VIERA, Fla. – On the final day of the 2017 Sunshine State Conference Men's Golf Championships, the Saint Leo men's golf team pressured the eventual champions – Barry – all morning as the Lions closed the gap to one stroke at the turn. Saint Leo finished off the tournament at Duran Golf Club Tuesday with a final round 282 (-6) for a team total 856 (-8) to take second place at the SSC Championships.
After closing the gap to one stroke at the turn, the back nine started hurting the Lions as they came into the clubhouse with an overall eight-under watching Barry and Florida Tech play for the top two spots. The Buccaneers dropped a few strokes on their last few holes but held on for the six-stroke victory as the Panthers fell to third place after two bogeys and a double-bogey had to be counted down the stretch.
Saint Leo turned in the best score for the final round with a six-under 282. The Lions' 282 was the lowest round in the past 11 years by any Saint Leo men's golf team at the SSC Championships while the team total of 856 (-8) was the lowest team total in the past 11 years as well.
Barry ran away with the team title after the Lions stopped threatening on the back nine to go on for the six-stroke victory led by 2017 SSC Individual Champion Kyle Brey. The Buccaneers finished at 850 (-14) after rounds of 280-286-284. Brey put the Buccaneers on his back for the tournament as he shot a 12-under for the tournament and a six-under 66 for the final round.
"I am proud of the guys, they played really well," Head Coach Chris Greenwood stated after the 2017 SSC Championships. "We made a nice run at it this week, especially today. It was definitely fun to watch."
Team leader from wire-to-wire, Riley Goss tied for the team best after teammate Simon Knutsson came on strong in the final round. Goss and Knutsson tied for seventh place after Knutsson shot a 68 (-4) Tuesday morning. Knutsson's 68 was the lowest score turned in for the Lions at the 2017 championships, one stroke better than Goss's first round 69. Goss shot an even-par 72 as the duo finished with a 215 (-1).
Casey Bannon was Mr. Consistency when it came to the final number on the card. Bannon fired off a final round even-par 72 to go along with his first and second round 72's. Bannon, who tied for 10th, finished the tournament with a 216 (E).
Ryan Gendron, the Lions lone four-time golfer at the SSC Championships, finished at one-over, 217, after a final round two-under 70. Gendron added his final 70 to his first round 77 and second round 70 to end the championship event in 14th. Gendron found a solution to his problems on the front nine as he fired off a four-under 32 on the front side. Gendron shot a five over (41) on the first day of action with an even 72 Monday before knocking down five birdies Tuesday on the front nine to stand at four-under at the turn.
After finishing in 14th, Ryan Gendron turned in his fourth top 25 performance at the SSC Championships while it is his third time inside the top 15. Casey Bannon, in his second SSC appearance, finished the highest out of his two appearances with a 216 and 10th place finish, besting his 33rd place finish in 2015 (232).
Colin Warren started the day out in 20th but fell 15 places to finish tied for 38th after carding a 10-over 82 for the final round. Warren added the final card to his first two rounds, 70-75, to end the tournament at 11-over 227.
Saint Leo men's golf will await the selection show on Friday, April 28 to see their fate for the NCAA Regional. If selected to participate, the Lions will travel to Muscle Shoals, Ala. on May 8-10 to play in the South/Southeast Regional at the RTJ- The Fighting Joe Golf Club.
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