PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The FGCU men’s golf team opened the spring portion of its season Monday at the Sea Best Seafood Invitational in 9th place after the second round of the day at the iconic THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was suspended due to darkness.
The Eagles were in 11th place with a 311 total after the first round as all of the 16 competing teams were over par. FGCU – which is +41 so far for the invite – had a four-man score of 262 in the second round when play was suspended. Fellow Atlantic Sun Conference member UNF is leading the competitive field at +4 as 14 of the 16 teams are +20 or worse, and the Eagles are just 11 shots out of the top 5.
The second round will conclude with an 8 a.m. start on Tuesday, and the final round is scheduled to begin immediately after at around 10 a.m.
Competing in just his second tournament of the year, junior Mike Andre (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) led the Eagles on day one, shooting an opening-round 76 and was Even par with holes 10 and 11 remaining on his second round before the horn stopped play. While Andre is currently tied for 12th place overall, sophomore Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evengelical Christian HS) is right behind him in a tie for 15th after a first-round 78. Sherwin is 1-under in his second round and still has holes 9-12 left to play – with 9 and 11 being par-5s and playing as two of the three easiest holes on the course in the second round.
“It was a rough day for most of the guys, but we had solid performances from Mike and Jake. I’m proud of those guys for stepping up,” head coach Brent Jensen said. “We need a few solid holes to finish the second round tomorrow morning from everyone to help jump-start the third, and final, round. I think we are in striking distance for a top-5 finish, but we need to limit our mistakes and big numbers.”
After Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) fired an opening-round 79, the Eagles’ lone senior currently sits in a tie for 39th as he’s +4 with two holes remaining in the second round. FGCU’s top-2 players in terms of lineup standing entering the tournament were Blake Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) and Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS), but both struggled Monday. Biggs shot a first-round 78 but is +16 with two holes remaining on his second round, while Hernandez opened with an 88 and followed it up with an 87 as he was the lone Eagle to complete both rounds.
Competing as FGCU’s only individual, freshman Keaton Jones (Kitchener, Ontario/St. Mary’s HS) is tied for 58th after shooting a first-round 78 and is +9 through 16 holes in the second round.
Andre started both rounds on hole 12 and made par each time. In round one he was +3 heading to the front 9 but birdied 1 and 2 to get back to only +1 before carding a double bogey on the par-4 5th and a bogey on the par-5 9th. So far in his second round he has rolled in three birdies which have been offset by three bogeys.
As for Sherwin – who recorded rounds of 77-77-73 (227) to tie for 22nd overall at the same event last year – he started on the par-3 13th and made a birdie on his first hole. So far in his second round he’s made three birdies against two bogeys. Four of his five birdies in the tournament have come on par-3s, including a birdie in each round on the legendary 17th island green.
FGCU has a current national ranking of No. 89, one of nine teams competing this week which is in the top 100 of the Golfweek rankings. Four additional squads are in the top 50, led by No. 5 Texas A&M.
The Eagles have participated in the Sea Best Invitational each of the past three years, finishing 10th in 2011, 8th in 2012 and tied for 13th with fellow A-Sun member USC Upstate last year. The legendary course played to a length of 6,977 yards and a par-72 layout for the teams. The Pete and Alice Dye design hosts THE PLAYERS Championship each May – often referred to as the “fifth major.”
FGCU COMPETITORS (1st Round/2nd Round/Current Score)
T-12) Mike Andre (76/E(16)/+4)
T-15) Jake Sherwin (78/-1(14)/+5)
T-39) Matt Cote (79/+4(16)/+11)
T-58) Keaton Jones (78/+9(16)/+15)
T-75) Blake Biggs (78/+16(16)/+22)
84) Jack Hernandez (88/87/+31)
COMPLETE FIELD (GOLFWEEK RANKING)
1) #79 North Florida (298/-6/+4)
2) #36 Liberty (291/+3/+6)
3) #5 Texas A&M (306/+2/+20)
4) #46 Tennessee (304/+11/+27)
5) #108 USC Upstate (302/+16/+30)
6) #77 Florida (304/+16/+32)
7) #55 Winthrop (304/+19/+35)
8) #48 ETSU (303/+22/+37)
9) #89 FGCU (311/+18/+41)
10) #175 Cal Poly (322/+9/+43)
11) #107 Jacksonville State (308/+29/+49)
12) #81 East Carolina (309/+30/+51)
13) #122 Pepperdine (320/+20/+52)
14) #196 Jacksonville (321/+24/+57)
T-15) #126 Old Dominion (319/+27/+58)
T-15) #180 Florida Atlantic (320/+26/+58)