KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Heading into the final three holes, Ryan Gendron had the title in his sights. All that was needed? Par-out and head to a playoff or birdie one hole and claim the individual title. Gendron finished in a tie for second as the Saint Leo men's golf team took second (+35) at the Sunshine State Conference Men's Golf Championships at Crandon Park at Key Biscayne on Tuesday, April 19th.
Saint Leo finished in second place, 12-strokes off the 2016 SSC Champions Lynn University, with a three-round total 899 (+35). Lynn walked away with the team title at 887 (+23). Manuel Torres was the individual champion with a 219 (+3) after carding a two-under 70 in the final round.
Ryan Gendron took second at the SSC Championships after shooting a final round 74 (+2) to end the tournament with a 221 (+5). Gendron shot a plus one on the front nine, 36, with one birdie and two bogeys. The back nine saw him sink one birdie and flop a double-bogey. The double-bogey on 18 was the devastating ending to the 2016 Championships no one wanted to see. The double-bogey took Gendron from tied for first to finish tied for second and no hope to head to the playoff or claim the title.
Gendron's plus-two on the final hole put him in a three-way tie for second with Niclas Weiland (Barry) and Martin Cancino (Lynn). Throughout the three day- 54-hole tournament, Gendron was in the hunt for the individual medalist after sitting in third on day one and day two before his second place finish in the final round.
In the final round of play, as a team Saint Leo shot a 297 (+9). Liam Ainsworth led the Lions with a third day low-70. Ainsworth was followed by Gendron and Joey Savoie who both shot 74's (+2) as Griffin Clark had a 79 (+7). Hugo Bernard was fifth on the team with an 83 (+11).
For the tournament, Gendron led the team with a second place finish and 221 (+5) total. Ainsworth was second on the team and tied for sixth, jumping 11 spots in the leaderboard in the final day to end with a 223 (+7) in his final SSC Championships. Savoie took third on the team and tied for eighth overall with a 225 (+9) for the championships. Bernard slid 11 spots to finish in a tie for 20th at 234 (+18) for the tournament. Clark finished in a tie for 23rd to keep all five Lions in the top-25 of the 2016 Championships; Clark shot a 237 (+21).
The Lions led the field in the par-3 game with a 3.27 average (+20) on the five par-3 holes on the course. Gendron led the individual field with a 2.93 average (-1) for par-3's. Saint Leo was second in the field on the par-4 holes (4.33 +39), pars overall (154) and birdies (39) in the championship. Clark joined Gendron in the top-2 for par-3 score as Clark tied for second, and averaged a score of 3.13 (+2). On the par-5's Savoie tied for first with an average of 4.73 (-4) as the Lions as a team were third with a 5.01 (+1).
Bernard finished the tournament with 10 birdies to lead the team. Gendron finished with 33 pars as Savoie and Ainsworth tied with 32 pars for the tournament.
At the SSC Championships, Gendron now has two top-10 finishes with this lone top-3 finish. Savoie now has three top-10 and one top-3 finish as this marked Ainsworth's first top-10 finish at the SSC Championships.
No. 2 Saint Leo awaits the NCAA Selection Show on Friday, April 22nd at 6:00 p.m. to see their destination for postseason play.
1. No. 4 Lynn - 887 (+23)
2. No. 2 Saint Leo - 899 (+35)
3. No. 5 Fla. Southern - 908 (+44)
4. No. 7 Barry - 922 (+58)
5. Fla. Tech - 928 (+64)
6. No. 6 Nova Southeastern - 929 (+65)
7. Rollins - 941 (+77)
T8 Eckerd - 995 (+131)
T8 Tampa - 995 (+131)
1. Manuel Torres (Lynn) - 219 (+3)
T2 Ryan Gendron (Saint Leo) - 221 (+5)
T2 Martin Cancino (Lynn) - 221 (+5)
T2 Niclas Weiland (Barry) - 221 (+5)
5. Shanren Brienen (Fla. Tech) - 222 (+6)