University of North Florida golf coach Scott Schroeder and Liberty University coach Jeff Thomas didn’t intend to play in the identical match five times this spring.
“It’s just kind of how it worked out,” Thomas mentioned on Sunday whereas watching his gamers tee off within the second spherical of The Hayt, the invitational hosted by UNF on the Sawgrass Country Club. “We just try to get into the best tournaments we can, with the strongest fields, and a lot of times that means UNF will be there.”
The two teams are in competition once more after 36 holes in The Hayt, organising a closing spherical on Monday with cooler climate, a unique wind course and at all times, the perils of the water- and sand-strewn course as an element.
The Ospreys, led by freshman sensation Nick Gabrelcik (69-68—137) have a one-shot lead over Clemson at 8-under-par 568. Liberty is a manageable 12 photographs behind at 4-over, tied with UCF for fourth, with Florida State (3-under) in between.
Gabrelcik cast a one-shot lead over Turk Pettit of Clemson (70-68) and John Pak of FSU (69-69) within the particular person standings with three birdies amongst his final six holes, together with a chip-in at No. 13.
Robbie Higgins of UNF (73-68), Kieran Vincent of Liberty (71-70) and Kyle Cottom of Clemson (68-73) are tied at 3-under.
If Monday’s closing spherical involves all the way down to UNF and Liberty close to the highest, nobody might be shocked.
So far this spring, the two ASUN rivals have put appreciable distance on the remainder of the convention. The Flames have two seconds (together with a playoff loss to Florida within the Timuquana Collegiate), a fourth and a fifth, and entered this week 18th within the newest Golfweek ballot.
The Ospreys gained the Sea Best Invitational throughout A1A from Sawgrass on the TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley (Liberty tied for second) and have a second and a fourth. UNF is ranked twenty fourth by Golfweek.
Liberty has completed forward of UNF in three of the 4 tournaments through which the two teams have been within the discipline this spring and since their second-place end within the 2019 ASUN match, the Flames have completed forward of UNF eight times in 9 tournaments.
The key distinction between the two teams for the time being is depth. The Ospreys are led by Gabrelcik, who is ranked 10th individually by Golfweek, after successful the Sea Best and posting 4 top-10s in five begins. But they have just one different particular person top-10 end this spring, by graduate senior Nick Infanti, and junior Grant Sutliff is the group’s second highest-ranked participant by Golfweek at No. 233.
Golfweek has Vincent ranked twentieth and Alexandre Fuchs thirty third this week. Vincent has 4 top-10s this season, with a victory on the Seminole Intercollegiate, Fuchs has two and Eugene Chang one (Chang is out this week due to the ASUN’s COVID-19 protocols).
“We’ve got some really good players,” Thomas mentioned. “Kieran and Alex have played well all spring.”
The Ospreys and Flames will subsequent face different when it actually counts: the ASUN Championship on April 18-20 on the University of Georgia Golf Course.
It guarantees to be one other pitched two-team battle as in 2019, when the match was final held. UNF gained its third ASUN title in five years and its fifth in eighth years by 12 photographs over the Flames, with the next-nearest group, Jacksonville University, ending a distant 29 photographs behind.
UNF’s Jordan Batchelor and Andrew Alligood captured first and second. Vincent and Gabe Lench tied for third.
It was Liberty’s first look within the ASUN match after Thomas led the Flames to five Big South titles.
Although Liberty and UNF have knocked heads since January, Thomas questioned if “rivalry” wasn’t too sturdy a phrase.
“I guess you could call it that,” he mentioned. “All of our guys know each other. I know Scott pretty well. We have similar teams and we’re going to battle a lot. We recruit a lot of the same guys. But we enjoy playing against them and we’re on very good terms with their program.”
Schroeder mentioned he’s rooting for the rivalry to increase past the ASUN match.
“Let’s get this extended all the way to the NCAA,” he mentioned. “That will make it that much more fun. We like competing against each other. It makes us both better. It’s not Alabama vs. Auburn. We enjoy it.”
Schroeder mentioned he and Thomas have the identical philosophy on choosing tournaments: play at robust programs that place an emphasis on driving accuracy and course administration.
“We play a similar schedule because we both want our teams to hit it straight and learn to play tough courses,” Schroeder mentioned.
Beyond that, the two are good mates and Schroeder mentioned they often have a number of telephone conversations per week.
“We respect them and they respect us,” he mentioned. “But we want to beat each other. That’s golf.”
There have been three photographs of notice within the first spherical, together with the primary albatross in match historical past. Albin Bergstrom of South Florida used a 5-iron from 215 yards out to make a 2 on the par-5 18th gap.
Yaun made an eagle-two on the eighth gap, utilizing a pitching wedge from 111 yards out and Connor Newton of Coastal Carolina had an eagle-two at No. 16, additionally utilizing a wedge, from 104 yards away.