Round 1: Saturday, February 17th (8:00 a.m. shotgun start)
Round 2: Saturday, February 17th (after Round 1)
Round 3: Sunday, February 18th (8:00 a.m. double tee)
GAINESVILLE, Fla.- Fresh off hosting the 2018 Sea Best Invitational at TPC Sawgrass, the Jacksonville University men's golf team is back in action this weekend, competing in the Sunshine State for the third straight week. The Dolphins head south to Gainesville, Fla. to take part in the SunTrust Gator Invitational for eight straight year, facing off with multiple opponents who took part in last week's event.
"We always look forward to going back to Gainesville," Head Coach Mike Blackburn said. "They put on a great event with a good field. It's an ideal tournament to see where the team stacks up heading into the rest of the spring season."
The 54-hole tournament will be played on the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida. The 6,701-yard, par-70 course, has sat on the northwest corner of UF's campus for over 80 years. Contained within a 116-acre plot of land, the course is short by today's golf standards. However, a $4 million renovation project in 2001 by Jacksonville-based architect Bobby Weed transformed the contour of the landscape, creating a course that is both physically and mentally challenging.
The SunTrust Gator Invitational will begin Saturday at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start, with the second round immediately following the conclusion of the first. The final round will start Tuesday at 8 a.m., and the award ceremony will take place Tuesday afternoon following its conclusion. Live stats are available for all three rounds of tournament play on GolfStat.
Jacksonville enters the event after placing eighth in the Sea Best Invitational just over a week ago. The Dolphins shot 851 (281+281+289) after three rounds, finishing ahead of nationally-ranked Duke. The 'Phins five-man team sat tied for sixth after the first day of competition, shooting a pair of one-over 281's in the first two rounds.
Senior Raul Pereda led the team with an eighth place individual finish, landing in the top 10 at a Sea Best Invitational for the first time in his career. The Mexico native shot two-under 68 in each of the first two rounds, before finishing round three one-over par 71.
The team will look to improve on a superb finish last season in the SunTrust Gator Invitational, which saw them shoot 12-over 852 and finish tied for second. The Dolphins recorded the lowest single-round score of the 2017 edition, shooting a 276 on the third round to finish in front of eight top-50 teams. Pereda led the team with a third place finish (two-under 70+72+66=208), while then-senior Ryan Jahn tied for fourth (par 72+71+67=210).
The field features three teams ranked in the top 25, and six squads who competed against JU at the Sea Best Invitational. No. 43 South Florida, No. 20 Arkansas, and No. 70 Liberty, the event's top three finishers, will be in attendance, as well as fellow-ASUN competitors Lipscomb and North Florida. The Razorbacks return to Gainesville as the defending SunTrust Gator Invitational Champions (288-278-279-845, +5).
The Field (by order of final GolfStat rankings for Fall 2017):
#27 North Florida
#66 Georgia Southern
#71 Mississippi State
#85 Coastal Carolina
#102 College of Charleston