GASTONIA, N.C. – The Jacksonville University men's golf team saved the best for last at the Gary Koch Invitational, firing off a -1, 287 to conclude play Tuesday afternoon. The Dolphins placed seventh out of the thirteen-team field, moving up one spot in the final round of the event.
JU saw three members of its five-man team record par or better on the final 18 holes on the par 71, 7042-yard course at the Gaston Country Club. The team recorded a seven-over, 871 (293+291+287) total for the event, beating out Coastal Carolina and Gardner-Webb by 11 strokes and falling behind Georgia Southern by one.
Senior Raul Pereda shot par or better on all three rounds of the 54-hole tournament for the fourth time this season, compiling a score of five-under, 211 (69+71+71). The no. 44 ranked golfer in the country finished tied for 10th place with Mississippi's Cecil Wegener (67+77+67) and Auburn's Ben Schlottman (67+72+72), marking his sixth top-10 finish of the year.
Fellow senior Elliott Fullalove showed improvement in the final round of play, carding his fifth round of under-70 golf of the year to end in a three-way split for 29th (two-over 218, 76+73+69). The Kingswood, England native eagled on the par 4, 426-yard hole 5, becoming the third Dolphin (Pereda & Carrete) to do so at the Invitational.
Sophomore Eduardo Carrete shot three-over 75 in round three to finish knotted for 34th (three-over, 219, 73+71+75), just one stroke behind Fullalove. Freshmen Michael Sakane (nine-over 225, 77+76+72) and Aaeri Krishnan (11-over 227, 75+76+76) combined for five birdies their third time around landing tied for 54th and tied for 58th, respectively.
In a battle of the tournament's two host schools, no. 28 Kentucky edged out defending champion no. 11 Auburn to take the title at the 2018 Gary Koch Invitational. The Wildcats (35-under 829, 278+277+274) carded a tournament-low 14-under 274 in the final round to overtake the Tigers for the lead, ultimately winning by four strokes. Auburn senior Trace Crowe successfully defended his individual medalist honors from last season, going 16-under 200 (69+63+68) on the two-day event to beat Kentucky's Chip McDaniel (15-under 201) by one stroke.
Following the conclusion of the Dolphins' first-ever appearance at the Gary Koch Invitational, the team now leaves the 2017-18 regular season behind to focus on returning to the NCAA Championships. JU will compete in the 2018 ASUN Championships on April 19-21, traveling to Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga. to do so.