TAMPA, Fla. – The No. 15-ranked North Florida outplayed a nationally-ranked field en route to claiming the tournament title of the Gary Koch Invitational at Old Memorial Golf Club. UNF freshman Joey Petronio led the way earning his first career medalist honor.
The Ospreys, who led wire-to-wire against the top flight competition, boasted the best round of the day Sunday firing a final round four-under-par 284 and winning the event by 20 strokes after finishing at 843 (-21).
Petronio, a native of Orlando, Fla., tallied just his second Top 10 finish of the year. Along with earning his first title, he also posted a career best round (66) and tournament total (208).
Along with Petronio's strong play, UNF juniors Sean Dale (T-2nd) and Kevin Phelan (4th) joined their rookie teammate among the top five. Dale carded a two-under 70 on Sunday to finish at 210 with Phelan one shot behind at 211 after an even-par 72 final round.
Senior Kevin Aylwin finished tied for 23rd at 220 and freshman MJ Maguire tied for 29th at 222 to round out the Osprey lineup.
“I could not be more proud of all the guys,” said UNF head coach Scott Schroeder. “We had another superb round of golf today. One of the most impressive things was that we were able to record the low round each day against such a talented field. This was a great win for our team as well as for Joey (Petronio). I hope this show him that if he works hard that he has the ability to play and beat the best players in the country.”
No. 10 Georgia Tech, the only other team to finish under par, collected the runner-up honor behind UNF with a three-round score of 863. No. 3 Auburn was third at 868 followed by No. 4 Alabama (869), No. 24 Florida State (872), No. 23 Florida (874), No. 22 Virginia (878), Georgia Southern (898), Pacific (898), South Florida (900), UNCG (902), Wake Forest (907), Kentucky (911), College of Charleston (924) and Toledo (930).
The tournament win marked the fourth team title for North Florida this season while Petronio added the squad's third medalist crown, joining a pair by Dale.
North Florida now turns its attention to the postseason beginning with the Atlantic Sun Tournament slated for Apr. 16-18 in Braselton, Ga. The Ospreys have also qualified for NCAA Regional play on May 17-19.