FORT MYERS, Fla. – Just hours after advancing through the local U.S. Open qualifier, FGCU freshman Edward Figueroa (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann) learned that his first collegiate season in the green and blue will continue as he heard his named called during the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Selection Show on NCAA.com. Figueroa was one of 10 individuals selected for the Tallahassee Regional that will be played at Golden Eagle Golf & Country Club from May 16-18.
The field of 45 individuals is made up of players over the six different regions whose teams didn’t earn a bid into the NCAA Championship. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals from May 28 - June 2, at Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga. Georgia Tech is the host institution for this year’s championships.
It marks the second straight year FGCU has sent a player to an NCAA Regional, as Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) was selected to the Athens Region in 2012. The Eagles have only been eligible for team and individual postseason play since last year.
“It’s a great day for Edward, his family and the FGCU men’s golf program,” said head coach Brent Jensen. “To have two individuals make it to NCAA Regionals in our first two years of eligibility is the next best thing to the team making it. It gives us an opportunity to continue to grow our program despite not have a great team season this year. Edward deserves this opportunity and has earned it through hard work. I couldn’t be happier for a great guy.”
Figueroa was FGCU’s low-man in six of the nine events he played in this season, missing two tournaments due to playing in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open in early March. Named the A-Sun Freshman of the Year and an All-Conference second team choice, Figueroa is currently ranked No. 169 in the Golfstat Cup race.
His team-leading 73.2 stroke average featured a counting score in all 27 rounds played, making him just the fifth player in program history with a perfect 100 percent counting score campaign. He has a team-best six top 20s, culminating with a tie for sixth overall at the A-Sun Championship, and also leads the Eagles with seven-under par rounds.
In just his third collegiate event in the fall at the Cobra/PUMA Invitational hosted by Xavier, Figueroa etched his name into the FGCU record books with the best 54-hole score in program history. As if an opening round two-under par 70 wasn’t impressive enough, he followed with a six-under 66 in round two and a final round eight-under 64, which equaled the lowest round in FGCU history. Figueroa’s score of 16-under 200 was four strokes better than the program 54-hole record set on a pair of occasions, as he took home medalist honors at the ensuing A-Sun Player of the Week award.
A-Sun champ UNF earned the No. 5 seed in the Tallahassee Region while Kennesaw State is the No. 10 seed in the Tempe Region. Figueroa is one of three players from the A-Sun to make the individual field and will be joined by Mercer’s Trey Rule and Hans Reimers in Tallahassee.
Figueroa’s day didn’t start as well as it finished, as he bogeyed his first three holes at the local U.S Open qualifier at The Forest Country Club in Fort Myers. It didn’t seem to rattle the battle-test freshman, as he responded in a big way by earning one of the five advancing spots with a four-under 68. Figueroa along with 2010 FGCU graduate Dan Mazziotta will play in sectionals on Monday, June 3.