MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (Seminoles.com) – Two of Florida State Men’s Golf’s most experienced student-athletes in Corey Carlson and Jamie Li helped weather the storm that was the first round of the NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional held at TPC Myrtle Beach.
Carlson, a senior, shot a 2-under 70 to help the Seminoles tie for third place through the first day of NCAA Regional play. Li, now in his junior season, also stepped up with a 2-under 70 as both golfers are tied for eighth overall.
Fifth-seeded Florida State shot a 2-under 286 on the day and is tied with top-seeded Wake Forest for third place. Both teams sit seven strokes behind fourth-seeded Illinois (-9) for first, and are just two strokes behind eighth-seeded Ohio State (-4).
“I’m really proud of the way the guys came out and competed early today,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “That’s always a concern when you get to a regional and you haven’t played in a competitive situation in close to a month.”
California and UNLV are tied for fifth at even-par.
With Haskins Award Finalist John Pak breaking his streak of 10 consecutive rounds in the 60s, the performances by Carlson and Li were especially important.
“For Corey, being a senior, to go out and get 2-under – even 3-under late in the round – he’s in a good spot right now,” Jones said. “Jamie Li had it at 4-under for much of the day but bogeyed the last two holes. He’s still playing well and getting better and better.”
Li led the way for much of the day, firing a back-nine 34 to begin his day before finishing with 36 on the front nine. The England native finished with consecutive bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes, but his daylong effort was not dampened, as he was a critical part of FSU climbing atop the leaderboard.
Carlson used four birdies to his advantage on Monday and had just two bogeys. He had identical scores of 34 and 36 on the back nine and front nine compared to Li, respectively. The ninth hole, which is a tricky par-4, 472-yarder, resulted in four bogeys by FSU’s five golfers (only Bennett Baker recorded a par on the hole).
Carlson shot 3-under collectively on the course’s four par-5 holes, which is tied for the second lowest par 5 scoring in the field.
The bounce-back effort by freshman Calvin Sierota was one of the most important turning points of the day. Teeing off the 10th hole, Sierota was 2-under through his first eight holes until a quadruple bogey on the par-5, 538-yard 18th hole could have derailed his round. However, he followed with a 34 on the front nine which included four birdies on his remaining nine holes played.
“I was playing great but had one bad swing,” Sierota said. “I just had to keep doing what I was doing and stay in the moment. I didn’t have to react to making that score because I knew good holes were going to come.”
Sierota is tied for 20th after shooting an even-par 72. He was 2-under in his par 4 scoring, tied for the second-lowest among all the golfers.
Pak shot a 2-over 74 on Monday, which tied for his second-highest round of the year and his highest in the spring. The Top 10 golfer registered two birdies on the day and had a clean back nine, shooting a 35 to begin the round. Senior Bennett Baker matched Pak’s score with a 2-over 74.
Only 19 of the 75 competing golfers shot under par at TPC Myrtle Beach, with Illinois’ Adrien Dumont de Chassart leading the field at 5-under.
“We’re in a good spot, but in this situation we know that we’re going to have to play two really good team rounds of golf,” Jones added. “We need five scores in it each day, and it’s going to take really good golf moving forward.”
The pursuit of a coveted Top 5 spot in the 14-team regional continues on Tuesday when FSU tees off at 8 a.m.