LEMONT, Ill. – The FGCU men’s golf team overcame a four-stroke deficit to No. 49 Missouri in Sunday’s final round of the John Dallio Memorial Tournament hosted by DePaul by carding an even-par 288 to capture its second team title of the week at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club.
A year removed from losing a final round lead and finishing in second in the very same tournament, the Eagles were able to turn their fortunes to give second-year head coach and Chicago native Brent Jensen a win in his hometown. Just six days ago, FGCU won the Cobra-PUMA Invitational hosted by Xavier University.
Senior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS), the reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, led the way with a two-under 70, while junior Kyle English (Bloomington, Ill./University HS) put together a one-under 71 to lead FGCU to its 288. FGCU’s three-round 298-287(-1)-288(E)/873 was three strokes better than Missouri (876) who turned in a 295 on Sunday.
"I'm proud of the way we battled today," said Jensen. "Most of the team had rollercoaster rounds but we were mentally tough all day. They continued to compete and that's how we won the tournament."
The Eagles placed three players in the top 10 and four in the top 20 led by sophomore Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) who finished in a three-way tie for second place in the 78-player field. Cote finished four strokes behind Missouri’s Emilio Cuartero with a 69(-3)-72(E)-76/217. His team-high 13 birdies over the weekend ranked second amongst the field, as he was also one of just two players to play the par 4s at even-par or lower.
English and Pena each ended the tournament with two straight under-par rounds to finish tied for fifth and tied for seventh, respectively. The team win was extra sweet for English, who is also a native of Illinois. English gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about, producing a 77-70(-2)-71(-1)/218 for the best finish of his career. English led the field in par 3 scoring (E) and was a big part of FGCU comeback, playing today’s final nine holes at two-under.
Pena’s seventh place finish was the 10th top 10 of his career, as he also finished strong on the final nine holes going one-under. The Clewiston, Fla. product has five under-par rounds in his last two tournaments thanks to a 78-71(-1)-70(-2)/219 performance this weekend. Pena played the par 5s a team-best four-under and was a combined four-under on the back nine the last two rounds.
Freshman Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) extended his consecutive counting scores streak to nine to open his career with a one-over 73. Hernandez just missed his second straight top 10 finish, tying for 11th with a 74-74-73/221. The local Fort Myers product was one of four Eagles with double figure birdies (10) on the weekend. Fellow Fort Myers native Alex Medinis (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) had his best round of the weekend with the final counting score of two-over 74. Medinis finished as the tournament leader with 41 pars en route to tying for 28th overall (78-76-74/228).
FGCU will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 21 when it begins the three-day, 54-hole Mission Inn Collegiate Classic hosted by St. John’s University. The tournament will be held at The Mission Inn Resort in Howie-in-the-Hills, Fla.
T-2. Matt Cote – 69(-3)-72(E)-76/217
T-5. Kyle English – 77-70(-2)-71(-1)/218
T-7. Brandon Pena – 78-71(-1)-70(-2)/219
T-11. Jack Hernandez – 74-74-73/221
T-27. Alex Medinis – 78-76-74/228
TOURNAMENT STANDINGS (Golf Week Ranking as of Oct. 2)
1. FGCU (158) – 298-287(-1)-288(E)/873
2. Missouri (49) – 292-289-295/876
3. IUPUI (91) – 311-299-287(-1)/897
4. DePaul (124) – 301-294-305/900
5. Northern Iowa (173) – 293-303-306/902
6. Drake (188) – 307-299-306/912
7. Western Illinois (176) – 299-312-304/915
T-8. Bradley (227) – 306-304-313/923
T-8. Wisconsin-Green Bay (258) – 305-313-305/923
T-8. Detroit (171) – 314-298-311/923
11. Eastern Illinois (201) – 306-306-316/928
12. Loyola-Chicago (212) – 307-304-322/933
T-13. SIU Edwardsville (232) – 326-299-313/938
T-13. Marquette (202) – 310-311-317/938
15. Chicago State (272) – 337-335-342/1014