Opening up the spring portion of its 2016-2017 season, Georgetown, the reigning Big East champion, finished sixth at the Florida Atlantic University Slomin Autism Invite, which wrapped up Sunday at The Squire Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
The Hoyas, No. 191 in Golfstat’s latest rankings, opened up with a solid 3-over-par 291 over the 6,447-yard, par-72 Squire Course, but fell back with rounds of 301 and 300 to finish at 28-over 892.
No. 55 Central Florida claimed the team title, the Knights posting a 1-under 287 in Sunday’s final round to finish with a 3-over 867 total. No. 83 Jacksonville State was the runnerup, firing a 4-under 284, the best round by any team in the tournament, to finish seven shots behind Central Florida at 10-over 874.
No. 133 Connecticut matched par in the final round with a 288 to take third at 19-over 883. No. 132 Southern Mississippi and No. 187 Northern Illinois both went low in the final round, each carding a 3-under 285, to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Golden Eagles finished at 23-over 887 and the Huskies checked in at 25-over 889. Georgetown was another three shots back in sixth at 892 and it was one more shot back to No. 190 DePaul in seventh in the 13-team field at 893.
Central Florida had three players finish in the top 10 in Manuel Elvira, a junior from Spain, Kyle Tate, a sophomore from Winter Garden, Fla., and Juuso Kahlos, a junior from Finland.
Elvira carded a 2-under 70 in the final round to claim runnerup honors, just a shot back of individual champion Daniel Pico, a junior at Jacksonville State from Colombia, at 6-under 210. Tate fired a final round of 3-under 69 to finish alone in sixth at 2-over 218. Kahlos had a 1-over 73 in the final round to finish in a tie for eighth at 4-over 220.
Also for the Eagles, Bobby Bai, a freshman from China, finished in a tie for 13th at 5-over 221 after a final-round 76 and Ryan Stovash, a senior from Orlando, Fla., finished in a tie for 30th at 11-over 227 after a final-round 75.
Jacksonville State’s Pico fired a final-round 68 to capture the individual title at 7-under 209. He opened with a 3-under 69 Friday and posted a steady even-par 72 in Saturday’s middle round.
Murray State’s Austin Knight, a freshman from Hopkinsville, Ky., finished third, four shots behind Central Florida’s Elvira at 2-under 214 after a final-round 71.
Florida Gulf Coast’s Andrew Potter, a sophomore from Naples, Fla., and Southern Mississippi’s Derick Kelting, a sophomore from Amarillo, Texas, finished in a tie for fourth at 1-over 217. Potter was in contention for the individual title after two rounds, but fell back with a 76 in the final round while Kelting moved up the leaderboard with a 4-under 68 Sunday.
Georgetown was led by Eduardo Blechtein, a freshman from Delray Beach, Fla. who finished seventh, a shot behind Central Florida’s Tate at 3-over 219. Blechtein followed up a 1-under 71 in the opening round with rounds of 73 and 75.
The Georgetown players were probably just happy to leave Washington D.C. and a winter that was overstaying its welcome behind and head for Florida to play some golf. I’m going to guess that the Florida teams in the field have had a little more quality practice time than the cold-weather colleges in the field.
Cole Berman, the Georgetown junior who starred scholastically at The Haverford School and captured the 2015 BMW Philadelphia Amateur title, struggled in the final round with a 78, but finished tied for 24th at 225. He was joined at that figure by Hardin Council, a freshman from High Point, N.C. who had the Hoyas’ best round of the day Sunday, an even-par 72.
Jack Musgrave, a junior from Chesterton, Ind., finished in a tie for 30th at 227 after a final-round 78 and Sam Madsen, a junior from Madison, Wis., finished in a tie for 40th at 229 after a final-round 75.
Berman, Musgrave and Madsen are holdovers from a Georgetown team that won the Big East title and the automatic bid to the NCAA regionals that came with it a year ago. Repeating that feat is a goal that seems within reach.