OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – The No. 17 Florida State men’s golf team started the season strong with a second place showing at the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational on Sunday. The day was highlighted by two players finishing in the top 10 and a hole-in-one.
“I regard this as one of college golf’s major tournaments of the year,” said head coach Trey Jones. “We went out and put ourselves in a position to win the golf tournament with nine holes to play. Hats off to Illinois for playing a great final nine on a really hard golf course.”
Florida State had its best round of the weekend with a 3-over 283 to finish the tournament with a 32-over 872. The Seminoles finished 11 strokes behind host school Illinois. The 15-team field featured 10 teams in the top 25 Golf Coaches Association of American Preseason rankings.
“I am encouraged that we shot the third best score of the tournament at a time we needed it most,” continued Jones. “Being able to play tough golf courses is a great characteristic for any player or team. I am proud of the guys for getting better as the week went on and this could be a very good team if we keep improving.”
Junior Rowin Caron finished tied for fourth for his best finish since his freshman season, a tie for first at the Gary Koch Invitational. Caron finished the day with a 71 for a 5-over 215 three round total, only two strokes behind co-medalists Maverick McNealy of Stanford and Dylan Meyer of Illinois.
“Rowin really played some good golf this week,” continued Jones. “He had something to prove to himself and he executed very well.”
“I’m proud of the team this week as we all fought hard,” said Caron. “Josh (Lee) played really well today. I didn’t have my best ball striking but managed to shoot a good score with a good short game and putting on a very tough course.”
Sophomore Josh Lee jumped up 20 spots in the individual standings with a 2-under 68 to finish tied for sixth place. His three round total of 6-over 216 gave him his first top 10 finish of his collegiate career. He also made the second-most birdies of the tournament with 10, including five in the third round.
“Josh’s 68 should give him a great deal of confidence,” continued Jones. “He is a lot better than he was this time last year.”
Sophomore Jack Maguire finished in a tie for 15th with a three-day total of 9-over 219. He turned in a 2-over 72 to finish out the day to move up three spots.
Junior Hank Lebioda posted his first collegiate hole-in-one on the eighth hole and followed that up with a birdie on the ninth hole. Those two holes were good enough for him to jump 14 spots in the individual standings to finish tied for 30th. The last ace by a Seminole was Maguire last season on October 13 at the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate.
“Hank’s shot was the best shot I have even seen,” concluded Jones. “The pin was tucked front right and he made a hybrid from 247 yards. The ball went in like a putt.”
Redshirt sophomore Cristobal Del Solar finished the tournament tied for 62nd with a 234.
The next tournament for the Seminoles is the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate October 6-7. Check back to Seminoles.com for all your information on the golf team and follow the team at twitter.com/fsugolf.
OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational
Olympia Fields CC (Par 70, 7,290 yards)
Team Standings (18 holes)
1. Illinois – 861 (+21)
2. Florida State – 872 (+32)
3. Baylor – 876 (+36)
4. Stanford – 882 (+42)
5. Oklahoma State – 885 (+45)
6. Texas – 892 (+52)
7. Colorado – 893 (+53)
8. Virginia Tech – 895 (+55)
9. Alabama – 897 (+57)
10. Oklahoma – 898 (+58)
11. Texas A&M – 900 (+60)
12. Michigan – 903 (+63)
13. Arkansas – 905 (+65)
14. Connecticut – 909 (+69)
15. Indiana – 922 (+82)