blue’s 275 is tied for the fourth-best team score in program history giving them three of the top 5 performances under second-year head coach Brent Jensen.
Loyola-Maryland (569) opened with a first round-low six-under 282 and followed with a one-under 287 to sit five strokes back of FGCU. No. 38 Ball State (576) occupies third place, while host Xavier (578) is 14 strokes back of the Eagles in fourth.
The top four teams will be paired together for Monday’s final round that will begin at 9 a.m.
“I’m proud of the way we battled after the first round,” said Jensen. “Our first round score was disappointing because it’s a course we play all the time, but I knew if we stayed composed the scores would come. Everyone stepped up in the second round and it’s good to get a total team effort. That being said, we’ll have to duplicate today’s second round performance to win because this is a very strong field full of good players.”
Senior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS), who produced a pair of under-par rounds, led the second round surge for the Eagles that saw four different players finish under-par. Pena’s five-under 67 followed a first round one-under par 71 to put him in sole possession of third place in the 68-player field. The Clewiston, Fla. product was one of three players on the day with a pair of eagles en route to leading the field in par 5 scoring at seven-under.
Playing in front of his family and friends, freshman Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) gave his followers something to cheer about with back-to-back under-par rounds. Hernandez equaled Pena’s opening round 71 and followed with a four-under par 68 to sit one spot back in fourth place individually. One of three players under-par on the course’s par 4 holes, Hernandez leads the field at two-under.
Senior Alex Medinis (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) added to the hometown feel, opening his final collegiate tournament in Fort Myers with an even-par 72 and a two-under 70 in the afternoon to climb into a tie for ninth place. Medinis is among the tournament leaders with 24 pars and played at even-par on the par 4s.
Seeing his first action of the season, reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) closed his day with a two-under 70 to give FGCU a quartet of players in the top 20. Cote carded a team-best 10 birdies on the day en route to sitting in a tie for 13th overall (75-70(-2)/145 and was six-under on the par 5s. Redshirt junior Patrick Williams’ (Toronto, Canada/Crescent School) three-over 75 in round one contributed to the team’s 289 in the morning round.
FGCU carved up the par-72, 7,400-yard course’s par 5s to the tune of 22-under par to tie for Loyola-Maryland for the statistical lead. The Eagles also lead the field in par 4 scoring (+7) and are tied for the top spot with 37 birdies.
FGCU also entered four individuals into the tournament, led by junior Kyle English (Bloomington, Ill./University HS) who carded a 75-72(E)/147 to sit in a tie for 23rd place. English and the other trio of FGCU individuals do not count towards the team score.
Team and Individual Twitter updates during tomorrow’s final round can be found at www.twitter.com/FGCUeagles or on the main page of www.FGCUAthletics.com. Miromar Lakes is located on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, right next to the North entrance to FGCU. Monday’s final round will get underway at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start.
3. Brandon Pena – 71(-1)-67(-5)/138(-6)
4. Jack Hernandez – 71(-1)-68(-4)/139(-5)
T-9. Alex Medinis – 72(E)-70(-2)/142(-2)
T-13. Matt Cote – 75-70(-2)/145
T-57. Patrick Williams – 75-82/157
T-23. Kyle English – 75-72(E)/147
T-51. Niklas Ahola – 81-74/155
T-51. Jeremy Self – 78-77/155
T-60. Phillip Boljanovich – 80-79/159
TOURNAMENT STANDINGS (Golf Week Ranking)
1. FGCU (152) – 289-275(-13)/564(-12)
2. Loyola-Maryland (153) – 282(-6)-287(-1)/569(-7)
3. Ball State (38) – 283(-5)-293/576(E)
4. Xavier (91) – 290-288(E)/578
5. Eastern Kentucky (147) – 295-286(-2)/581
6. Dayton (122) – 300-287(-1)/587
7. Bethune-Cookman (215) – 290-298/588
8. Georgetown (131) – 295-298/593
9. Western Kentucky (178) – 307-291/598
10. FAU – 303-302/605
11. Cincinnati (208) – 309-314/623
12. Saint Joseph’s (258) – 314-318/632