Dolphins Set For Final Action Before ASUN Championship

Dolphins Set For Final Action Before ASUN Championship

Gary Koch Invitational
Location: Gaston Country Club
Course: 7,042 yards, par 72
Gastonia, N.C.
Monday, April 9 & Tuesday, April 10
Live Results: Golfstat.com

Tee Times:

Round 1: Monday, April 9 (double tee, 7:45-8:21 a.m.)
Round 2: Monday, April 9 (after Round 1)
Round 3: Monday, April 10 (7:45 a.m. double tee)

GASTONIA, N.C. – Playing in its first competition in three weeks and the final tournament before the 2018 ASUN Championship, the Jacksonville University men's golf team is in action this week at the Gary Koch Invitational in North Carolina.

"I have heard good reports on Gaston CC and they have a strong field which includes Auburn, Kentucky, Florida State, Ole Miss and Virginia," Head Coach Mike Blackburn said. "We've had a good week of practice so far, and are looking forward to a good weekend."

Opening in 1958, the Gaston Golf Course was designed by legendary golf course architect Ellis Maples. The 7,042-yard, par 72 course features a course rating of 74.4 and a slope rating of 135 with A-4 bentgrass green and 419 tees and fairways. The course plays host to the Gary Koch Invitational to the third time in the last four years.

The Tournament will begin Monday morning at 7:45 a.m. with a double tee start, with the second round immediately following the conclusion of the first. Jacksonville is slated to tee off from hole one beginning at 7:45 a.m. alongside Ole Miss and Virginia. The final round will start Sunday at 7:45 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.

Following its third straight week without competition, Jacksonville was tabbed as the No. 57 team in the country in the latest Golf Stat rankings released on April 4. The mark is the team's best of the year thus far, and is second in program history only to last season, when the 'Phins sat as high as 44 during their run to the NCAA Championships.

In its only competition in the month of March, JU placed fifth out of 15 teams at The John Hayt Invitational at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra, Fla., March 18-19. Competing in the event, hosted by ASUN foe North Florida, for the 11th time in school history, the Dolphins grabbed their third-straight top-5 finish, faring better than four teams ranked in the top-50. The squad carded six-over 870 (294+277+299), finishing as one of two teams to shoot a round under 280 in the event.

Senior no. 44 Raul Pereda enters competition following one of the best performances in his collegiate career, and his debut in a professional circuit. The Cordoba, Mexico native tied for third at The Hayt, shooting seven-under 209 (71+66+72) on the weekend. The showing marked the third time this season that the captain shot par or better on all three rounds of a 54-hole event. Pereda was in action individually, later that week,taking part in the 59 Abierto Mexicano De Golf (Mexican Open), which took place March 22-25 as part of the PGA Tour Latinoámerica. Making his first appearance on the tour, he was one of only two amateur entrants to make the cut and play the full weekend.

Senior Elliott Fullalove will tee off at the event following his best finish of the season in last month's tournament. The Kingswood, England native ended in a four-way tie for 16th place at The Hayt, shooting even on the weekend (216, 73+70+73). With a season-average just north of 73, sophomore Eduardo Carrete will enter after being forced to withdraw in March due to injury. Freshman Michael Sakane and Aaeri Krishnan, who both shot 10-over 226 at the Sawgrass CC, wrap-up the five-man team competing for the Dolphins.

The trip north marks the first time that Jacksonville has competed at the Gary Koch Invitational, and is the second time that they have played in North Carolina this season, placing second at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate in October. Co-hosted by Auburn and Kentucky, the event is held in Gastonia largely in-part due to both teams' head coaches being natives of the town, which lies just southwest of Charlotte.

Boasting a pair of teams inside the GolfStat top-25 and five of the top-50 the Gary Koch Invitational features many of the marquee programs in the southeast, as well as multiple squads that Jacksonville has seen already this year in the 13-team field. No. 11 Auburn took first place in last year's event, and has produced the individual medalist each of the last two times the tournament has been held in Gastonia. Last year's top golfer, Auburn's Trace Crowe, returns to compete as a senior, while Mississippi's Braden Tornberry, the defending NCAA Individual Champion, will also take the course for action.

The Field (by order of GolfStat rankings released on April 4, 2018):

#11 Auburn
#17 Florida State
#28 Kentucky
#34 Ole Miss
#45 Virginia
#57 Jacksonville
#72 Georgia Southern
#102 Coastal Carolina
#105 Louisiana-Monroe
#143 Jacksonville State
#158 Gardner-Webb
#193 Lamar
#226 Western Carolina