SAINT LEO, Fla. - Coming off of one of their most successful fall seasons in history, the Saint Leo men’s golf team enters their championship season with high hopes.
As a team, the Lions earned a pair of team wins, taking home the tournament championships at the Tampa Spartan and Saint Leo Invitational’s. At the Saint Leo Invite, the Lions led the 36-hole event from start to finish as Mark McGuire and JP Albuquerque were named to the All-Tournament team. The victory marked the third-straight win at the SLU Invitational.
Preceding that win, however, was the Lions first tournament victory, outside of the Saint Leo Invitational, in school history. The Spartan Invite laid ground to one of the most dominating performances in school history as Mark McGuire claimed the individual title with a 73-64—137, shooting a school record 64 in the final round. Teammate Cole Cisbani finished a close second with a 69-69-138.
The impressive fall led Saint Leo to a 10th-place national ranking in the final fall GolfStat head-to-head rankings according to the NCAA.
Individually, SLU totaled five, top-three finishes in the fall, including a second and third-place finish by Albuquerque, a second-place showing by Cisbani, as well as a first and third-place finish from McGuire. Not to be outdone, however, was Tom Lynn, who concluded play with a pair of seventh-place finishes.
For the fall, three Lions played in all eight rounds (three events), including McGuire, Albuquerque, and Lynn. McGuire completed action with a team-best 72.25 scoring average, while Albuquerque shut it down for the fall with a 72.75 average. Cisbani totaled a 73.60 scoring average in five rounds and Rick Briggs was a tick below 75 in his three rounds of play. Lynn pumped out a 75.75 scoring, which was followed by Tom Crawford (78.33), Brothers (79.60), Michael Wozniak (79.66) and Ronnie Carlson (82.66).
Head Coach Ray Cisbani looks for the team to continue their consistent play into the spring, Cisbani went on to say, “I am proud of our guys for type of effort they put into the fall. But it doesn’t stop there. We know what we need to do to succeed during our championship season. It’s a matter of execution now.”
The Lions strong individual performances led to great success in during the first part of 2009-10, and with the senior leadership of Cisbani and McGuire, the dreaded “P-word”, or potential, is turning into results.
As for the Lions' youth, freshman Nick Brothers, as well as a cast of other talented underclassmen, could push Saint Leo over the top and into the NCAA Tournament this spring.
The Lions will tee-off for first time this spring on Monday, February 1st at the Titan Winter Invitational in Melbourne, Fla. (02.01.10). That event will be followed with trips to the Matlock Invitational in Lakeland, Fla. (02.15.10) and the Treasure Coast Classic hosted by St. Johns University in Ft. Pierce, Fla. (03.01.10).
The Lions remain on the road for the month of March when they travel to the Spring Fling Intercollegiate in Howey in the Hills, Fla. (03.12.10). Early April has the Lions making the trip to Miami Shores, Fla. to compete in the Buccaneer Invitational hosted by Barry University (04.05.10). Saint Leo will close out play at the Sunshine State Conference golf championships which are hosted by Nova Southeastern at the Grande Oaks Golf Course in Davie, Fla.
If all goes according to Coach Cisbani's plan, the Lions should be in prime position to make the trip to Wilson, N.C. to compete in the NCAA South Region Tournament at the Wilson Country Club.