BRASELTON, Ga. – The FGCU men’s golf team will begin its quest for its first-ever Atlantic Sun Championship on Sunday when the Eagles begin play at the three-day conference tournament at The Legends Course of Chateau Elan.
FGCU has been paired with USC Upstate for Sunday’s opening round, and the Eagles’ five-man lineup will begin action in nine-minute increments off the 10th tee between 9-9:36 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.
Head coach Brent Jensen will send out the following lineup as FGCU looks to improve on its best finish at the A-Sun Championship when it placed second in 2010:
1) Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS)
2) Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS)
3) Blake Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS)
4) Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS)
5) Keaton Jones (Kitchener, Ontario/St. Mary’s HS)
Sherwin, Cote and Hernandez all have A-Sun Championship experience, but Biggs – a junior transfer – and Jones – a freshman – do not. Last year as a freshman, Sherwin tied for 21st following rounds of 79-77-76. Cote, the Eagles’ lone senior, will be making his final appearance at the A-Sun Championship, and will be looking to improve on three straight rounds of 81 last year. Junior Hernandez shot rounds of 74-82-77 last year to finish tied for 25th as FGCU closed the 2013 tournament in sixth place.
FGCU has placed a player in the top 10 each of the last four years at the A-Sun Championship. Edward Figueroa tied for sixth overall (79-71-71/222) last April, Kyle English finished fifth (73-74-69/216) in 2012, Alex Medinis tied for sixth (69-70-73/212) in 2011 for his second top 10, Brandon Pena took sole possession of second (71-77-65/213) in 2010, while Medinis’ first top 10 came in 2010 when he tied for ninth (75-72-72/219). Pena’s 7-under 65 in 2010 is still an A-Sun Championship final-round record.
Unique in design, The Legends at Chateau Elan was crafted from the experiences of three great golfing champions: Gene Sarazen, Kathy Whitworth and Sam Snead, who helped architect Denis Griffiths build one of the top-ranked courses in Georgia. The Legends – which will be hosting the A-Sun Championship for the fifth straight year and sixth time in the last seven seasons – was the home of the Sarazen World Open Championship, a PGA Tour event from 1994 through 1998 to honor Sarazen.
UNF enters the tournament as the two-time defending champions and is one of four A-Sun teams ranked in the top 60 in the country according to Golfstat. Mercer leads the pack at No. 33, while FGCU checks in at No. 111 (complete rankings below).
Sherwin paces FGCU with a stroke average of 74.48 over 27 rounds this year. He enters the A-Sun Championship with three eagles to his name on the campaign, and with only one more he will move into sole possession of third place on the program’s single-season eagle list. On the season, the Green and Blue has 11 eagles, one shy of tying the single-season record of 12 set during the 2008-09 and 2011-12 seasons.
The Eagles are also making birdies this year as the club has rolled in 420, already tied for the third-most in single-season program history. Sherwin (84), Cote (82) and Hernandez (82) lead FGCU in that category. On only eight occasions have FGCU golfers finished with 90 or more birdies in a single season, and three of those came in the 2011-12 campaign – with Hernandez being one of them with 92 as a freshman.
Hernandez, who has a stroke average of 76.27, has done much of his birdie work on par-5 holes as he has an average of 4.709 on all par-5 holes this year. That average is currently good for fifth on the all-time single-season list, while as a team the Eagles have their third-best par-5 scoring average in program history at 4.852.
As a team, FGCU has claimed two tournament titles this year, with the first coming in October at the Cobra-PUMA Invitational and the second in March at the Harmony Preserve Intercollegiate. Through 30 rounds so far in 2013-14, FGCU has already bettered its team scoring average by more than four strokes from 2012-13 – 300.82 to 296.57.
The 54-hole tournament will hold its second and third rounds on Monday and Tuesday, with 18 holes scheduled to be played each day. For comprehensive tournament coverage, including photos, videos and more, log on to AtlanticSun.org or follow the link accompanying this release.
FGCU A-Sun Championship Records
• Individual Finish: 2nd, Brandon Pena (2010)
• Low 18 Individual: 65, Brandon Pena (Rd. 3, 2010)
• Low 18 Team: 282 (Rd. 3, 2010)
• Low 54 Individual: 212, Alex Medinis (2011)
• Low 54 Team: 863 in 2010
Atlantic Sun Championship Field (Golfstat Rankings)
#40 Kennesaw State
#53 North Florida
#98 USC Upstate
#238 Northern Kentucky