Fernandez wraps up historic season at NCAA Regionals


Scott Fernandez

Alex Gookin

One year ago, ISU All-American golfer Nate McCoy was wrapping up his senior season with an appearance at the NCAA Championships after he led his team to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in more than a decade.

Freshman Scott Fernandez was quietly establishing himself as a star golfer as well, breaking McCoy’s rookie stroke average record. Little did he know that one year later he would be back at the NCAA Regionals, breaking another McCoy record. 

Fernandez placed 13th at the NCAA Ohio State Regionals in Columbus, Ohio, short of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. However, Fernandez made up for his short finish by breaking the record for single-season stroke average, previously held by McCoy, in only his sophomore season.

“I’m not surprised, but when you take a look back and see it, it’s pretty impressive, especially with how well Nate McCoy played last year,” said coach Andrew Tank. “It’s kind of fun that I’ve been able to witness both [McCoy and Fernandez] of those seasons. It says a lot about Scott to beat Nate’s record because Nate played some great golf last year.”

Fernandez, who was unavailable for comment, finished tied for 13th in a field of 75 golfers at regionals. Fernandez put together two middle-of-the-pack rounds before propelling himself to the top 15 on the final day.

“He would have liked to make a few more putts,” Tank said. “He finished really strong his last 10 holes. Thirteenth place is pretty solid and hopefully we can get him back there next year with the rest of his teammates and try to improve on that.”

The top golfer from each region whose team did not qualify for the NCAA Championships advanced. Fernandez finished fifth (74-74-70=218) among such individuals, with Virginia’s Denny McCarthy (74-74-66=214) advancing from the Ohio State region.

The Grenada, Spain, native played a key part in last season’s team run to the NCAA Regionals and proved to be one of the nation’s best golfers. He is currently ranked No. 18 by Golfweek.com and No. 10 by Golfstat.com.

“I’m thrilled with his performance this year and setting a new stroke average record,” Tank said. “The Palmer Cup, the Hogan Award watch list, I mean, he really just had a tremendous season.”

Fernandez is back home in Spain for a couple weeks before heading back to play in the Palmer Cup in Wilmington, Del., on June 7-9. Fernandez was the second player selected to represent Europe in the international competition featuring the 10 best golfers from the United States and Europe.

Tank has helped Fernandez prepare for both the NCAA Regionals and Palmer Cup, even changing Fernandez’s putting routine to improve the weakest aspect of his game. Fernandez will also be participating in several events in Europe during the summer. 

Tank is already excited for next year with the whole roster returning for next season led by the rising star, Fernandez. With Fernandez’s continuing success from the day he stepped on campus, Tank expects nothing less than more record-breaking performances.

“He’s on pace to be at the top of most, if not all categories,” Tank said. “I think he’s just going to continue to improve and when it’s all said and done, his name is going to be all over the record books.”