Monday’s marathon day at the Sea Best Invitational required as much patience and concentration as the field of 75 players at the TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course could muster.
When it was over – and the temperature had dipped into the mid-40s with the approaching dusk – one of the youngest teams in the field did the best job of managing the conditions.
University of North Florida freshmen Nick Gabrelcik and Robbie Higgins posted top-10 scores and the two other players who scored finished among the top-18 as the Ospreys took a 13-shot lead over Duke and Liberty at 11-over-par 571.
Charlotte is in fourth at 25 over, N.C. State fifth at 26 over and host Jacksonville University is sixth at 27 over. The final round will be Tuesday, and there’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is it will be even colder on Tuesday, with a forecast high of 52 degrees and more Northeast wind.
Scores: Sea Best Invitational
The good news is the field will only have 18 holes to play.
“This place is tough as it is, much less this sort of weather,” said UNF junior Cody Carroll of the Valley Course, after he shot 71 in the second round to tie for 13th at 6-over.
Gabrelcik opened with a 4-under 66 and held the lead for most of the second round until he finished bogey-double bogey to fall into a tie for second at 1-under 139, three shots behind N.C. State’s Easton Paxton (68-68—136).
Gabrelcik is tied with Adrien Pendaries of Duke (70-69), Kiernan Vincent of Liberty (68-71) and two individual competitors, Fred Biondi of the University of Florida (71-68) and Brady Madsen of Florida Gulf Coast (69-70).
Higgins (69-74—143) is tied for eighth. The only senior in the UNF lineup, Nick Infanti (74-73—147) is tied for 18th.
Ospreys coach Scott Schroeder was pleased with his team’s performance – and for showing it can contend on a difficult course under rugged conditions, after they were in the mix last week in the Timuquana Collegiate, when the temperatures were in the high-70s and scoring was low.
“The weather was totally different from last week and they showed me they know how to grind a little bit more on a tough course, on a tough day,” he said. “It was really solid.”
Concentration and patience – or at least as strong an attempt as could be mustered – were the orders of the day. Players were bundled up, every conceivable kind of cold-weather apparel was in use and since both rounds were shotgun starts, they couldn’t even huddle inside the clubhouse to warm up for a few minutes between rounds.
“You have to keep your focus but that’s impossible for more than eight hours on a day like this,” said Jacksonville’s Michael Sakane, who matched the low score of the second round with a 68 and finished solo seventh to lead the Dolphins at 1-over 141. “There have to be moments where you don’t think about golf, then right before you hit the shot, start concentrating.”
Carroll offered himself as an example of the on-again, off-again nature of trying to play golf in Florida in weather better suited to outdoor hockey.
After a first-round 75 that included a triple-bogey, followed by a bogey on a par-5, Carroll’s second-round 71 included four birdies during a six-hole stretch.
“It’s easy to make a lot of loose decisions and not commit to shots,” he said.
Easton was the only player to put together two sub-par rounds and had one sparkling stretch in his second tour around the Valley when he birdied four holes in a row, Nos. 11, 12, 13 and 14.
Biondi one of the most bizarre days, with nine birdies, two bogeys and three doubles. Vincent turned in a card for the second round that had seven birdies, one double and one triple.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/02/01/college-golf-north-florida-dyes-valley-sea-best/