JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Paced by freshman Raul Pereda, the Jacksonville University men's golf team finished in 13th at the SunTrust Gator Invitational after a 23-over par final round. Action concluded from the par-70 6,701 yard Mark Bostick Golf Course today after the final 18-holes were conducted.
"We played better today," said head coach Mike Blackburn. "Unfortunately we didn't play well on the par-five's and that hurt us. The course played really tough rolling a 14 and a half on the Stimpmeter on the greens and that led to some tough approach shots."
As a team, JU carded better totals than two other teams in the field of 15, that featured three inside the top-25 including No. 3 Florida State, No. 5 Vanderbilt and No. 22 USF. Rounding out the field of 14 include Arkansas, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Liberty, Mercer, North Florida, UAB, UCF and tournament host Florida.
Pereda moved up the leaderboard five slots for a 30th place finish after firing a one-over par final round. The freshman from Mexico carded four birdies over a stretch of seven holes from Gainesville, eight for the tournament.
"I really committed to the shots I wanted and had confidence in them," said Pereda. "The greens were running really fast and it was a challenge to get the ball to sit from 180 yards and in on those quick platforms. For me I will go back to working on course management and tempo with my swings."
"As a team," Pereda continued, "We feel like we are moving in the right direction and look forward to competing again in a great tournament and a great field at Sawgrass Country Club."
Junior Franck Medale showed glimpses of brilliance in the round recording birdies on both par fives but ending the rounds with bogeys raised his score to four-par on the back end of the round after a two-over par on the former. The former No. 1 in the nation finished 17-over par.
Three other Dolphins in action as the trio of seniors Brett McKinnon, Connor Salanger and Nick Torrance rounded out the scoring. Torrance moved up two spots on the 75 student-athlete leaderboard with a seven-over par third round, while Salanger notched a 79 and McKinnon an 81.
South Florida takes the SunTrust Gator Invite trophy with a five-under par combined score as freshman Claudio Correa garnered individualist honors firing a five-under par on his own en route to a two shot victory.
As Pereda eluded to, the Dolphins remain in spring season action when they compete in the Hayt Intercollegiate hosted by corss-town rival North Florida at Sawgrass Country Club, Feb. 27.
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