Men's golf claims school's first-ever national championship

Men's golf claims school's first-ever national championship

DENVER, COLO. – The Saint Leo men's golf team pulled it off. They made history. The Lions used a 3-2 score in match play to take down Chico State and claim Saint Leo University's first ever team National Championship, just two days after they claimed NCAA Men's Golf Individual Title by freshman Hugo Bernard.

"We got off to a good start and that makes it easier on the coach and the players … It's pretty amazing. To be the first in school history is unbelievable," said head coach Chris Greenwood of the experience.

"I didn't have to say anything special today, I just told them to keep doing what they were doing. We didn't make any changes, just go out and play as aggressive as you can."

The Lions, who smashed the 54-hole team record at NCAA Championships at -26, ten strokes under Florida Southern's pace in 1999, looked to complete the impressive performance in match play. And they did not disappoint.

Saint Leo made it through the quarterfinals and semifinals with wins over Wilmington (Del.), and Sunshine State Conference foe Lynn, and looked to take on Chico State in the finals. 

"We got through the first round, then got our biggest rival Lynn, which was almost a preview of today. It feels great to get it done – that was the goal the whole year. It feels good," said junior Joey Savoie.

Through the first nine holes on Saturday, the Lions maintained a 4-1 lead as they progressed through the course. 

The pairing of Liam Ainsworth and CSU's Justin Wiles finished first with Wiles taking the point with a one-under score. Ryan Gendron and Matt Hutchins rolled in next, with Gendron dominating the round taking a seven-under to even the score at 1-1.

Chico State took the lead once again as Lee Gearhart topped Savoie with a three-under round. It was down to the Lions final two golfers, the NCAA individual champion Bernard, and Griffin Clark.

Bernard turned in a seven-under round to defeat Alistair Docherty, which evened the tally once again at 2-2, bringing it to the final pairing of Clark-Kelley Sullivan.

Clark held the two-under lead he had at the turn and increased it to three-under over the final eight holes to help the Lions win the National Title.

[1] Saint Leo 3, [2] Chico State 2
Justin Wiles (Chico State) def. Liam Ainsworth (Saint Leo), -1
Ryan Gendron (Saint Leo) def. Matt Hutchins (Chico State), -7
Lee Gearhart (Chico State) def. Joey Savoie (Saint Leo), -3
Hugo Bernard (Saint Leo) def. Alistair Docherty (Chico State), -7
Griffin Clark (Saint Leo) def. Kelley Sullivan (Chico State), -3

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