DELAND, Fla. – Led by all five players in the top 20, the FGCU men’s golf team turned in a strong opening 36 holes at the Stetson/CFSC Invitational on Monday and sit just one stroke out of first place at Victoria Hills Golf Club.
The three-time defending champ of the event, FGCU opened with a three-over par 291 in the morning and tied for the low round of the afternoon with a one-over 289. The Eagles are just one stroke back of first place USC Upstate (288-291/579), but are six strokes ahead of No. 42 UCF (297-289/586).
Tuesday’s final round will begin at 7:15 a.m. with a shotgun start. FGCU will go off holes 1-3 playing alongside USC Upstate and third place Bethune-Cookman (294-289/583).
“I’m very pleased with the way the guys played today as a team,” said head coach Brent Jensen, who led the Eagles to a team win earlier in the fall at the Cobra-PUMA Invitational. “We played smart golf, which is important on this course and everyone stepped up and scrapped together some good rounds even though we struggled at points. We were positive and patient today which is what I’m most proud of. We just need to step up tomorrow and do it again.”
Leading the way for FGCU’s tournament-high five players in the top 20 is junior Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS), who sits in a three-way tie for third in the 45-player field. Cote opened the day with a one-over 73, but followed with the first bogey-free round of his collegiate career, a two-under 70. Cote’s strong day was highlighted by a tournament-best three-under scorecard on the course’s par 4s and he ranks third in the field with 28 pars.
Junior Mathias Boesmans (Belgium/Western Texas College) was FGCU’s low-man in round one with a two-under 70, the lowest score by an Eagle on the day. Boesmans followed with a counting score of 75 to sit in sole possession of sixth place with a 70(-2)-75/145. Tied for second in the field with eight birdies, Boesmans is even-par in both par 3 and par 4 scoring.
Freshman Edward Figueroa (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann HS) provided the highlight of the day, acing the par 3, 223-yard No. 3 in the afternoon with a three-hybrid. Figueroa’s hole-in-one ignited him to a one-under 71 in round two. His 71(-1)-75/146 scorecard is good for a piece of seventh place, as he’ll enter Tuesday looking for his second top 10 finish of the fall. Figueroa leads the field in par 3 scoring (-4) and is a team-best two-under on the par 5s.
Rounding out the five Eagles in the top 20 are sophomore Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and freshman Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS), who are both tied for 17th overall. The two had opposite scorecards with Hernandez going 73-76/149 and Sherwin shooting a 76-73/149. Sherwin is second on the team with 25 pars.
FGCU PARTICIPANTS (Golfstat Cup Ranking)
T-3. Matt Cote – 73-70(-2)/143(-1)
6. Mathias Boesmans – 70(-2)-75/145
T-7. Edward Figueroa (116) -75-71(-1)/146
T-17. Jack Hernandez – 73-76/149
T-17. Jake Sherwin – 76-73/149
STETSON/CFSC INVITATIONAL STANDINGS (Golfstat Ranking)
1. USC Upstate (218) – 288(E)-291/579
2. FGCU (149) – 291-289/580
3. Bethune-Cookman (148) – 294-289/583
4. UCF (42) – 297-289/586
5. FAU (203) – 298-304/602
6. Lipscomb (146) – 301-307/608
7. Savannah State – 302-315/617
8. Stetson (206) – 316-310/626
9. Florida A&M – 317-319/636