Naples, Fla. product fires four-under 68; falls short of advancing
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Entering the third and final round of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional trailing by five strokes for the individual spot, FGCU freshman Edward Figueroa (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann) knew he needed a special round. With five birdies in his first eight holes of the day, Figueroa nearly pulled off the comeback, but fell just short of advancing to the NCAA Championships after a final round four-under 68 on Saturday at Golden Eagle Golf & Country Club.
No stranger to producing special rounds – look back to his school record eight-under par 64 last fall at the Cobra/PUMA Invitational – Figueroa’s second four-under 68 of the regional capped a 68(-4)-72th top 10 of the year.
“I’m ecstatic with the way Edward played this week,” said head coach Brent Jensen. “I know he’d like to go back to the second round and replay a few holes, but he a very successful week finishing in the top 10 and that’s a tremendous accomplishment. Today he really had it going and it came down to running out of holes to make the comeback. Edward has a bright future ahead of him and this is just the start.”
After the five advancing teams’ players were factored out of the individual standings, Figueroa finished fourth, just four strokes back of Richmond’s Daniel Walker, who had a scorecard of 68(-4)-67(-5)-69(-3)/204(-12), good for a tie for second overall in the 75-player field that included 16 ranked in the top 100, highlighted by four in the top 10 of Golfstat rankings.
“Today I knew I had to go really low and through the first nine holes we really had it going,” said Figueroa. “Although I didn’t score as well the second nine, I thought I hit it really well throughout the day. I’m really happy with how I played and executed all week. This experience gives me so much confidence knowing that I can play with the best players in the country. It was so much fun representing FGCU in this regional.”
Of the previously mentioned 16 top 100 players in the field, Figueroa finished in front of 10 of them, including a pair of top 10s. The three straight rounds of even-par or lower marked the second tournament this season Figueroa has accomplished that feat, while he concludes his freshman campaign with five straight rounds at even-par or lower.
Just has he’s done all tournament, Figueroa got it going on the par-72, 6,965-yard course’s back nine, carding five birdies in his opening eight holes, including four in a row, to shoot a five-under 31 on the back after teeing off on the 10th. For the tournament, he played the back nine at nine-under par with scores of 33(-3), 35(-1) and 31(-5).
Over the three rounds Golden Eagle Golf & Country Club, Figueroa was only over-par in any of the rounds for one hole.
Figueroa finished with 16 birdies over the three-day regional, pushing his year total to 97 over 30 rounds played this season. The 97 birdies are the fourth-most in program history, while they helped lower his season scoring average to 72.8, good for eighth-best. He finished with 12 par or better rounds which is also good for eighth in program single-season history. Figueroa did miss two spring tournaments this year due to playing in the PGA’s Puerto Rico Open.
Two-time defending A-Sun champion and No. 19 North Florida took home the team title, advancing to the NCAA Championships from May 28 - June 2, at Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga. Led by three players in the top 5 that were all double-digit under par, the Ospreys fired an impressive 272(-16)-277(-11)-281(-7)/830(-34) for the regional.