DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson men's golf team opened its annual Stetson/Central Florida Sports Commission Invitational on Monday at Victoria Hills Golf Club, bouncing back from a 16 over par 304 in the morning round with an even par 288 in the afternoon. The Hatters stand at 16 over par overall, in a tie for fourth place in the nine-team field with 18 holes remaining. Junior Sam Ryder (Longwood, Fla.) is tied for fifth place individually at two under par.
Ryder shot 72-70 to lead the Stetson contingent, which got a key shot in the arm from senior Gabe Costa (Tequesta, Fla.) in the second round. Costa had opened with a 76 before shooting a three under par 69 in the second loop around Victoria Hills; he is tied for ninth at one over par. Redshirt junior Michael Stewart (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) shot 77-76 in his first college competition since the 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships, completing his inspiring return from a serious car accident that cost him the entire 2009-10 campaign. Also improving on their first round scores in the afternoon were sophomore Micah Jacobsen (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) and junior Andrew Schiano (Orlando, Fla.), who totaled 81-73 and 79-77 respectively. Sophomore Adam Kipi (Oviedo, Fla.) competed as an individual and shot two rounds of four over par 76.
Florida Gulf Coast used an incredible second round to open up a 10-stroke lead in the team competition. All five Eagles shot 70 or better in the afternoon, going 16 under par in total and finishing the day at -8. Jacksonville State is second at two over par with USC Upstate in third at +8. Stetson and Bethune-Cookman are tied for fourth at +16; Florida Atlantic (+27), Murray State (+29), Lipscomb (+48) and Florida A&M (+76) round out the field.
FGCU's Daniel Mazziotta and USC Upstate's Brad Sill share the 36-hole lead at six under par, three strokes clear of Alex Medinis (FGCU) and Cameron Carrico (Murray State). Ryder is tied for fifth at -2 with two other golfers. The tournament concludes tomorrow as the field goes off in a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m.