PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State Men’s Golf went low on Tuesday – low enough to complete a 10-stroke comeback from the start of the day and win the Sea Best Invitational held at Dye’s Valley Course in TPC Sawgrass.
The Seminoles entered their final round in fourth place at 9-over and trailed tournament leader and rival school Florida (-1) by 10 strokes. But from the start of the day, momentum was in the favor of Florida State as it received four under-par performances from sophomore John Pak, freshman Calvin Sierota, junior Jamie Li and senior Bennett Baker to shoot a 9-under 271 on Tuesday. FSU finished at even-par for the tournament.
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To add to Florida State’s memorable day, Pak won a three-way playoff on the first sudden-death hole when he tapped in a par, defeating UF’s Gordon Neale and Jacksonville’s Eduardo Carrete. Pak’s tournament win is his third in less than two full years as a Seminole, and his second in the 2018-19 season.
Pak finished the tournament shooting 4-under (70-70-66), carding six birdies in his final round to help force the playoff. He began the day seven shots behind Carrete, but a strong back-nine 32 that included consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes and 14th and 15th holes gave him a shot in the sudden-death format.
“I was super nervous during the playoff,” Pak said afterward. “But Coach Duck just told me to play my game and I did just that. For us to win after being 10 back showed that we are a team that can come back from anything. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”
Pak alone couldn’t just bring the Seminoles back. Sierota showed little freshman nerves as he added an impressive 3-under 67 on Tuesday, and finished at 3-over to tie for 15th. The Melbourne, Fla., native added five birdies of his own, and made par on the final three holes.
Baker and Li each carded final rounds at 1-under 69 to highlight FSU’s four scores in the 60s on Tuesday. Baker tied for 21st at 4-over, while Li tied for 31st at 7-over. Li’s round was enormous after shooting an opening-round 78 on Monday and greatly improving as the tournament went on.
Florida State’s final-round score of 271 (9-under) marked the lowest round by any team in the tournament, besting NC State’s 6-under 274 in the second round on Monday.
Rounding out the FSU scores was a 9-over by senior Corey Carlson. Playing as an individual, Parker Reddig finished at 8-over and tied for 35th.
UNF (+3) finished second at the Sea Best Invitational, followed by third-place Florida (+8), Liberty (+11) and NC State (+14) in the Top five.
FSU looks to defend its championship at the upcoming Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate hosted by South Alabama on Feb. 11-12.