FGCU's Madsen, Holmgren & Capan All Finish Top 25 at Sea Best Invite
February 10, 2021
PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- Playing nearly two hours behind leader-in-the-clubhouse Easton Paxton of North Carolina State, North Florida freshman Nicholas Gabrelcik was one stroke behind Paxton last week when he arrived at the 12th tee on the Dye's Valley Course at the TPC at Sawgrass complex. He proceeded to make a 35-foot putt for birdie at the 12th and a 4-footer for birdie at the 15th as he played the last seven holes in 2 under and finished the round with a 2-under-par 68. That gave him a 54-hole total of 207 and a one-stroke victory over Paxton, who closed with a 72. Adrien Pendaries of Duke shot 71 and finished third at 210.
Gabrelcik's efforts also helped North Florida win the team championship by 12 shots. North Florida (the Ospreys) closed with a 290 for an overall 861. Duke and Liberty tied for second at 873, and Campbell (the Fighting Camels) was another nine back at 882 in fourth.
Florida Gulf Coast University, the most popular destination for Minnesota college golfers who were transferring last summer, finished ninth at 895. But the Eagles got top-25 individual performances from all three of the Minnesotans on their roster.
Brady Madsen, a junior from Raymond, was the low Minnesotan, tyiing for fourth with an aggregate of 213. Madsen went to high school at MACCRAY, and although he never won a state title, he did have a pair of top-3 finishes at the Class A portion of the tournament. He was the A runner-up in 2016 and finished third in 2017 as a senior. At Winona State, he had a scoring average of 75.2 as a freshman and 74.7 as a sophomore. But then, in the summer between his sophomore and junior seasons, he was the surprise winner of the Minnesota State Open. With the confidence he gained from that victory, he chopped nearly 3 1/2 shots off his scoring average during the Covid-shortened 2019-20 college season. He turned in five top-5 finishes and won twice, including the last tournament he played for Winona State, the Las Vegas Invitational, where he set a school record with a second-round 64.
Van Holmgren might have set a record for playing in the Minnesota state high school tournament at the most different heights. The first time he qualified, he was in eighth grade, and he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall. By the time he was making his fourth tournament appearance and was a senior at Wayzata, in 2017, he was just under 6-8 -- and he won the Class AAA championship that year. In 2018, he won the Minnesota State Amateur at Hazeltine National, and he came close to winning it again in each of the last two years, tying for second in 2019 at Somerby GC, and tying for third in 2020 at Edina CC. He played for North Dakota State for 2 1/2 years, and had a scoring average of 72.82 before transferring to FGCU. He's finished in the top 15 in each of the Eagles' two tournaments so far this year. The first of them, the Any Given Tuesday Intercollegiate, was played two weeks ago at Oak Point Golf Club on Kiawah Island, S.C., and he tied for 15th there. At Dye's Valley, he opened and closed with 73's and had a 74 in the middle, which gave him a 220 overall and a tie for 14th.
Frankie Capan, the 2020 Minnesota State Am champ, State Open runner-up and MGA Player of the Year, grew up in North Oaks part-time, and spent his winters in Arizona. So that was where he went to high school, and in 2018, when he was a senior at Northwest Christian (near Phoenix), he shot 59 on the last day of the Arizona Division III state tournament -- and won medalist honors by 10 strokes. He started his college career at Alabama, which began the 2018-19 season ranked No. 8 among NCAA Division I teams. But the Crimson Tide had all sorts of issues, and eventually it became clear that the only way Capan was going to make it to the NCAA Championships would be to qualify as an individual. The format for the NCAA regionals pretty much stacks the deck against individuals, but Capan nearly made it out of the Athens (Ga.) Regional anyway. On the final day, he shot 69 and finished 10th with a 54-hole total of 214 (1 over). But only one player not with a team advanced, and Capan missed by four strokes. He got off to a slow start with FGCU in 2021, shooting 77 in the opening round at Kiawah Island, but bounced back with a 73 and a 69 for a 219 and a tie for 22nd. Last week at Sea Best, the Eagles sophomore shot 75-77-70--222 and tied for 23rd.
Capan's 219 at Kiawah was the third-best total for FGCU that week, and kept him in the Eagles' lineup for TPC at Sawgrass. Madsen posted a total of 223 (75-77-71) at Kiawah, and that was fifth-best on the team. Consequently, he played only as an individual at Sawgrass -- which was unfortunate for the Eagles. He opened with a 69 and followed it with a 70 in the afternoon and a 74 on the second day. Had those scores counted toward their team total, they would have gained seven strokes in Round 1, nine in Round 2 and five in Round 3. If you slice those 21 strokes from the aggregate, FGCU would have come in at 874 and finished fourth, one shot out of a tie for second.
MEN'S COLLEGE GOLF
Sea Best Invitational
At TPC at Sawgrass -- Dye's Valley
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Final team results
1. North Florida 280-291-290 -- 861
T2. Duke 284-300-289 -- 873
T2. Liberty 291-293-289 -- 873
4. Campbell 298-296-288--882
5. North Carolina State 289-298-297-- 884
T6. Charlotte 284-301-300--885
T6. Jacksonville 295-293-297--885
8. College of Charleston 289-304-294--887
9. Florida Gulf Coast 297-303-295--895
10. Lipscomb 301-313-310 -- 924
11. Toledo 314-310-307--931
12. USC Upstate 309-320-313--942
1. Nicholas Gabrelcik, No. Florida 66-73-68--207
2. Easton Paxton, NC State 68-68-72--208
3. Adrien Pendaries, Duke 70-69-71--210
T4. Brady Madsen, Florida Gulf Coast 69-70-74--213
T14. Van Holmgren, Florida Gulf Coast 73-74-73--220
T23. Frankie Capan, Florida Gulf Coast 75-77-70--222