TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The third-ranked Florida State Men’s Golf team has used its four-month offseason to fine-tune its game, and its busy preparation will be put to the test this weekend at the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 20-21 at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla.
The 14-team tournament includes three ranked teams according to the latest Bushnell Golf Week Division I Coaches Poll released on Friday. FSU is the highest ranked team in the field at No. 3, followed by No. 8 Florida and No. 17 Vanderbilt. The other participants include College of Charleston, Jacksonville, Liberty, Missouri, UNF, USF, UAB, UCF, UKMC and Winthrop.
“It’s a 14-team tournament, so when we go to an event like this we know who’s in the field,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “But our job is to go play the golf course and play like we’re capable of playing. That’s all we can control.”
Saturday is an 8 a.m. shotgun start as Florida State hopes for plenty of success from senior All-American Hank Lebioda, fellow senior All-American Rowin Caron, redshirt junior Cristobal Del Solar, junior Josh Lee and freshman Tyler Bakich. Bakich, the son of the late FSU Athletics Hall of Famer and LPGA Major Winner Colleen Walker, makes his collegiate debut in Gainesville.
The Mark Bostick Golf Course is a Par-70 course that spans 6,701 yards. With Lebioda, who is one of 25 collegiate golfers on the Ben Hogan Award Watch List, and Caron back again, FSU is looking for another season of strong play from its upperclassmen while settling in with its youth.
“Every team is different. We have two great seniors this year, two All-Americans that are seniors,” Jones added. “Right behind them are two quality juniors and a lot of freshmen behind that. It’s a good balance, but we have some nice maturity up top and we’ll use that.”
The Seminoles are coming off a fall season where they finished in the Top 10 nationally in first-round average (70.45), average score (71.80), last-round average (71.85), par 4 scoring (4.07) and bogeys per round (2.95).
The first and second rounds will be played on Saturday, while the final Sunday round will begin at 8 a.m. Live scoring of the SunTrust Gator Invitational can be accessed on Golfstat.com .