HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – No. 2-ranked Saint Leo men's golf team is headed back to the NCAA Division II Championships for the second consecutive season after taking second at the South/Southeast Regional on Wednesday, May 4th at Mission Inn Resort & Club. The Lions finished with an 866 (+2) on the par-72, 6,928-yard El Campeon course.
The Lions fired off rounds of 298-280-288 for their 866 total on the three-day 54-hole tournament. Saint Leo was sitting in 10th after day one (+10) before tying the tournament low-280 (-8) on Tuesday to jump six spots to head into the final day in fourth on the teams list at two-over par. The Lions shot an even-par (288) on the final 18 holes to finish the regional at two-over to head back to the NCAA Championships.
The Lions finished three-strokes off the leader Lynn (-1) and two strokes ahead of the third place team, Florida Southern (+4). Manuel Torres (Lynn) won the regional as the individual with a 206 (-10) for the 54-holes.
Hugo Bernard led the Lions for the tournament with a 212 (-4) after carding rounds of 71-72-69. Bernard climbed four spots on the final day to finish in fourth. Liam Ainsworth jumped six spots to finish in a tie for 15th with a tournament score of 219 (+3); Ainsworth recorded rounds of 78-69-72.
Ryan Gendron improved the most for Saint Leo on the final round, going up nine spots to tied for 23rd for the tournament. Teammate Joey Savoie tied with Gendron for 23rd with a 221 (+5) after sliding seven spots. Gendron had rounds of 79-70-72, where Savoie had 77-69-75.
Griffin Clark fell to 44th on the leaderboard and kept all of the Lions within the top-45 out of the 108 players in the field with a 227 (+11). Clark shot rounds of 72-75-80 for the tournament.
During the final round, Hugo Bernard led the way for the Lions as he shot a final round 69 (-3). Bernard had four birdies on the back nine to finish four under (33) with one bogey on the front for a 36 (+1) for his final round of the South/Southeast Regional.
Ryan Gendron shot an even-par 72 for his final round with a one-under (34) on the front and a one-over (38) on the back. Gendron carded two birdies and two bogey's. Liam Ainsworth shot a final round 72 (E) after going one-over (36) on the front nine and a one-under (36) on the back nine. Ainsworth hit two birdies and two bogey's.
Joey Savoie finished up his NCAA regional with a three-over-par (75) with four birdies on the day. Savoie shot a three over on the front nine (38) and wrapped that up with an even (37) on the back nine. Griffin Clark shot an eight over (80) on the final round. Clark ended plus-three on the front (38) and five-over on the back nine (42).
As a team for the regional, Saint Leo led the field in pars with 173 and led the teams on par-4's with a 4.14 average (+21). The Lions were second on the par-5's with a 4.82 average (-11), third in total birdies (45) and were fifth as a team on the par-3's with a 3.17 average (+10). Hugo Bernard was second in the 108 player field in total pars with 39, while he was third on the par-5's with a 4.5 average (-6).
The top five teams from each of the four regionals will advance to the NCAA Division II National Championship, along with the top two individual competitors from each regional not playing for the five advancing teams. The national championship will be held May 17-21 at Green Valley Ranch in Denver, Colo.
Advancing out of the South/Southeast Regional were Lynn, Saint Leo, Florida Southern, West Florida and Barry where the two individual's advancing were Griffin Brown (Limestone) and Richard Mansell (Nova Southeastern).
Saint Leo will be headed to Denver, Colo. for the Division II NCAA Championships on May 17-21. The Lions will be making their second consecutive trip to the national tournament as they were 2015 National Semifinalist. Ryan Gendron will be making his third stright appearance at the national championships as he played as an individual in 2014. Gendron tied for 25th with a 223 (+10) card. It will be the fourth-consecutive year that a Saint Leo team or member has qualified for the NCAA Championships.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's golf team, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.