TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – With the wind blowing over 20 miles per hour at Floridian Golf Club on Tuesday, the 23rd-ranked Florida State Men’s Golf team persevered and shot the low round of the day en route to a second-place finish at the Valspar Collegiate in Palm City, Fla.
FSU’s combined 281 (-3) on Tuesday was arguably its most impressive round of the year, climbing one spot up the leaderboard to finish only behind top-ranked Oklahoma State (-12). The Seminoles shot a 7-under 845 (286-278-281) overall, with freshman John Pak once again being the catalyst.
In the windy conditions, Pak posted his best round of the tournament with a 5-under 66, finishing second overall with a 9-under 204. The top-notch freshman strung together seven birdies, boosted by his opening-hole 3 on a par-4, 441-yard hole. He shot a 32 on the front nine and ended with a 34 on the back nine.
“John Pak is putting together a great freshman season,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “He keeps learning and getting better. The final round 66 in a 20-plus miles per hour wind is one of the best rounds I have coached.”
Pak’s 66 ties for his second-lowest round of the season, only eclipsed by his final-round 65 at his first tournament played at The Doc Gimmler.
Sophomore Jake Carter was also impressive over the three rounds played, shooting an even-par 71 on Tuesday and tying for 18th with a 1-over 214. Highlighting his final round was an eagle on the par-5, 529-yard 13th hole.
After recording a 69 in the second round, junior Bennett Baker finished strong with a 1-under 70 in the third round. The Tallahassee native tied for 27th shooting 3-over for the tournament, using a solid 34 on the front nine to bolster his score on Tuesday.
“Jake and Bennett took a big step forward this week,” Jones added. “This should give them needed confidence to build on. You don’t shoot those scores and play the way they did and not be really talented.”
Sophomore Jamie Li tied for 31st shooting 4-over, while redshirt senior Harry Ellis tied for 38th at 6-over.
Tuesday’s round was Ellis’ last with the Seminoles before competing as an Amateur Champion at The Masters (April 5-8). Prior to playing at The Masters, Ellis will compete head-to-head with the United States Amateur Champion Doc Redman in the Georgia Cup held Sunday, March 25, at the Golf Club of Georgia in Atlanta.
Following his stint at The Masters, he will resume play with Florida State to finish his collegiate career.
After Tuesday’s performance, Jones came away happy with how his team responded due to the elements they were forced to play against.
“We are definitely growing as a team and moving in the right direction,” Jones said. “We didn’t handle the wind very well in Cabo as a team, played a tougher course in more wind today and had the low round of the day in a great field.”
FSU goes on a two-week hiatus before competing in its final regular-season tournament at the Gary Koch Invitational in Gastonia, N.C., on April 9-10.