PINEHURST, N.C. – Playing in his first PGA Section event, former Saint Leo University men’s golfer Chris Marinaro claimed the Carolinas Section of the 2009 Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship which was contested over a two-day period at the Forest Creek Golf Club.

Marinaro, who was a member of the Lions’ golf team from 2004-08, entered the clubhouse after an opening round three-under-69.  He came out the following day on fire once his second-round tee time got underway.

He started the day strong, birdying the first three holes but his momentum hit a wall when he bogeyed the 540-yard, par-5, 7th.

"I had a three-inch putt for par and didn't really think about it - I ended up missing and getting myself the only bogey of my round," he said.  "It made me realize that it wasn't just going to be that easy and I ended up playing well for the rest of the round."

It all came together on the 511-yard, par-5 14th where he came away with an eagle and as he widened the gap with the other competitors coming down the stretch.  A birdie on 18 sealed the deal.

"I had a great time playing out here," said Marinaro, as he thanked Callaway Golf, Forest Creek Golf Club's members and staff, and a host of others, including his dad, who was his caddy, and his mom and girlfriend who walked along.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity, and it was great having my parents here from Massachusetts.  This is a first for me and I'm looking forward to making the most of it."  

Marinaro came to Saint Leo after winning three state championships where his stroke average was in the mid-to-high 70’s.  During his time in the Green & Gold, he helped to set a new team scoring record.  The native of Pittsfield, Mass. graduated with his degree in Sports Business before beginning his professional career at the Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.

Marinaro will now head to Florida with four other qualifiers who came out of the Final Round.  The group of five will join golfers from the other 41 sections of the PGA Tour in the national championship at the PGA Golf Club's Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla. on October 1st.

Portions of release courtesy of Carolinas' PGA Staff