The second Florida Regional tournament started on a beautiful, sunny day in Port St. Lucie at The Santa Lucia River Club. The club is a private, 18-hole facility and the course is a Jack Nicklaus design that offered the players a challenge a majority of them were not ready for. The course was played from the green tees at 6,543 yards with a rating of 72.3 and a slope of 143. It featured tight, water and tree-lined fairways, meticulously dotted with troublesome bunkers by Mr. Nicklaus himself. On top of this, the greens had so much undulation that they were described by many players as “mini golf greens.” If that’s not enough, the pin placements were comparable to that of a final round on the PGA tour. Ok, that last part might be a stretch, but I think you get where I’m going with this.
With that being said, the scores were a much more accurate reflection of the course’s toughness. The field consisted of the same teams as the first tournament: Keiser, Florida State, and Central Florida. While only three players out of the 22-man field broke 80, Keiser’s Colby Takushi shot the low round of the day with a 76. FSU’s Andrew Story (77) and Keiser’s Steven Shaw (78) and Logan Rutter (81) were all eyeing the medalist mugs as well. Keiser University continued its dominance from the first tournament with seven players in the top ten after Round 1.
Round 2 was held at The Legacy Golf and Tennis Club in the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie as well. Designed by George Fazio, the private 18-hole facility seemed fairly easy compared to the prior day. It was played from 6,436 yard with a rating of 71.9 and a slope of 139. The fairways were still narrow but there were not as many hazards and the greens were much flatter than those of Santa Lucia. Players arrived and hit range balls in the dark to prepare for tee times starting at 7:24AM. The dew was still rampant on the course for the first half of the front nine, especially for the first few groups. Despite this, the fairways and greens were still rolling out surprisingly well. The dew burned off as the sun came out for another perfect day of golf weather.
The scores for the day were the clearest reflection of the difference between the two courses. Keiser’s James Bombard shot the low round of the day with a 75 to shoot a total of 160 and ended up in a tie for the 3rd place with teammate Steven Shaw. FSU’s Andrew Story and Keiser’s Colby Takushi both shot a total of 158 over the two rounds to tie for Medalist honors. Both Story and Takushi are freshmen in their respective programs and are looking forward to competing in future tournaments as their games continue to develop.
Keiser University only added to their lead from Round 1 to finish with a final score of 800, while FSU was the closest behind them with 846. With the road to the National Championship winding down, it seems as though Keiser has locked up the number one wildcard spot. On the other hand, a lackluster performance from FSU has them hoping that their great play from the first tournament will be enough to get them to Myrtle Beach in November.