Hernandez Takes Home Medalist Honors; FGCU Finishes Third at Rio Pinar Invite
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@pierson_sid)
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Hernandez captured his first collegiate tournament win with a five-under 67 on Tuesday. (Photo by Jim Dostie)
Hernandez captured his first collegiate tournament win with a five-under 67 on Tuesday. (Photo by Jim Dostie)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Led by freshman Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) taking home individual medalist honors, the FGCU men’s golf team produced its third straight under-par round to finish in third place in the 15-team field at the Rio Pinar Invitational hosted by UCF at Rio Pinar Country Club.

The Eagles entered the day atop the leaderboard after going 13-under through the first two rounds, but couldn’t overcome No. 30 Wichita State’s final round 10-under par 278 that helped the Shockers take home the team title at 20-under (280-286-278) for the tournament. No. 19 and host UCF finished in second place (282-284-282/848), making up three strokes on FGCU with a six-under 282.

Fueled by a five-under 67 in Tuesday’s round, Hernandez played the final 36 holes of the event at a combined nine-under par to win his first career collegiate tournament. The second Eagle in as many years to win medalist honors at the tournament, Hernandez played the first nine holes of the day at six-under before holding on for his career-low and the one-shot win over Wichita State’s Rafael Becker. The Fort Myers product finished with a 72(E)-68(-4)-67(-5)/209(-9) and now has six straight rounds at even-par or lower. Hernandez led the field with 16 birdies and in par 3 scoring (-2).

Hernandez’s 67 and senior Brandon Pena’s (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) second straight three-under 69 propelled the Green and Blue to their third consecutive under-par team score at one-under 287. FGCU’s 284(-4)-279(-9)-287(-1)/850(-14) is its lowest 54-hole score of the year and the fourth-best by total strokes in program history.

One of eight players to shoot even-par or lower all three rounds, Pena’s three-day six-under par 210 (72-69-69) helped him finish in a tie for fourth - his sixth top 10 of the year. Pena, who is No. 111 in the Golfstat Cup rankings, finished second amongst the 86-player field in par 4 scoring (-4), fifth in pars (40) and eighth in par 5 scoring (-4).

Senior Alex Medinis (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) 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 of the leaderboard after the first 36 holes. The Fort Myers product was bogey-free through the first day, finishing with a field-best 29 pars and seven birdies. Medinis closed with a two-over 74 on Tuesday to tie for sixth overall, leading the tournament with 43 pars.

Junior Kyle English (Bloomington, Ill./University HS) contributed his second score of the tournament towards the team score with a final round 77. English’s three rounds were highlighted by an even-par 72 that helped him finish in a tie for 41st, while he led the team in par 5 scoring (-5). Redshirt junior Jeremy Self (Tupelo, Miss./Tupelo HS) contributed a one-over par 73 in the opening round of the tournament and went on to finish in 56th place (73-75-78/223).

Playing as an individual, redshirt junior Patrick Williams (Toronto, Canada/Crescent School HS) closed a solid two days with a 76 to slide back into a tie for 26th overall. Williams got off to a strong start on Monday, finishing the day in a tie for 12th after a 72(E)-71(-1)/143(-1). Williams finished tournament with 39 pars on the day, played the par 5s at four-under and was even on the par 3s.

Just three days from now, FGCU will be back on the course at the FAU Invitational. The three-day event begins on Friday, March 23, and features 18 holes per day.

FGCU PARTICIPANTS
1. Jack Hernandez – 72(E)-68(-4)-67(-5)/207(-9)
T-4. Brandon Pena – 72(E)-69(-3)-69(-3)/210(-6)
T-6. Alex Medinis – 67(-5)-70(-2)-74/211(-5)
T-41. Kyle English – 74-72(E)-77/223
T-56. Jeremy Self – 73-75-78/226

FGCU INDIVIDUAL
T-26. Patrick Williams – 72(E)-71(-1)-76/219

TOURNAMENT STANDINGS (Golf Week Ranking)
1. Wichita State (30) – 280(-8)-286(-2)-278(-10)/844(-20)
2. UCF (19) – 282(-6)-284(-4)-282(-6)/848(-16)
3. FGCU (87) – 284(-4)-279(-9)-287(-1)/850(-14)
4. Northern Illinois (155) – 291-291-288(E)/870
5. Campbell (67) – 298-287(-1)-287(-1)/872
6. Houston Baptist (174) – 300-290-285(-3)/875
7. Akron (115) – 291-294-293/878
8. Loyola-Maryland (147) – 295-300-288(E)/883
9. Miami-Ohio (184) – 300-301-283(-5)/884
10. Seton Hall (187) – 297-297-296/890
11. Stetson (201) – 294-294-305/893
12. FAU (219) – 302-292-301/895
13. Cleveland State (181) – 295-303-300/898
14. Western Illinois (199) – 305-301-296/902
15. George Mason (224) – 308-309-299/916