ORLANDO, Fla. – Led by senior Alex Medinis’ (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) back-to-back under-par rounds, the FGCU men’s golf team opened the first day of the Rio Pinar Invitational hosted by UCF with 36-hole score of 13-under par to sit in first place in the 15-team field at Rio Pinar Country Club.
Medinis started the tournament with the low round of the day by carding a five-under 67 followed by a two-under 70 in the afternoon to sit atop the 86-player leaderboard. The Fort Myers product was bogey-free through the 36 holes, finishing with a field-best 29 pars and seven birdies.
The Eagles broke a streak of 10 straight rounds without an under-par team score by opening the day with a four-under 284, highlighted by Medinis’ 67. The second round saw all four FGCU’s counting scores come in at even-par or lower, resulting in a nine-under 279 to cap off the day at 13-under 563.
FGCU was one of three teams to card two under-par rounds to stay three strokes clear of the rest of the field. No. 19 UCF and No. 30 Wichita State are three strokes back at 10-under par 566. The Knights, who won the USF Invite and finished 39 strokes ahead of FGCU two weeks ago, filled out a scorecard of six-under 282 and four-under 284. Wichita State had a first round-low of eight-under 280 and finished with a two-under 286.
“I’m extremely proud of the way the guys played and handled themselves on the course,” said head coach Brent Jensen. “Their scores today are a direct result of their positive attitudes and being mentally strong through a long day on the course. We’ve got two very good teams right behind us, so we’ve got to stick to our game plan tomorrow.”
FGCU will vie for its first team title of the spring and fifth of the 2011-12 campaign on Tuesday when the third and final round gets underway with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. FGCU along with UCF and Wichita State will go off holes 1-3.
Medinis will also look to become the second Eagle in as many years to win the tournament’s individual medalist honor. Last spring, then-senior Dan Mazziotta (Fort Myers, Fla./Cypress Lake HS), who earned a share of first place with a program record 12-under par 204 (65-69-70).
FGCU’s other Fort Myers native, Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS), is in a tie for fourth place overall thanks to a four-under 68 in the afternoon, which was behind Medinis’ 67 for the second-best round of the day. Hernandez began the day with an even-par 72 for a two-round four-under 139. Hernandez has been even-par or lower in his last five rounds and carded a team-high 10 birdies on the day.
Currently No. 111 in the Golfstat Cup rankings, senior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) made it three FGCU players in the top 10 of the individual standings with a 72(E)-69(-3)/141(-3) to sit in a tie for sixth place. Pena was also one of three Eagles to play the par 5s at four-under par while his 69 was his 11th under-par round of the year.
Junior Kyle English (Bloomington, Ill./University HS) was one of the other FGCU players at four-under on the par 5s, finishing with a first-day 74-72(E)/146 to tie for 24th. English’s solid 74 in the morning didn’t contribute towards the team score, but his even-par 72 helped the Eagles break 280 for the second time this year and 11th time in program history. Redshirt junior Jeremy Self (Tupelo, Miss./Tupelo HS) contributed a one-over par 73 in round one and a 75 in the afternoon to move into a tie for 34th place.
Playing as an individual, redshirt junior Patrick Williams (Toronto, Canada/Crescent School HS) is in a tie for 12th after a 72(E)-71(-1)/143(-1). Williams finished with 27 pars on the day, played the par 5s at four-under and was one of 10 players to finish under-par on the par 3s.
1. Alex Medinis – 67(-5)-70(-2)/137(-7)
T-4. Jack Hernandez – 72(E)-68(-4)/140(-4)
T-6. Brandon Pena – 72(E)-69(-3)/141(-3)
T-24. Kyle English – 74-72(E)/146
T-34. Jeremy Self – 73-75/148
T-12. Patrick Williams – 72(E)-71(-1)/143(-1)
TOURNAMENT STANDINGS (Golf Week Ranking)
1. FGCU (87) – 284(-4)-279(-9)/563(-13)
T-2. UCF (19) – 282(-6)-284(-4)/560(-10)
T-2. Wichita State (30) – 280(-8)-286(-2)/560(-10)
4. Northern Illinois (155) – 291-291/582
T-5. Campbell (67) – 298-287(-1)/585
T-5. Akron (115) – 291-294/585
7. Stetson (201) – 294-294/588
8. Houston Baptist (174) – 300-290/590
T-9. FAU (219) – 302-292/594
T-9. Seton Hall (187) – 297-297/594
11. Loyola-Maryland (147) – 295-300/595
12. Cleveland State (181) – 295-303/598
13. Miami-Ohio (184) – 300-301/601
14. Western Illinois (199) – 305-301/606
15. George Mason (224) – 308-309/617