Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

March 12, 2014

Getting comfortable

VSU garners lesson from First Federal Southeastern Collegiate

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State competed in its second consecutive tournament won by Barry University on Tuesday as the Miami-based defending national champion, and current No. 1, relied on its preparation en route to another tournament win in the 2014 First Federal Southeastern Collegiate.

The Buccaneers won the VSU-hosted event by six strokes by shooting 289 in the final round and 861 for the tournament led by Scott Smyers' 215. With the win, Barry solidified its hold on the No. 1 spot in the country a week after winning the St. Edwards Invitational in Austin, Texas.

"We prepare for these moments, to win," said Barry coach Jimmy Stobs. "This is a difficult golf course and it's set up tricky, if you don't hit the correct shots you're going to pay with bogeys.

"So we try to hitting the correct shots all the time, in practice and in tournaments, and hopefully when the guys get in a tournament they'll hit the correct shot."

The Blazers, who finished 14th in Austin, shot a 296 on Tuesday at the par-72, 7,113-yard Kinderlou Forest Golf Club to finish in fourth place out of 18 teams. Florian Schmiedel and John Fordham led VSU with a three-round total of 217 as they finished tied for ninth in the field.

Lynn and Armstrong Atlantic finished ahead of VSU at second and third with a 867 and 878, respectively, before the Blazers slid in with an 879. Saint Leo filled out the top five with a three-round score of 881 — led by Ryan Gendron's tournament-best 210.

In all, 18 teams competed in the First Federal Southeastern Collegiate including: Flagler College, Columbus State, North Alabama, Eckerd College, Lander, Georgia Southwestern, Georgia College & State, Florida Southern, West Florida, Delta State, Florida Tech, Rollins College and Clayton State.

Even though the Blazers were not able to pull out a victory on Tuesday, they can't be disappointed by a fourth-place finish in a tournament in which 10 out of the 18 competing teams entered play ranked in the top 25.

"It helps to beat a lot of those teams. It's an improvement over how we have been playing," said VSU's coach Jared Purvis. "The teams that we needed to beat to give ourselves a better chance at regionals, we beat those teams, and that was the most important thing this week."

After competing against Barry two weeks in a row, Purvis and VSU golf can walk away from the tournament knowing it can hang with the No. 1 team in the nation.

"We’ve gotta continue to limit our mistakes," said Purvis. "We hung with them in the first round, we were leading, we gotta get more comfortable in that position.

“To get more comfortable in that position you have to put yourself in that position a little more often."

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