MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (Seminoles.com) – Junior Jamie Li is playing some of the best golf of his career this NCAA post-season. His 2-under 70 showing on Tuesday and his 4-under (70-70) performance through two rounds at the NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional has been sorely needed by Florida State Men’s Golf.
The fifth-seeded Seminoles dropped back five spots in Tuesday’s second round, shooting a 4-over 292 after carding a score of 2-under (286) on Monday. Florida State is in eighth place in the regional, but sits just four shots out of a coveted Top 5 spot needed to advance to next week’s NCAA Championship in Fayetteville, Ark.
Ohio State leads at 11-under, followed by Wake Forest (-9) and Illinois (-9), UNLV (-4) and California (-2) in the Top five. Just outside is sixth-place Texas Tech (+1) and Oregon (+1) and Florida State (+2).
“We had a really rough start to the day with playing the first hole at seven over par,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “We got hit in the face right out of the gate. Simple par 4, downhill, downwind with the lake in front of the green and the air was actually pushing the ball down. We had a couple balls that the players thought were hit pretty well that just did not turn out so well for them. Outside of that, we played an OK round of golf.”
Li’s crucial round has him tied for seventh overall. Teeing off from the 10th hole once again, which he parred, he had two early birdies on the back nine but finished with a bogey on the par-5, 538-yard 18th hole.
Li would add three more birdies on the front nine. Over his final five holes, he recorded his three birdies with a couple bogeys sandwiched in. Of his four par 3 holes played, he recorded two birdies and went 1-under on the course’s short holes – tied for the third lowest par 3 scoring in the field.
“Jamie Li is playing as good as he has all year,” Jones added. “Corey (Carlson) has played solid. Calvin, for being four over par after one and shooting four over, showed a lot of guts. But we just have to do a little better than that.”
Carlson has been the other steady presence for the Seminoles, carding a 1-over 73 in the second round. He is 16th in the field at 1-under (70-73), totaling three birdies on the day. Another strong round will be needed from the senior on Wednesday if Florida State hopes to advance.
Sophomore John Pak shaved a stroke off his score from Monday, shooting a 1-over 73. He is looking to gain some momentum heading into Wednesday’s final round after making birdie on the difficult ninth hole that is a long par 4 at 472 yards. Pak was one of three Seminoles who struggled a bit on the opening 10th hole with a double bogey, but responded with a good round.
Freshman Calvin Sierota carded a 4-over 76. Once again, he came back from an early quadruple bogey on the 10th hole and wound up shooting even-par the rest of the way.
Senior Bennett Baker totaled an 8-over 80 on Tuesday.
“The important thing is we still have a chance to do what one of our goals is, and that’s to qualify for the finals,” Jones said. “This team has fought all year along. They have come from behind to win golf tournaments. They have come from behind after bad rounds and bounced back.
“I’m confident they will go to the tee in the morning believing they will play a good round of golf. A really good round of golf will advance us, but anything other than that and we will struggle. I look forward to going to the tee with these guys in the morning.”
Florida State’s final round will tee off at 8:25 a.m. on Wednesday.