GASTONIA, N.C. (Seminoles.com) – Junior men’s golfer and Tallahassee native Bennett Baker recorded one of his best showings of the season by finishing tied for sixth at 6-under at the Gary Koch Invitational held at Gaston Country Club in Gastonia, N.C.
Baker shot a final-round 71 (73-66-71) in what was a very eventful round filled with seven birdies to go with three bogeys and a double bogey. Baker was brilliant on holes 12-15, producing four consecutive birdies to highlight his back-nine charge. His 16 total birdies in three rounds of play was tied for the third-most of any player.
Baker’s sixth-place showing is his third Top 10 finish of the year. He started his fall by tying for 10th at The Doc Gimmler, then began his spring by winning the USA Individual Tournament with a 4-under 209.
“Bennett continues to gain confidence and put himself in learning opportunities,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “He is making birdies and putting pressure on the course. Making four birdies in a row in a final round tells me he is competing and executing at the same time.”
Executing on par-3 holes was a big help for the Chiles High School product. He shot 3-under overall on the short holes, tying for the lowest score in the tournament.
Florida State finished fourth overall (295-277-286), shooting 6-under over the three rounds and 2-under in Tuesday’s final round. No. 28 and tournament host Kentucky won the Gary Koch Invitational at 35-under, followed by No. 11 Auburn (-31) and 34th-ranked Ole Miss (-11).
Sophomore Jamie Li placed 18th after finishing 2-under (72-68-74). A triple bogey on his third hole hurt his early scoring, but he battled back with three birdies and prevented his round from getting out of hand.
Junior Corey Carlson had the low final-round score with a 2-under 70 on Tuesday, finishing tied for 26th at 1-over. Carlson started hot with three birdies in his first four holes, and despite three straight bogeys on the back nine, he ended with one final birdie on the par-5, 515-yard 18th hole.
Freshman John Pak climbed his way back into the counting scores by shooting a 1-under 71 on Tuesday. Pak tied for 42nd at 6-over but left the tournament garnering his 21st round at par or better this year.
Sophomores Jake Carter and Greyson Porter, whom competed individually, tied for 46th at 7-over.
The Seminoles turn their attention to the postseason as they prepare for the ACC Championship held April 20-22 at Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
Following the conference championship, the NCAA Regionals will take place at six different sites in Raleigh, N.C., Bryan, Texas, Columbus, Ohio, Kissimmee, Fla., Norman, Okla. and Stockton, Calif., from May 14-16.