Men's golf takes 8th at JU Invitational

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Men's golf takes 8th at JU Invitational

(photo courtesy of Andrew Tredway) Mercer Mookie DeMoss got off to a good start at the JU Invitational, carding a 74 (+2) during the first round.

(photo courtesy of Andrew Tredway) Mercer Mookie DeMoss got off to a good start at the JU Invitational, carding a 74 (+2) during the first round.

(photo courtesy of Andrew Tredway) Mercer Mookie DeMoss got off to a good start at the JU Invitational, carding a 74 (+2) during the first round.

(photo courtesy of Andrew Tredway) Mercer Mookie DeMoss got off to a good start at the JU Invitational, carding a 74 (+2) during the first round.

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(photo courtesy of Andrew Tredway) Mercer's Mookie DeMoss got off to a good start at the JU Invitational, carding a 74 (+2) during the first round.

The road to the Atlantic Sun Championship began this past weekend as the Mercer men’s golf team traveled to Ponte Verda Beach, Fla. for the Jacksonville Invitational, played at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course.

After moving up to as high as 6th on the team leader board, Mercer (904) would finish in 8th, two shots behind East Carolina and ten behind Wake Forest. Heavyweight Florida (858) would take the tournament cup by 25 strokes over 2nd place North Florida and UF’s Bank Vongvanij (-5, 69-69-73) would finish as the low medalist, taking the tournament’s individual title.

“We got off to a great start at TPC and really put ourselves in a great position with about 9 holes to play,” said head coach Andrew Tredway. “Unfortunately we ran into a few problems at the end, but I have to give our team a lot of credit for getting themselves there.”

Mercer’s five-man lineup saw the debut of Hans Reimers (+11, 72-72-81), who played exceptionally well during his opening two rounds to finish in a tie for 28th. Reimers had a chance to finish within the top 10 on the final day before four bogeys, a double and a triple bogey pushed his final round to +9. Nevertheless, the redshirt freshman from Oregon showed great ability during the opening stages. Stefan Labuschagne’s (+10, 78-76-72) third-round 72 helped solidify his position as the team’s low scorer as he would finish 24th in the event standings. Labuschagne would drain three birdies during his final 18 holes for his best round of the tournament.

“Stefan had a very good final round. There was some wind out there and he got off to a great start on one of the most difficult courses in the world. Seventy-two on the final day was a very good round of golf and we were happy for him,” said Tredway.

“Hans had a great start to his college career and we can’t say enough about the job he did for us,” the head coach added. “Seventy-two to 74 over the opening 36 holes was great playing and #17 got him during the final round. It happens to the very best players in the world, but he hit a great shot and that’s all you can really ask for—the wind just kind tricked us all.”

Teammates John Gregory Joseph (+12, 77-77-74) and Josh Cone (+12, 78-70-80) would finish in a tie for 32nd as Cone would shot the low round of the tournament during his second round -2. Mookie DeMoss (+16, 74-78-80) would round out the men’s lineup with a 45th place finish.

“We were in position to beat some premier programs, but we let it slip away with 10 or 11 holes to go,” said MU head coach Andrew Tredway following the tournament. “Overall, we saw some positive things out of some of the guys, but this shows us there is still plenty of work left to do and with our depth. We need to find the right mix of players for the next event,” he added on MercerBears.com.

Looking at the final standings, Mercer would finish behind A-Sun rival UNF (2nd) but topped other conference programs like ETSU (9th), Florida Gulf Coast (10th) and host Jacksonville (T-13th) in the 15-team tournament. As of the latest GolfWeek.com rankings from mid-November, Mercer was ranked #111 in the country and 6th best in the Atlantic Sun.

“This event had some of the best teams in the nation there, and it’s easy for people to look at eighth and not think too much of it,” Tredway added. “There were 10 top 100 teams in the field including, #1 and #21 in Florida and Wake Forest. These are teams that will be right in the thick of it come June at the NCAA Championship. I believe we are really close, and all we have to do is keep doing the things that our players did this week: put themselves in a position to be successful.”

Tredway’s team will travel next to Philadelphia, Miss. for the Frito Lay Intercollegiate at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club on Feb. 20 and 21.

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