GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University's men's golf team wrapped up an impressive weekend Sunday with a fifth-place finish at the Gator Invite, hosted by the University of Florida at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.
"A lot of positives to take away from this weekend," said Head Coach Mike Blackburn. "We led the field with 18 holes, and were only two out of the lead with 18 holes left. We competed with these teams."
David Wicks paced the Dolphins with a three-round total of 202 (66+67+69). The junior from Bexhill, England finished tied for third in the individual leaderboard. Franck Medale finished 13th with a 208 (68+71+69), Raul Pereda tied for 19th with a score of 210 (68+72+70), Ryan Jahn carded a 219 (69+73+77) to finish tied for 46th, and Sam Uhland was 69th with a three-round total of 227 (80+71+76).
Nationally-ranked teams secured the first four spots on the leaderboard, with the University of South Florida (33rd nationally) winning the event with a total of 818 (282+269+267). Vanderbilt University (19th nationally) was second with an 826 (278+280+268). Florida (12th nationally) finished third with an 827 (272+278+277), dropping out of a tie for second after a golfer was disqualified. Florida State (third nationally) was fourth with an 831 (282+279+270), and Jacksonville (unranked nationally) rounded out the top five with an 836 (271+281+284).
"We finished behind four teams, but there's a reason those teams are nationally-ranked," continued Blackburn. "Sure we would have liked to have won this event, but there are a lot of positives to take from today."
The Dolphins beat two nationally-ranked teams also competing in the tournament. The University of North Florida (39th nationally) finished seventh by carding 854 (288+279+287), and the University of Alabama-Birmingham (26th nationally) finished 12th with a score of 863 (281+293+289).
Wicks had 15 birdies and 33 pars through three rounds, Pereda had 10 birdies and 36 pars, Medale had 10 birdies and 36 pars, Jahn had seven birdies and 33 pars, and Uhland had four birdies and 32 pars.
The Dolphins improved quite a bit on last year's performance at the Gator Invite, where they finished 13th of 14 with a card of 909. That's an improvement of 73 strokes.
"Last year there was a whole different mindset with the group," said Blackburn. "These guys fought hard the entire way, even when things got tough and didn't go our way. They're focused on playing the best they can and won't let things distract them. We played the way we're capable of playing."
Fans can follow all the action from the 2015-2016 season on JUDolphins.com, through twitter @JU_MGolf, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleUniversityAthletics.