Wilmington Golf Team Posts Eighth Place Finish at GolfRank Invite

Copyright 2017; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Enrique Valverde who led the Wildcats with a 70 (-2) on Tuesday at the GolfRank Invite.
Copyright 2017; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Enrique Valverde who led the Wildcats with a 70 (-2) on Tuesday at the GolfRank Invite.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - - Another sub-300 round highlighted the Wilmington University golf team's stay at the GolfRank Invitational on Tuesday, posting a 297 in the third round to finish eighth overall in the tournament hosted by Nova Southeastern.

The tournament scores for the Wildcats were 306-392-397 for a two-day total of 895 (+31). They finished directly behind nationally 10th ranked Saint Leo while defeating nationally fourth ranked Barry.

The top ranked team in the country, West Florida (according to the latest Bushnell GolfWeek Division II Coaches Poll), won the invite going away, posting an 845 (-19) to tie the tournament record for lowest three-round score. They defeated sixth ranked Florida Tech by 15 strokes.

Senior Joey Russo led the Wildcats in the three-round, two-day event, finishing tied for 20th overall. He shot a 71 (-1) on Tuesday to finish with a three-round score of 78-71-71 (220, +4). Russo, starting on the ninth hole, sank a birdie to start his day off on the right foot. He then birdied holes 15 and 18 to sit at two-under par through 10 holes. A bogey on one set him back but he answered with a birdie on the par four fourth to get back to two under par for the day. But his day didn't end as good as it started, and he bogeyed the par four eighth to close out his round with a 71 (-1).

Freshman Enrique Valverde led the Wildcats on Tuesday, sinking five birdies on the morning to finish with a team low 70 (-2). Starting on the 10th hole, he also birdied his attempt, backing it up with another birdie on 11. He birdied once more on 15 to make the turn with a 34 (-2). He started the front nine hot, sinking back-to-back birdies on one and two to get to four under par. But back-to-back bogeys on seven and eight brought Valverde back o 70 (-2) for the day. He finished tied for 25th overall with a 221 (+5), shooting rounds of 75-76-70 for the week.

Junior Ryan Rucinski had two birdies through his first five holes, but was hurt by a double bogey on the par four 13th. Two more bogeys on 15 and 16 allowed him to make the turn at two-over par. The front nine was smoother for Rucinski, but a bogey on his final hole of the day put the junior at a 76 (+4) for the day. He finished in a tie for 33rd overall, shooting a 226 (+10) for the tournament with rounds of 77-73-76.

Senior Zac Moore's final eight holes didn't go as planned on Tuesday. After birdieing two of the first five holes to remain even, Moore had two double bogeys and five bogeys the rest of the round to finish with an 80 (+8). His score on Tuesday was needed to round out the Wildcats' scoring as Braden McKay withdrew from the invite prior to Tuesday's round. Moore finished in a tie for 43rd overall for the invite, shooting a 77-72-80 for a 229 (+13).

Freshman Sergio Ronchel bounced back in the third round on Tuesday, posting a 76 while playing as an individual. He finished 60th overall by posting scores of 76-81-76 for a 233 (+17) for his first tournament as a Wildcat. Ronchel sank the Wildcats' lone eagle for the week, posting a three on the par five sixth on Tuesday.

Also playing as an individual, Matthew Kettleson placed 70th overall with scores of 84-87-86 for a 257 (+41).

West Florida had the top three individuals on the leaderboard as well, all finishing 54 holes with a 210 (-6). Jacob Huizinga birdied the par three 15th to win the playoff and earn medalist honors.

The Wildcats head west for their next three tournaments, starting with the Otter Fall Invitational hosted by CSU Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif., on Monday October 16.