NORMAN, Okla. (Seminoles.com) – Scores trended in the right direction for the fourth-seeded and 22nd-ranked Florida State Men’s Golf team on Tuesday, shooting 4-under to put itself in sixth place through two rounds at the NCAA Golf Norman Regional in Norman, Okla.
Teeing off once again on the 10th hole, the Seminoles clobbered holes 1-9 to end their round emphatically. FSU’s five golfers combined to shoot 7-under on their final nine holes, led once again by the above-and-beyond play of freshman John Pak.
Pak shot a 2-under 34 on holes 1-9 and carded a 2-under 70 in the second round – FSU’s low round of the day. The ACC Freshman of the Year recorded just one bogey and added three birdies to benefit his day. As one of two Seminoles under par overall, his solid play at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club has left FSU in contention for a coveted Top 5 spot to advance to the NCAA Championship Finals.
“We played a solid round of golf today,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “All five guys at even par or better is always good. We have some work to do but we have prepared for this all season.”
In order to qualify for their seventh straight NCAA Championship Finals appearance, the Seminoles will have to make up a little ground in Wednesday’s final round. Tenth-ranked Auburn (-3) and No. 39 BYU (-3) currently hold the final two spots with a fourth-place tie, leaving FSU four strokes back.
No. 27 UNF is currently third at 5-under, while No. 33 Pepperdine is second at 7-under and No. 3-ranked Oklahoma is first at 9-under.
Junior Corey Carlson shot a 1-under 71 on Tuesday, which included going 2-under over his final eight holes. The Green Cove Springs, Fla., native is the other Seminole under par, sitting at 1-under.
Scorching hot to end the day was junior Bennett Baker, who recorded five birdies over his final eight holes. The Tallahassee native had a stretch where he birdied three consecutive holes and four in a five-hole span. After shooting a 39 on his first nine, Baker finished stronger than anyone with a 33 on the back end.
Redshirt senior Harry Ellis bounced back with a counting score on Tuesday, dropping a 1-under 71. The native of England had a big eagle, his third of the season, on the par-5, 627-yard fifth hole to give his team an enormous boost.
Sophomore Jamie Li, a fellow Englishmen, improved by three strokes in the second round with an even-par 72.
Florida State has put together the lowest par 3 scoring average in the tournament at 3.08. In 20 par 3 holes played collectively on Tuesday, FSU strung together five birdies, just one bogey and 14 pars.
The Seminoles will tee off in Wednesday’s final round in a time that will be determined later Tuesday evening.