STATESBORO, Ga. – The FGCU men’s golf team sits in 11th place after round one of The Schenkel Invitational on Friday.
“We’ve been working really hard to find some consistency this week,” said FGCU men’s golf head coach Andrew Danna. “I’m really proud of our student-athletes. We are looking forward to another opportunity to compete tomorrow.”
Tournament host and No. 19 Georgia Southern leads the 14-team field at 16-under-par as a team. No. 24 Mississippi State is second at four-under.
FGCU posted a round one team score of 300, 12-over, but lies two strokes ahead of No. 45 North Florida. Round two and moving day of the three-day tournament is scheduled for Saturday.
Junior Thomas Salanito (Palm Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic) paced the Eagles starting five on Friday to currently place tied for 19th on the individual leaderboard, opening with an even-par 72. Salanito places higher than three top 100 ranked Golftsat.com golfers entering Saturday’s second round.
At 2-over-par, junior Austin Cherichella (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona HS) is tied for 34th. Cherichella is one of just 14 golfers among a field of 84 to hold a cumulative under-par score on the par 3s.
Mississippi State’s Hunter Logan is the tournament leader at 7-under, boasting a round-one 65.
FGCU is set to tee off round two action beginning at 9:32 a.m. on Saturday.
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FGCU STARTING FIVE:
HEAD COACH ANDREW DANNA
Danna is in his fourth year at the helm of the men’s golf program with the Eagles earning FGCU’s first-ever NCAA Tournament at-large berth in department history during the 2022 season. He has led the Eagles to second-place finishes at the 2021 and 2022 ASUN Championships and was named the program’s first-ever ASUN Coach of the Year (2021) and repeated in 2022. One of the best turnarounds in NCAA history saw the Green and Blue, led by Van Holmgren who became the first player to earn PING All-Region honors, jump from No. 257 in the final 2019-20 GolfStat.com rankings to a then program-best 65 to close out 2020-21. The Eagles set a new program-best during the 2022 season at No. 47 in the GolfStat.com rankings. Holmgren won the ASUN Championship individual title to qualify for the NCAA Regionals. Before taking over in Fort Myers, he served the 2018-19 season as the assistant at LSU. Prior to that he was the ultra-successful head coach for six years at Lynn University where he led them to the 2018 NCAA Division II national championship and was, subsequently, chosen the David Williams National Coach of the Year. He also led the Fighting Knights to three national runner-up placements, with a third and eighth place finish in his other two seasons.
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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 96 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 15-plus seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 11-plus seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 48 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. In 2022, the men’s golf team became the first program to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Nine FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22 and No. 22 in 2022-23), baseball (No. 20 in 2023), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022), and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as five of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green & Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.66 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2022 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 27 consecutive semesters. The past seven semesters (Fall 2019 – Fall 2022) saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher cumulative team GPA. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.