May 19, 2007
ALPHARETTA, Ga. –
The Florida State men’s golf team finished in fifth place in the team standings at the NCAA East Regional Championship on the Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia and earned a spot in the NCAA Championship finals for the first time since 1996. The Seminoles played their best round and counted four under par individual scores to finish with a seven-under par 281 team score in Saturday’s third and final round. Florida State will now play in the championship finals for the 18th time in school history and the first time under fourth-year Head Coach Trey Jones. The Seminoles begin play in the NCAA Championship finals May 30-June 2 at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, Va.
“The resiliency of our players is main thing I am going to remember about them from this tournament,” said Head Coach Trey Jones. “As we look back on how we played this course the previous two times we were here and how we played this week – I can’t say enough or commend our players enough for playing so well under pressure.”
“I’m not really surprised by how well we played,” continued Jones. “I’m also not surprised that we had one of the lowest rounds of the tournament. One of the goals I had as a coach today was to have all of our players shoot par or better in the last round. You have to play this course almost perfectly to have only one guy shoot above par.
Florida State shot 281 as a team with three individual scores of 70 by junior Jonas Blixt, sophomore Matt Savage and freshman Seath Lauer. The Seminoles also counted a 71 by senior Torstein Nevestad toward the team score. The only score not counted in the team score was a two-over par 73 by freshman Cameron Knight. The Seminoles’ 281 team score was their fourth best of the season. In addition, the 281 team score put up by the Seminoles in the third round was tied for the top team score of the event along with the 281 total by Georgia in the third round. The Bulldogs, currently ranked as the nation’s No. 1 team, won the regional championship by 12 strokes over second place Florida.
“We are ahead of schedule in the maturation of our program,” said Jones. “Advancing to the finals was a major goal of our and we knew we had the team to do it this season. Our players just had to compete. They proved that if you want something you have to go out and get it – and they did.”
Blixt (Hammaro, Sweden) finished as the Seminoles’ top golfer with a one-under par total of 215 – the fifth lowest tournament score of his junior season. He improved his scores on the second and third days of the event. After carding a one-over par 73 in the first round, he totaled an even-par 72 in the second round and finished with a two-under par 70 in the final round. Blixt was one under par with two birdies and one bogie on the front and back nines to earn his team-leading seventh score of the 70 or less this season.
Blixt, an All-ACC selection, finished in a tie for eighth place in the individual standings to earn his career-high seventh top-10 finish of the season.
“I am rally happy that we advanced on as a team,” said Blixt. “All of the guys on our team produced this week and showed what we are all capable of. I knew that we could be successful what I first came to Florida State and I knew that we could do it quickly. Our advancing to the finals is a tribute to Coach Jones and his vision for golf at Florida State. I knew when I first spoke with him that there were big things in store for this program and this is just the beginning of many great things to come for Seminole golf.”
Savage (Louisville, Ky.) played his best round of golf in the third round as he carded a two-under par 70 and finished in a tie for 24th place with a 220 total for the three round event. He also improved his single round scores throughout the event. After carding a 78 in the first round he finished with an even-par 72 in the second round and an even-par 70 in the final round. Savage closed the event as strong as any player in the field with a five-under par total over his final 12 holes of the round.
Savage, who was also an All-ACC selection in 2007, moved from a tie for 56th place after two rounds into a tie for 24th place in the final standings. He led the Seminoles with 12 birdies during the regional championship.
Lauer (Huntington, Ind.) continued his strong postseason play as he closed the event with a two-under par 70 and a 222 total – the fourth best tournament score of his first collegiate season. He began his stellar third round performance with a birdie and was under par throughout the round. He carded three birdies and was at three-under par at the turn after nine holes and pared eight of his nine holes on the back nine. Lauer played his final 39 holes of the event at one-under par.
Lauer begin the third round in a tie for 71st place and finished in a tie for 40th place in the final standings – an improvement of 31 places in the individual standings. Lauer is averaging 72.00 strokes in his last six rounds played.
Knight (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) played well and finished his play with a one-over par 73 in the third round. He was very consistent over each day of the event as he averaged 74.00 strokes per round and did not finish with a score above 75. Knight was below par for his first 14 holes of the third round and finished at one-over par top earn his best single round score of the event. Knight ranked second on the team with 11 birdies over the 54-hole tournament.
Knight is a total of 15 strokes over par in his last three tournaments and averages 73.67 strokes in his last nine rounds.
Nevestad (Oslo, Norway) tied his season-best single-round score with his one-under par 71 in the final round. He birdied two of his final four holes (including the 18th) to move under par for the round. After a birdie on his second hole of the round, Nevestad reeled off 12 consecutive pars and closed with birdies on 15 and 18 to earn his best single-round score of the event.
Nevestad finished with a six-over par score of 222 – the third consecutive event he has finished at six-over par or better. He is a total of seven-over par and averages 72.78 strokes since returning to the Seminoles’ starting line-up for the ACC Championship.
“This is an awesome feeling,” said Nevestad. “I have always wanted to play in the national finals and now my teammates have made that possible for me. It doesn’t get much better for me than to know that I will play my last round of golf in college in the national tournament.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our freshman – Seath Lauer and Cameron Knight – who played like they were seniors in this tournament,” continued Nevestad. “With Jonas and Matt our team is stacked and stacked for the future. You have to play well to make this line-up and I am just happy to have a chance to play with these guys. To be able to go with Coach Jones to the finals is a great feeling. To know how successful Florida State golf is going to be with him as the head coach is something that I will be able to look back on and be very proud of when my golfing days are over.”
Led by tournament co-medalist Brendon Todd, the No. 1-ranked Georgia men’s golf team won the regional championship. Georgia finished 12 shots ahead of Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech. Todd shared medalist honors with Billy Horschel of Florida.
NCAA East Regional Championship/Par 72/Final FSU Results Golf Club of Georgia/Alpharetta, Ga./May 17-19, 2007 5/27. Florida State 300 292 281 873 T8. Jonas Blixt 73 72 70 215 T23. Matt Savage 78 72 70 220 T32. Cameron Knight 74 75 73 222 T32. Torstein Nevestad 75 76 71 222 T32. Seath Lauer 79 73 70 222
NCAA East Regional Championship/Par 72/Final Team Results Golf Club of Georgia/Alpharetta, Ga./May 17-19, 2007 1. Georgia 855 T2. Florida 867 T2. Auburn 867 T2. Georgia Tech 867 5. Florida State 873 6. Duke 874 7. Charlotte 875 8. North Carolina 877 9. Georgia State 593 T10. Coastal Carolina 864 T10. Clemson 864 12. Virginia Tech 888 13. UCF 890 14. UAB 898