NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. – Christian Chapman matched the low round in program history and the St. Bonaventure golf team recorded its sixth consecutive Little Three Championship victory on an impressive opening day for the 2021-22 season Tuesday at Pendleton Creek Golf Course.
St. Bonaventure posted a team score of 281 in the morning round and turned in a 290 for the afternoon, holding off Niagara by five shots with a winning score of 5-under 571. Playing at the par 72, 6,712-yard layout for the first time in the 68-year history of the event, this year's Little Three Championship returned to its traditional format of 36 holes with each team playing six golfers, scoring four after a single round format last spring. Canisius finished third at 588.
Chapman claimed medalist honors, finishing the day at 5-under 139, taking the top spot by one shot over fellow fifth-year senior Danny Gianniny (73-67/140). Andrew LaCongo, playing as an individual, tied for third with Niagara's Tyler Edholm (74-69/143).
Chapman, a graduate student from Victor, N.Y., was unstoppable during the morning round. He drained six birdies and did not have a single blemish on his scorecard on the way to a 6-under 66, the third round that low in school history. Only Patrick Sheerer (2016 at the Binghamton Invitational) and Andy Whalen (2005 at the James Madison Invitational) have ever carded a 66 during a Bonnies round while Chapman's 6-under also tied Sheerer for the best score vs. par in program history.
Further, Chapman's effort was the best by any player in the Little Three Championship since 2012 when Canisius' Michael Craig shot 67.
In the afternoon round, Chapman cooled off a bit, playing 1-over 73, but able to win the tournament by a stroke thanks to seven consecutive pars coming in. For the day, he tied with Gianniny for the tournament lead with nine birdies.
After a solid 73 in the morning, Gianniny caught fire in the second round. He played the front nine in 5-under 31, making the turn with consecutive birdies at the par-4 eighth and par-3 ninth. A pair of bogeys on the back nine were the only blemishes on his card, balanced by birdies at the par-5 13th and par-4 16th. He made par on the two homeward holes to finish behind Chapman by one shot. His 67 tied his personal low round with the Bonnies, equaling his effort at last April's Upstate Spring Escape at Seven Oaks Golf Club.
Jack Geise tied for eighth on the leaderboard (75-72/147) while Jude Cummings (72-78/150) and Erik Stauderman (70-80/150) also were in the lineup for the Bonnies. Freshman Evan Rowane rounded out the lineup, making his collegiate debut (78-78/156).
Now with six straight wins, the Bonnies have won 44 of the 68 Little Three Championships all-time. It is the third time that the Bonnies have won the event in six consecutive runnings, matching stretches from 1992-97 and 2004-09, when Bonnies head coach Ryan Swanson went undefeated in the event during his four years as a Bona's player.
Next up for the Bonnies is their first full field event of the fall – a return to the Colgate Invitational this weekend.
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