BRASELTON, Ga. – Led by a one-under par 71 from redshirt junior Patrick Williams (Toronto, Ontario/Crescent School), the FGCU men’s golf team opened play at the Atlantic Sun Championship held at Chateau Elan Legends Course on Monday with a four-over par 292 to sit in fourth place in the field of 10.
Williams’ 71 was one of just seven under-par rounds yielded by the par-72, 6,975-yard course that was also the site for the league’s 2010 Championship. FGCU’s 292 is five strokes back of No. 14 UNF who shot a one-under 287. FGCU’s playing partner on the first day ETSU shot an even-par 288 to sit in second, while defending champ Kennesaw State shot a 291.
“Obviously we struggled a little bit in spots today, but I thought we did a good job of hanging in there through the finish,” said head coach Brent Jensen. “The course is playing pretty firm, so we’ll just have to make some adjustments going into tomorrow just like we did during today’s round. I thought Pat stepped up and played well, and along with Kyle, had a strong finish to their rounds. Jack was steady all day and we’ll get our captains going heading into the second round.”
Oddly enough, FGCU’s 292 equals the score it shot in the opening round of the 2010 A-Sun Championship that was played at the same course. Normally strong on the par 5s, the Eagles’ played the course’s longest holes at four-under for the day and had a combined 19 birdies as a team.
Williams’ second career one-under 71 at the A-Sun Championship put him in a four-way tie for fourth place on the 50-player leaderboard. The Toronto product leads the field in par 3 scoring (-1), while ranking second in both birdies (5) and par 5 scoring (-2). Williams’ 71 was made up of a 36 on the front and a one-under 35 on the back.
FGCU’s next two counting scores came from a pair of players that were making their first appearance in the A-Sun Championship, as freshman Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) shot an even-par 72 and junior Kyle English (Bloomington, Ill./University HS) carded a one-over 73. Hernandez’s 28th straight counting score to open his collegiate career was fueled by a pair of birdies and four pars over his final six holes to move into a tie for eighth overall. English played the opening and closing five holes of his round at a combined four-under par and equaled Williams’ team-high five birdies to sit in a six-way tie for 10th, giving FGCU three players in the top 10.
With a combined 18 rounds of experience at the A-Sun Championship between them, seniors Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) and Alex Medinis (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) turned uncharacteristic rounds of 76 and 77, respectively. Pena had three birdies and was one-over until a triple-bogey on the par-3, 15th hole. Medinis’ round that featured a team-high 11 pars was also undone by a triple-bogey, with his coming on the par 4, 18th hole.
The Eagles will be back on the course for Tuesday’s second round starting at 8:00 a.m. FGCU will be playing alongside fifth place USC Upstate who shot an opening round 299. Pena will lead things off for the Green and Blue at 8:00 a.m. from the first tee followed by Medinis (8:09 a.m.), English (8:18 a.m.), Hernandez (8:27 a.m.) and Williams (8:36 a.m.).
Live in-progress scoring of the tournament 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. Updates will also be available on twitter @fgcueagles.
T-4. Patrick Williams – 71(-1)
T-8. Jack Hernandez – 72(E)
T-10. Kyle English – 73
T-23. Brandon Pena – 76
T-26. Alex Medinis – 77
ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (Golf Week Ranking)
1. North Florida (14) – 287(-1)
2. ETSU (126) – 288(E)
3. Kennesaw State (42) – 291
4. FGCU (84) – 292
5. USC Upstate (148) – 299
T-6. Mercer (88) – 303
T-6. Jacksonville (151) – 303
8. Stetson (204) – 307
9. Belmont (207) – 313
10. Lipscomb (253) – 315