BURLINGTON, Iowa - The FGCU men’s golf team concluded its season-opening Tournament on Tuesday, finishing in a tie for 11th among a strong field at the Golfweek Conference Challenge. No Eagle finished with a three-round total higher than 230 and each shot scores between 74-78 in the final round. Blake Biggs (Peoria, Ill./Eastern Florida State College/Peoria Notre Dame HS) shot a team-low 221, including a 74 in the closing round.
The Green and Blue carded a 299 third-round total; three shots short of their 296 on Monday but one shot better than the 300 opening-round total. Oklahoma went on to claim the tournament crown with a team score of 857, which was seven shots under par. Entering the day, the Sooners were 13 shots clear of second-place Houston. Virginia Tech, however, carded the low round of the tournament (278) on Tuesday to jump into second position and just four shots shy of Oklahoma.
Jake Sherwin (Fort Myers, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS) also shot a 74 in day three, improving on his 75 in day two. Biggs, Sherwin and Jack Hernandez (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) all improved their score from round two to round three. Sherwin, just a sophomore, began his day with a par on the 14th but followed that up with a bogey on the par-3 15th and a double-bogey on the par-4 16th. He went on to card four birdies with a trio of bogeys the rest of the way. Sherwin carded a three-round total of 230, tied for fifth on the team and tied for 59th overall. Biggs finished in the top spot with his 221, tied for 32nd overall.
The Eagles were much more consistent from the front nine to the back on Tuesday than they were on Monday. On Monday the team posted a 191 on holes 10-18 while taking 181 shots for holes 1-9 (only the top four rounds count toward the team’s 296, day two, score, hence the 372 total for five players). On Tuesday the Eagles posted a 188 on the front and a 189 on the back.
“We are disappointed with our finish, we know we are better than the way we played,” head coach Brett Jensen stated. “We were a few swings away from having a good tournament. We need to continue to fine-tune things and work on being more consistent, both individually and as a team.”
Junior Hernandez improved his score for a second consecutive round, carding a 75 following rounds of 79 and 76, respectively. Hernandez carded a pair of birdies coupled with a pair of double bogeys and a bogey on the par-4 11th to construct his 75. Hernandez’s total of 230 was good for a tie for fifth on the team and tied for 59th in the field.
Senior Matt Cote (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University HS) posted his highest round of the event on Tuesday with a 76. He had previously posted rounds of 75 and 74, respectively. Cote struggled out of the gate on Tuesday, posting three bogeys and a double before recording a birdie on the par-5 4th. Cote would go birdie, birdie, bogey over his final three holes to close the event. His 225 three-round score was good for third on the team and tied for 48th overall.
Finally, sophomore Edward Figueroa (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann HS), coming off an even-par 72 in round two, posted a personal tournament high score of 78 on Tuesday. Figueroa did not card a single birdie or to his credit, a double or worse. He fired six bogeys and 12 pars to produce his 78. His rounds of 74, 72 and 78 gave him a three-round total of 224, good for second on the team behind Biggs and tied for 42nd overall. Figuerora was, however, the only player in the field to record an eagle on the par-4 14th which played 467 yards.
The course yielded its lowest average score on Tuesday. After rounds of 75.32 and 74.47 over the first two days, respectively, Tuesday saw an average score of 73.44. Seven of the nine hardest holes played on the back nine on day three. Five of the seven holes on day three that played under par were on the front nine.
Stewart Jolly of LSU and Scott Vincent of Virginia Tech tied for the individual tournament championship by posting 6-under totals of 210. Two others finished 5-under. There were 12 players in the field that finished under par for the tournament.
The Eagles return to action on Monday, Sept. 23, at the Saint Mary’s Invitational in Monterey, Calif. The team will play three rounds over two days with 36 holes being played on Monday.
FGCU Individual Standings
T32) Blake Biggs (72-75-74: 221)
T42) Edward Figueroa (74-72-78: 224)
T48) Matt Cote (75-74-76: 225)
T59) Jake Sherwin (81-75-74: 230)
T59) Jack Hernandez (79-76-75: 230)
Team Standings (GolfWeek.com Rankings From Last Week Of 2012-13 Season)
1) #24 Oklahoma (290-278-289: 857)
2) #36 Virginia Tech (292-291-278: 861)
3) #26 Houston (289-292-285: 866)
4) #5 New Mexico (290-292-285: 867)
5) #18 LSU (300-288-284: 872)
T6) #59 Iowa (298-291-286: 875)
T6) #92 Winthrop (295-293-287: 875)
8) #89 Central Arkansas (296-292-288: 876)
9) #99 Jacksonville State (293-295-293: 881)
10) #63 Arizona (297-298-297: 892)
T11) #141 FGCU (300-296-299: 895)
T11) #47 Chattanooga (305-297-293: 895)
13) #61 Ball State (303-302-291: 896)
14) #116 Texas State (310-299-289: 898)
15) #106 Louisiana Tech (306-305-300: 911)