FORT MYERS, Fla. – An opening round two-under par 70 by senior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) highlighted the first day of the Sea Best Invitational hosted by Jacksonville University, as FGCU sits in sole possession of ninth place in the field of 13 teams on the PLAYERS Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass.
Pena’s 70 that featured a pair of birdies and one of three eagles on the entire day was the low round in the morning. The Clewiston, Fla. product fired a one-over 73 in the day’s second round and sits just one stroke back of leader T.J. Vogel (73-69/142) of Florida. Vogel is currently the 14th ranked player in the country according to Golfstat.
Vogel’s three-under par 69 in the afternoon helped push No. 37 Florida from third into first place entering Tuesday’s final round. The Gators’ second round four-under 284 was the only under-par team round of the day and just one of five scores under 300. No. 30 Liberty (301-297/598) sits 11 strokes back of the Gators, who are looking to claim their third straight title at this event. No. 5 North Florida (605), Coastal Carolina (609) and Old Dominion (609) round out the top five.
FGCU’s five-man score of 308 in the first round put the Eagles in fifth place heading into the afternoon. The Blue and Green capped the day with a 313 to move into ninth overall.
Pena will head into Tuesday’s final round seeking his second individual title of the season. In the Fall, Pena took home medalist honors at the Renaissance Invitational hosted by Xavier in Fort Myers. The Clewiston, Fla. product sits in second overall in the 69-player field, ranking among the leaders in par 3 scoring (-1), par 4 scoring (+2), par 5 scoring (-2) and pars (22). Pena’s two rounds were both team-lows and extended his counting score streak to 46.
Fellow senior Alex Medinis (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) fought his way into the top 20 in the second round, carding a two-over 74 after an opening 77. Medinis will carry the momentum of playing his final nine holes of the day at one-under par into Tuesday. The Fort Myers native equaled Pena’s team-high six birdies on the day and was even on the par 3s. Freshman Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) opened with a 75, but slipped into a tie for 36th overall in the afternoon. Hernandez carded FGCU’s lone birdie of the day on the course’s infamous 17th hole, a par 3 that features an island green.
FGCU will tee off from 9:42 a.m. – 10:18 a.m. playing alongside No. 44 East Carolina and fellow A-Sun member ETSU.
Live in-progress scoring of Tuesday’s final round can be found at www.GolfStat.com. A link to the live 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 JU Invitational on the front page.
2. Brandon Pena 70(-2)-73/143(-1)
T-18. Alex Medinis – 77-74/151
T-36. Jack Hernandez – 75-81/156
T-67. Jeremy Self – 86-88/174
T-67. Niklas Ahola – 89-85/174
TOURNAMENT STANDINGS (Final Fall of 2011 Golf Week Ranking)
1. Florida (37) – 303-284(-4)/587
2. Liberty (30) – 301-297/598
3. North Florida (5) – 301-304/605
T-4. Coastal Carolina (111) – 315-294/609
T-4. Old Dominion (142) – 308-301/609
6. Mercer – 304-306/610
T-7. East Carolina (44) – 317-296/613
T-7. ETSU (123) – 315-298/613
9. FGCU (84) – 308-313/621
10. Jacksonville (176) – 317-305/622
11. Georgia State (116) – 319-307/626
12. Charleston Southern (126) – 315-312/627
13. Jacksonville State (83) – 322-308/630