GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University overcame tough conditions Saturday in the first and second round of the 2017 SunTrust Gator Invitational to finish fourth through the first two rounds.
"Greens were firm and fast, the pins were tucked, and it was championship golf today," said Head Coach Mike Blackburn. "Par was a good score on every hole."
The first round opened at 8:00 a.m. with a shotgun start; Raul Pereda carded 70 to pace the Dolphins with four birdies and 14 holes of par or better. The junior from Cordoba, Mexico, sat in a four-way tie for eighth after one. Just one stroke behind was David Wicks; the senior from Bexhill, England, had one birdie and 16 holes of par or better enroute to a 71. Ryan Jahn followed up his career best in the Sea Best Invitational with a 72 in the first round to tie 19th, Sam Uhland carded 76 to tie for 48th, and Elliott Fullalove had a 77 to tie for 66th.
The Dolphins finished the first round tied with tournament host and second-ranked Florida at 289, one stroke behind the 288 scores from Arkansas, Florida State, and Liberty.
As rain started to fall in the second round the log jam atop the standings cleared up. 15 holes of par or better solidified Pereda's hold on the eighth spot, and Wicks and Jahn moved into a tie for 11th on a 72 and a 71, respectively. Fullalove moved up 13 spots with a 72 in the second round, and Uhland carded 80 to tie for 76th.
Arkansas took over sole possession of first place with a 278 in the second round, two under par. After two the Razorbacks total 566, five strokes ahead of Missouri. The Tigers moved up six spots in the second round from eighth place with a 279. Florida moved into third with a 284 in the second to total 573, and Jacksonville holds fourth place with a 576. Florida State dropped from a tie for first to fifth place with a 290 in the second round and a total of 578.
The final round will begin at 8:45 a.m. for JU with Uhland teeing off on the first hole. He'll be followed by Fullalove at 8:54 a.m., Jahn at 9:03 a.m., Wicks at 9:12 a.m., and Pereda at 9:21 a.m.
Cloudy skies are expected in the morning with temperatures in the lower 60s, but those clouds will burn off as the day progresses. Sunny skies are expected by noon with a high of 78 degrees.