APALACHIN, N.Y. – For the second straight year, the St. Bonaventure University golf team captured the championship at the Matthews Auto/Binghamton Intercollegiate played on The Links at Hiawatha Landing – and for the second consecutive year, there was plenty of drama.
Just as in last year's title, the Bonnies came right down to the wire fighting for the win. Ultimately, St. Bonaventure and Lehigh tied with matching tournament team scores of 586; however the Bonnies won the tiebreaker based upon having a lower fifth player score in the final round.
St. Bonaventure turned in a score of 291 on Monday, following the 295 the team recorded Sunday for a 36-hole total of 586 (+10). Lehigh also finished at 586, while host Binghamton was two strokes back at 588. Monmouth (592) and Ottawa (596) rounded out the top five teams in the 17-team field.
It marks the second year in a row that the Bonnies have won the Binghamton Intercollegiate based upon the low fifth player score tiebreaker, earning the win a year ago vs. Drexel in the same manner.
Freshman Danny Gianniny tied for fourth overall in the field of 90 competitors after following up his opening round 72 with a one-under 71 on Monday to finish the tournament in red figures (-1). For the week he drained seven birdies on the 7,104-yard layout. Gianniny finished three shots back of the individual win behind the four-under winning score from Nikolas Maff. Just five players in the field finished the tournament under par.
Senior Corey Long turned in a strong bounce-back round of even-par 72. Junior Brent Morgan continued his strong play as of late, recording his second consecutive round of 73 for a 146 total (+2) and a tie for 12th.
Sophomore Zach Chaddock mirrored his Sunday round with another 75 on Monday for a 150 total (+6) while fellow sophomore Nolan Ditcher grinded out a 78 on Monday – a score that ended up being the difference as the fifth score for Lehigh was a 79 from Ryan Kelly. Ditcher finished his week at 75-78/153 (+9).
"The round came down to holes 7-13. That's where we separated ourselves and we had enough of a lead to hang on for the tie," St. Bonaventure head coach Ryan Swanson said of his team. "Nolan grinded it out and hung in to give us the win by one with his score."
The Bonnies knew exactly what they needed to do down the stretch as they were paired with players from Lehigh going into the day. It was a round where Bona started in a tie for the lead with Saint Joseph's despite finishing Sunday thinking it was three shots up before the disqualification of its low score on the day due to the signing of an incorrect scorecard.
"We had lots of emotion, lots of ups and downs and our guys handled it really well," Swanson emphasized. "They stayed really even keel and I'm really proud of them after what happened yesterday. They knew what they needed to do. Corey came out and gave us what we needed and so did everyone. It is a testament to the heads on their shoulders. We had a three-shot lead erased with that hiccup and to bounce back and do this is pretty sweet."
Playing as an individual, junior Matt Abendroth went 80-77/157.
For the Bonnies, this becomes the third victory in the past year for a program that has enjoyed a resurgence under Swanson and a young group of players who now have the expectation to fight for victories on a weekly basis. The team has finished top 10 in all four events so far this fall including now two top-fives.
"We have that confidence and know we have the ability to fire a low number regardless of conditions," Swanson said. "We're the team that people are starting to look at now. We got people's attention last year and when we play well we can tee it up with anyone around. I'm proud of these guys for how they battled back and what they're capable of going forward."
Right after Monday's win, the Bonnies hit the road to travel toward Albany where they will take on Siena in the first-ever Murray Cup on Tuesday.
T-1. St. Bonaventure – 586*
T-1. Lehigh – 586
3. Binghamton – 588
4. Monmouth – 592
5. Ottawa – 596
6. Villanova – 598
7. Saint Joseph's – 599
8. Fairleigh Dickinson – 601
9. Rider – 607
T-10. Lafayette – 609
T-10. Canisius – 609
12. Hofstra – 612
13. Siena – 613
T-14. LIU-Brooklyn – 618
T-14. La Salle – 618
16. St. Francis (NY) – 626
17. Niagara – 638
*- St. Bonaventure wins overall title based on fifth player score from second round
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