MCKINNEY, Texas – The FGCU men’s golf team opened its final regular-season tournament of the year with 36 holes Monday at the Jim West Intercollegiate hosted by Texas State on the TPC Craig Ranch course by finishing the first two rounds in 13th place.
The Eagles were led by Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) who bounced back from an opening-round 77 with a 2-under second-round 70. As a team FGCU improved its 301 first-round total by 13 shots in the second round (288) as four out of the five Green and Blue members bettered their second-round score compared with their first 18 of the day.
No. 11 Virginia leads the field – which features five teams ranked inside the top-100 in the nation by Golfweek – courtesy of an impressive -36 performance over the two rounds (540). No. 48 Iowa State is in second place, 13 shots back of the Cavaliers following a 553 two-round showing.
“The course was definitely susceptible to some low scores today, but we just didn’t take advantage enough of the good conditions,” head coach Brent Jensen said. “A number of teams played well and hopefully that’s something we can do tomorrow to finish strong in our last competitive round before the Atlantic Sun Championship.”
Cote, FGCU’s lone senior, started his second 18 of the day on the 3rd and made six straight birdies before rolling in a birdie on the par-5 9th. Another birdie on the par-5 12th moved his scorecard to 2-under before he carded another under-par hole at the par-3 15th. A bogey on the next hole was his only blemish of the second round as he finished with his fourth-best round of the year in 25 rounds.
Blake Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) and Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS) both tied with 148 totals through the first two rounds. After recording a 75 in round one, Sherwin – the No.1 player in Jensen’s lineup – made three birdies over his final seven holes to turn in a 1-over 73 in round two. Biggs, meanwhile, improved on his first-round 76 with an even-par round of 72 in his second 18 of the day.
Rounding out the Eagles’ scoring for the day was Mike Andre (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) and Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) at 150 and 151, respectively. Andre secured an eagle in his first round which was countered by three bogeys en route to a 73 before signing off on a round of 77 later in the day in which he made only one birdie. Hernandez – who also made an eagle in his first round on his way to a 78 – improved dramatically on his second go around on the course by making four birdies on his way to a second-round 73.
Last year FGCU took seventh place out of 11 teams at the same event for a three-round total of 902. The Eagles finished four strokes behind Ball State as they closed the 2012-13 regular season by competing in the same event.
TPC Craig Ranch plays to a par-72 scorecard and is notable for its rolling hills and Rowlett Creek which winds its way through the lengthy 7,438-yard layout. TPC Craig Ranch is the second “Tournament Players Club” course that the Eagles have played this year as the first came at the renowned TPC PLAYERS Stadium Course in February.
The final round concludes with 18 holes at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. CST) on Tuesday. The 54-hole tournament takes place on 233 acres of countryside, which was named by Golf Digest as one of the top 10 courses in Texas. 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.
The Eagles’ next competitive action following the Jim West Intercollegiate will be at the Atlantic Sun Championship Apr. 20-22.
T48) Matt Cote (77-70: 147)
T52) Jake Sherwin (75-73: 148)
T52) Blake Biggs (76-72: 148)
T63) Mike Andre (73-77: 150)
T66) Jack Hernandez (78-73: 151)
Tournament Field (Golfweek Rankings)
1) #11 Virginia (273-267: 540)
2) #48 Iowa State (278-275: 553)
3) #96 UL Monroe (274-282: 556)
4) #124 Sam Houston State (278-284: 562)
5) #107 Central Arkansas (290-278: 568)
6) #131 UT Arlington (291-278: 569)
7) #144 Texas State (283-287: 570)
8) #197 Stephen F. Austin (288-283: 571)
9) #138 McNeese State (289-283: 572)
10) #199 Arkansas Little Rock (284-292: 576)
11) #168 Houston Baptist (289-290: 579)
12) #219 Oral Roberts (294-288: 582)
13) #99 FGCU (301-288: 589)
14) #170 Florida Atlantic (300-296: 596)