CHAMPIONSGATE, Fla. - Behind a second place finish by junior Joseph Serrantino (Cromwell, Conn.), the Sacred Heart University men's golf team won its third Northeast Conference Championship in four years. The Pioneers led after each of the first two rounds and closed out the three day competition with their highest score of the tournament, 306, to finish with a combined 888.
SHU took home the title in head coach Matt McGreevy's first season at the helm by 22 strokes over second place Robert Morris (910) at the par-72, 6,937-yard International Course at ChampionsGate Golf Club. Sacred Heart won back-to-back conference titles in 2008 and 2009, while finishing just one stroke back of Saint Francis (PA) in 2010.
"The team worked really hard in the offseason," stated McGreevy, who was named the NEC Coach of the Year. "It was good to see things come together with three solid rounds and come out on top."
Serrantino, who shot a three-under 69 on Saturday, shot an even-par 72 to shoot up to second on the individual leaderboard. He shot a 35 on the front nine and a 37 on the back, combining for four birdies on the day to claim second with a 217 (76-69-72).
Placing second for the Pioneers and tied for fourth overall, junior Leopoldo Garcia (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) carded his highest score of the weekend, 78, after tying Serrantino with a field-best 69 the day before. For the tournament, he shot a cumulative 220 (73-69-78). By finishing in the top 10, Garcia and Serrantino each earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
Sophomore Joshua Salah (Gloucester, Mass.), the tournament leader after day one, tied for 13th in the field with a 78 on the final 18 holes to lift his weekend total to 226 (71-77-78). Junior Jun Hardart (Warwick, Bermuda) concluded the scoring for SHU on the final day with a 78 of his own to push his total to 228 (78-72-78) and stake the 15th slot on the leaderboard.
Senior David Renski (North Stonington, Conn.), the two-time NEC Golfer of the Week, tied for 16th overall with a 79 in the final round to finish at 231 (75-77-79).
Despite finishing in second place, RMU's C.G. Mercatoris took hom e the individual title with a 215 after shooting below par in each of the first two rounds and capping off the competition with a two-over 74 in the final round. Mount St. Mary's placed third as a team at 914, while preseason favorite Central Connecticut posted the most consistent scores of the field to take fourth at 915.
1. Sacred Heart - 295, 287, 306 - 888
2. Robert Morris - 297, 302, 311 - 910
3. Mount St. Mary's - 305, 297, 312 - 914
4. Central Connecticut - 306, 305, 304 - 915
5. Saint Francis (PA) - 306, 295, 316 - 917
6. Fairleigh Dickinson - 315, 307, 297 - 919
7. Monmouth - 305, 304, 312 - 921
8. Long Island - 306, 303, 314 - 923
9. Wagner - 314, 318, 331 - 963
10. St. Francis (NY) - 339, 342, 338 - 1,019