NAPLES, Fla. – Fueled by one of the best second rounds in the field, the FGCU men’s golf team overcame windy conditions and finished day one of the Talis Park Collegiate Challenge hosted by Ball State University in fifth place following rounds of 301 and 297 for a 598 total, just five shots out of second place.
FGCU’s second 18 of the day was the third-lowest in the field, and was paced by Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS) with an Even-par 72 – one of only four players in the 75-member field to shoot 72 or lower in the second round. Sherwin is in sole possession of seventh place overall at +1 after shooting a 73 in his morning round.
No. 17 Vanderbilt leads the 14-team field by a dominant 20 strokes as the Commodores are -4 as a team following rounds of 283 and 289 (572). FGCU (No. 99) is one of six schools in the field which are ranked in the Golfweek Top 100, and the Eagles are currently ahead of No. 95 Cincinnati and No. 78 Indiana.
“Today was a tough day. We had to endure 25-35 mph winds on a golf course that has little protection from the elements,” said FGCU head coach Brent Jensen. “The greens were fast enough for the wind to play a slight factor while putting as well. Jake and Blake (Biggs) played really solid, and the other guys are close no matter what their scores reflect. There were only four scores all day in the 60s.”
After shooting an Even-par round in the morning, Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) shot a 75 in the afternoon to finish +3 on the day and in a tie for 10th overall. Senior Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) struggled to an opening-round 78, but responded with a 1-over 73 in the second round to tie for 23rd overall at +7.
Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) fired rounds of 78 and 77 to sit in a tie for 39th overall with a 155 total. Rounding out the team scoring for FGCU was Casper Howells (London, England/Bradfield College) with rounds of 79 and 82 and is tied for 58th with a 161 total. Playing as an individual, Mike Andre (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) finished in a tie for 65th following rounds of 79 and 84.
“We’re in close proximity to second place, so that’s our goal to reach tomorrow,” Jensen added. “The course is in remarkable shape and tomorrow will present scorable conditions in the morning with little wind.”
The Talis Park Golf Club plays to a par-72 layout and a length of 7,025 yards. Designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye, the acclaimed Talis Park course is one of only two in the world created by the distinguished partnership. Golf Digest recently named the course one of the top-20 in Florida.
Final round action gets underway with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Live scoring will be available every three or six holes by following the link at the top of this release or by visiting www.birdiefire.com. Updates will also be posted on Twitter @FGCU_MGolf.
7) Jake Sherwin +1 (73-72: 145)
T-10) Blake Biggs +3 (72-75: 147)
T-23) Matt Cote +7 (78-73: 151)
T-39) Jack Hernandez +11 (78-77: 155)
T-58) Casper Howells +17 (79-82: 161)
T-65) Mike Andre +19 (79-84: 163)
TOURNAMENT FIELD (Golfweek Rankings)
1) #17 Vanderbilt (283-289: 572)
2) #138 Wichita State (288-304: 592)
3) #90 Notre Dame (299-295: 594)
4) #92 Austin Peay (292-305: 597)
5) #99 FGCU (301-297: 598)
6) #166 Toledo (301-305: 606)
7) #125 Eastern Michigan (305-306: 611)
8) #156 Miami (Ohio) (302-312: 614)
9) #95 Cincinnati (305-310: 615)
T-10) #269 Northern Illinois (307-310: 617)
T-10) #78 Indiana (298-319: 617)
12) #129 Ball State (303-318: 621)
13) #179 Xavier (312-320: 632)
14) #214 IUPUI (326-334: 660)