LAKE WORTH, Fla. – Led by a trio of low-70 scores from Jake Sherwin (72), Jack Hernandez (73) and Blake Biggs (74), the FGCU men’s golf team is tied for 6th place after the first round of the FAU Slomin Autism Invite at The Fountains Country Club.
As a team FGCU shot a 298 (+14) and is tied with Hartford, only five shots out of third place with two rounds remaining this weekend. Georgia Southern shot a blistering 6-under 278 to lead the 15-team tournament (including an FAU “B” squad), seven shots better than No. 9 UCF which shot a 1-over 285. Middle Tennessee State and Jacksonville State are tied for third following rounds of 293, and DePaul is two shots ahead of FGCU with a 296 in the opening round.
Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS) continued his hot play as the No. 1 golfer in head coach Brent Jensen’s lineup as he led the Eagles for the third straight round with his 1-over performance on the par-71 layout. The sophomore, who is tied for 9th overall, started his round birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey before making all pars the rest of the way with the exception of a bogey on the par-4 13th.
Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) had an equally undulating start as he sandwiched a pair of birdies around a pair of double bogeys and bogey through the first five holes. However, the SWFL product settled down and made par on every hole the rest of the way save for a birdie finish on the par-5 11th and par-4 15th, in addition to a bogey on the par-4 16th. Hernandez is tied for 16th overall after the first 18 holes of the tournament.
Like Sherwin and Hernandez, Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) started his round with a birdie on the par-5 1st. The junior transfer – who is tied for 23rd overall – then bogeyed three consecutive holes midway through his front nine before closing with a birdie on the 9th to go out in 37. He got his scorecard back to Even following a birdie on the 11th, but made a bogey on 14, 16 and 17 to finish his 3-over round.
“We had some solid performances from Jake, Jack and Blake. Mike (Andre) and Matt (Cote) struggled a bit today, but I know they will turn it around tomorrow because they’re both great players,” Jensen said. “It was windy all day, and the gusts made it tough to have a lot of good birdie looks. We are within striking distance of third place and just need to close out our final stretch of holes better and really grind out rounds in the wind.”
Rounding out the FGCU scoring for the day were Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) and Mike Andre (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS), who shot rounds of 79 and 80, respectively.
All five FGCU golfers started their round with a birdie on the short, 522-yard par-5 1st, which played as the easiest hole on the course with a stroke average of -.17. The only other hole to play under par for the round was the 548-yard par-5 3rd at -.14 as three members of the Green and Blue made a birdie on that hole.
Individually, Hernandez played the three par-5s at 3-under, tied for the best among the 81 players in the field. Additionally, Cote, Biggs and Sherwin all played the par-5s at 2-under par.
The 54-hole event on the North Course – the longest of the three Fountains CC courses at 6,876 yards – continues Saturday with second-round action. FGCU will tee off on holes 11-15 between 10 and 10:36 a.m. Live scoring will be posted on Golfstat.com or by following the link at the top of this release, and updates will be available on Twitter @FGCU_MGolf throughout the tournament.
FGCU PLAYER RESULTS
T9) Jake Sherwin: 72
T16) Jack Hernandez: 73
T23) Blake Biggs: 74
T54) Matt Cote: 79
T58) Mike Andre: 80
TOURNAMENT FIELD (Golfweek Rankings)
1) #51 Georgia Southern: 278
2) #9 UCF: 285
T3) #55 Middle Tennessee State: 293
T3) #110 Jacksonville State: 293
5) #191 DePaul: 296
T6) #99 FGCU: 298
T6) #170 Hartford: 298
T8) #160 Bethune-Cookman:302
T8) #202 Connecticut: 302
10) #164 FAU: 307
11) #234 Murray State: 309
12) #215 Stetson: 314
13) FAU (B): 319
14) #261 Morehead State: 325
15) #283 Lafayette: 327