FORT MYERS, Fla. – FGCU senior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) will make program history on Thursday morning at 10:20 a.m. when he begins his first round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships in the Athens Region (May 17-19).
Named the No. 6 individual seed in the Athens Region during the NCAA Selection Show on May 7th, Pena will be the first FGCU men’s golfer to participate in the NCAA Championship. Although it was able to play in the Atlantic Sun Championship the past four years, FGCU was not able to qualify for the NCAA Championship until this year due to the four-year Division I transition period.
Making the NCAA Championship in the program’s first-year of eligibility, Pena is one of 10 individuals in the Athens Region and one of 45 student-athletes that will compete for an individual National Championship over the six regions. The top five teams from each region will advance to the finals with the individuals from the non-advancing teams also being eligible for individual advancement. The top individual from each of the six regions will advance to the finals from May 29 - June 3, at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. The University of Southern California is the host institution for this year’s championships.
Pena will take the par-71, 7,253-yard University of Georgia Course at 10:20 a.m. playing alongside Jay Mulieri of Loyola-Maryland and Ole Miss’ Joe David. Loyola-Maryland is part of the Athens Region 13-team field, while David of Ole Miss is the top ranked individual in the region. Live stats are available at www.GolfStat.com under the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Currently ranked No. 112 in the Golfstat Cup rankings, Pena’s senior campaign sports a team-low 72.5 stroke average and a spot on the Atlantic Sun All-Conference second team for the second consecutive year. Pena is one of just two Eagles to participate in all 11 tournaments, providing a counting score in 32 of 33 rounds thanks in part to seven top 10s. The Clewiston, Fla. product’s team-high 18 par or lower rounds are highlighted by a 71(-1)-67(-5)-68(-4)/206(-10) scorecard at the Cobra-PUMA Invitational hosted by Xavier in which he took home medalist honors.
Pena is currently second all-time in the FGCU record books in career rounds played (100), counting scores (90), par or lower rounds (40), and third in career scoring average (73.3). Over 34 career tournaments, he has posted 24 top 20s, a solid 15 top 10s and a counting score in 90 of 100 rounds. Pena also finished in the top 15 in all four of his A-Sun Championship appearances.
He also owns four of the top 13 54-hole scores in program history, led by the previously mentioned -10 206 at the Cobra-PUMA Invite that ranks fifth. Pena’s best single-round came at the 2010 A-Sun Championship when he fired a conference final round record seven-under par 65 to help him finish second overall.
Recently graduating with a 3.65 GPA and an engineering degree, Pena was a finalist for the Eagle Scholar Athlete Award at the 2012 FGCU Athletics Awards Ceremony and is a nominee for the Capital One Academic All-America® Men’s At-Large team.
ATHENS REGION INDIVIDUAL FIELD
University of Georgia Golf Course – Athens, Georgia
1. Joe David, Ole Miss
2. Jacobo Pastor, Charleston Southern
3. Trey Valentine, USF
4. Chad Ramey, Mississippi State
5. Sebastian Soderberg, Coastal Carolina
6. Brandon Pena, FGCU
7. James Beale, Mercer
8. David Denlinger, Charleston Southern
9. Kamito Hirai, Winthrop
10. Clay Myers, Jackson State
ATHENS REGION TEAM FIELD (Golf Week Ranking)
1. Alabama (2)
2. North Florida (12)
3. New Mexico (16)
4. Georgia (25)
5. Iowa (26)
6. East Carolina (38)
7. Long Beach State (40)
8. Augusta State (44)
9. Wake Forest (59)
10. Houston (63)
11. Texas-Arlington (80)
12. North Carolina-Wilmington (110)
13. Loyola-Maryland (152)