Junior All-American John Pak earned his second straight individual championship on Sunday with an 11-under (70-66-69) performance at the Seminole Intercollegiate held at Golden Eagle Country Club.
Pak is only the second FSU two-time champion of the tournament, joining Nolan Henke who won in 1985 and 1987. This is Pak’s seventh tournament title, sitting one shy of Henke’s program record eight.
“I don’t think about it a whole lot, but it’s there in the back of my head,” Pak said of trying to match Henke’s career wins record. “It would be nice to surpass someone as good as Nolan Henke. It’s definitely been a goal.”
There are only a handful of golfers around the country that can match the repertoire of the All-American Pak. Pak’s quiet start by his standards was gladly interrupted by three birdies over a five-hole stretch and an impressive eagle on 18 that provided him a five-stroke lead after two rounds on Saturday.
He followed with a 3-under on the final day that featured three straight birdies on holes 9-11 to hold sole possession of the individual leaderboard throughout the final round.
“My short game was on point this week,” Pak added. “I didn’t hit the ball as well as I liked and with that cold weather yesterday, it was hard getting things going. That short game saved me on some holes in the first 18 and it really helped.”
The Ben Hogan Award Watch List recipient was not the only Seminole who impressed in front of the home crowd.
Redshirt freshman Cole Anderson had his most complete tournament of his young career. He finished tied for ninth place with a 1-over (72-70-75) for the three-round event. He carded a 2-under through the first two rounds and closed the tournament with a round of 3-over.
This marks Anderson’s first top-10 finish of his career and his highest finish as a Seminole; his previous best was a tie for 24th at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational during the fall portion of the season.
Pak and Anderson led the field with 3.83 and 3.90 scoring averages respectively on the course’s Par 4 holes. Senior Jamie Li provided another consistent card for the Seminoles. He turned in a tournament score of 7-over and finished tied for 30th.
The classmates of Calvin Sierota and Alberto Martinez rebounded from second round struggles to add strong finishes. Martinez scored a 2-over in the final round, and Sierota followed with a 4-over. The ability to rebound from a tough round is an encouraging sign that will translate into future success as the sophomore duo moves through the spring season.
Freshman Fletcher Wunderlich competed as an individual and turned in a 10-over three-round score.
Florida State held their own against a strong field, despite less than desirable weather conditions through the first two rounds. The year’s field included seven teams ranked in the Top 50, and all seven finished in the top seven spots on the leaderboard. The Seminoles (+10) finished tied for fourth, as first place Washington (-9) controlled the team leaderboard throughout most of the tournament. The rest of the top five included East Tennessee State (-2), Liberty (+9), and James Madison (+10).
Florida State will travel to the Cabo Collegiate on March 1-3 held at the Cabo del Sol, Ocean Course in Los Cabos, Mexico.
FSU beach volleyball wins three matches
The second-ranked Florida State beach volleyball team (7-0) stayed unbeaten with three more wins on the final day of the Seminole Beach Bash. The Noles earned ranked wins over No. 7 Cal Poly and No. 13 South Carolina. FSU finished off the tournament with their fifth sweep of the early season over Tampa.
No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 7 Cal Poly
Florida State started day two with yet another ranked win, their third of the season and second over a top-10 team. Florida State improved to 4-0 all-time against Cal Poly with the 4-1 win Sunday morning.
Senior Payton Caffrey and freshman Liz Waters-Leiga improved to 5-0 on the year with a 21-10, 21-13 performance on court four to give the Noles their first point. Senior Molly McBain and junior Alaina Chacon continued to show why they are on court one with a 21-12, 21-18 win.
Cal Poly Narrowed the lead as they go their only point of the match on court two with a 21-15, 21-18 win. That did not phase the Noles as sophomore Kate Privett and freshman Maddie Anderson clinched the match with a 21-17, 22-20 win on court three.
With the match already clinched sophomore Jenna Johnson and freshman Keara Rutz showed fight after losing the first set 21-19. They went on to take the second set 21-17 before falling behind in the final set 6-2. They battled their way back to take the final set 15-9.
No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 13 South Carolina
Ranked win number four for the Noles also came as their fourth sweep of the season after a 5-0 win over No. 13 South Carolina.
Like clockwork Caffrey and Waters-Leiga were the first pair off capturing a 21-17, 21-9 win on court four. It was the fourth time this weekend that they were the first pair off. Privett and Anderson gave Florida State a 2-0 lead with a 21-15, 21-10 win on court three. The match was then clinched by McBain and Chacon on court one with a 21-14, 21-11 win on court one.
Johnson and Rutz kept pilling the points on as the earned a 21-17, 21-17 win on court five. Zeimann and Fitzpatrick rebounded from their loss earlier in the day with a 22-20, 24-22 win on court two to complete the sweep.
No. 2 Florida State vs. Tampa
Florida State capped off the weekend just how they began it, with another sweep. The Noles shut down the Spartans of Tampa with a 5-0 win.
Fitzpatrick and Zeimann got the Noles on the board first with a dominant 21-11, 21-9 win on court two. Waters-Leiga and Caffrey capped off their perfect weekend with a 21-15, 21-14 win on court four. Junior Ashley Robert and sophomore Lexi McKeown clinched the match for the Noles in their first match together with a 21-14, 21-15 win on court five.
Privett and Anderson extended the lead to four with a 21-9, 21-19 win on court four. McBain and Chacon were in a battle on court one. They lost the first set 22-20 but came back to take the second set 21-15. They trailed early in the final set but continued to battle back and take the third set and the match 15-9.
Florida State heads to Hilton Head, S.C. next week to compete in the Hilton Head SeaPines Invitational hosted by South Carolina. The Noles will face Grand Canyon, South Carolina, College of Charleston and USC.