SEASIDE, Calif. – Led by an opening-round 72 and a second-round 71 from sophomore Jake Sherwin, the FGCU men’s golf team sits in a tie for 6th place following day one of the two-day, 54-hole Saint Mary’s Invitational at Bayonet and Blackhorse Golf Course.
Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS) is tied for 6th overall out a field of 104 golfers, while FGCU sat inside the top 5 of the 19-team field the majority of the sun-filled, 70-degree day on the Monterrey Bay before slotting into their 6th-place finish after nearly 12 hours of golf on Monday. Following the first round, FGCU was tied for 4th with Oregon. California, which finished last year ranked No. 1 in the country by Golfweek, leads second-place Saint Mary’s by 18 shots in a field which boasts 10 of the top-100 teams in the nation and six of the top 65.
The Eagles shot rounds of 297-294 (591), and despite being in a tie for 6th are only three shots out of second place. Six shots is all that separates second place from 10th place. Additionally, FGCU is currently ahead of nine other teams that were ranked ahead of it in the final rankings at the end of last season.
A SWFL product, Sherwin began his first round at Bayonet on hole 3, a 355-yard par-4, and promptly made birdie to set the tone for his day. He birdied another hole, this time the 7th, to move to -2 before quickly sliding to +2 by making four bogeys over his next six holes. After five straight pars to steady his scorecard, Sherwin – who entered as the fifth player in head coach Brent Jensen’s lineup – birdied both of his final two holes of the opening 18, holes 1 and 2, to finish at even par.
He and his Eagles’ teammates then moved to the Blackhorse course for the afternoon, where Sherwin once again started on the 3rd, but made par. A bogey on the 4th was erased shortly after as he rolled in a birdie putt on the par-4 7th and then added consecutive birdies to open his back 9. After a couple bogeys at the end of his back 9, Sherwin made one more birdie – this time on the par-5 1st – to get to 1-under par for the tournament. For the day, the 2012 News-Press Golfer of the Year recorded eight birdies, a year removed from ranking among the top-10 percent of players in the nation in total birdies (68) in 2012-13.
“I’m proud of the way the guys stepped up to the challenge of playing with two teams that went to nationals last year and stayed tough most of the day,” Jensen commented about his team playing alongside Cal, Saint Mary’s and Kansas State. “We still need to tidy things up for tomorrow. But I’m extremely proud of the way Jake stepped up for us and played extremely solid for 36 holes.”
Junior transfer Blake Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) had a round of 1-under par going through 10 holes, but made bogey on five of his final eight holes of the opening round to shoot a 76. Biggs, who led the Green and Blue in his first outing of the year at the Golfweek Conference Challenge last week, once again had a round of 1-under going in his second 18 of the day – this time through 11 holes – but double-bogeyed the par-5 12th before capping his round with a bogey on 17 and a birdie on 18 to shoot 73 (T30th, 149 total).
Sophomore Edward Figueroa (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann HS) carded rounds of 75-75 (150) and sits in a tie for 35th place individually. The defending Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year signed an undulating scorecard both rounds, posting nine pars, six bogeys and three birdies in both the first and second rounds.
After struggling to a 79 in round one, senior Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) more than doubled his birdie total (two to five) in round two, but a triple bogey on the par-5 8th and a double bogey on the par-4 13th at Blackhorse hampered his chances at a great bounce-back round. Cote (154) sits in a tie for 67th overall.
Junior Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) shot rounds of 74-81, respectively, and resides in a tie for 77th (155 total). Hernandez’s second round came unglued after making bogey on three consecutive holes on the front 9 and five straight holes on the back 9 en route to 11 bogeys on the round and two birdies.
The Eagles return to the course for the final round of the event on Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. local time (11 a.m. Eastern). Once again, live hole-by-hole scoring will be available on Golfstat.com.
T6) Jake Sherwin (72-71: 143)
T30) Blake Biggs (76-73: 149)
T35) Edward Figueroa (75-75: 150)
T67) Matt Cote (79-75: 154)
T77) Jack Hernandez (74-81: 155)
Tournament Field (GolfWeek.com Rankings From Last Week Of 2012-13 Season)
1) #1 California (288-282: 570)
2) #30 Saint Mary’s (294-294: 588)
T3) #139 St. John’s (298-291: 589)
T3) #57 San Francisco (301-288: 589)
5) #44 Oregon (297-293: 590)
T6) #141 FGCU (297-294: 591)
T6) #71 San Diego (304-287: 591)
8) #86 Long Beach State (305-288: 593)
T9) #148 Santa Clara (300-294: 594)
T9) #84 Fresno State (300-294: 594)
T11) #135 Loyola Marymount (296-304: 600)
T11) #82 UC Irvine (302-298: 600)
13) #54 NC State (302-301: 603)
14) #61 Ball State (309-300: 609)
15) #157 Hawai’i (306-304: 610)
16) #224 CSU Northridge (307-304: 611)
T17) #186 UC Riverside (317-297: 614)
T17) #105 Kansas State (316-298: 614)
19) #123 Akron (312-307: 619)