DALE CITY, Fla. - - The Wilmington University golf team finished the Saint Leo Invitational with its best round of the tournament, shooting a 300 in the third round on Tuesday at the Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club. The Wildcats finished 12th overall with a 924 (+60).
Senior Ryan Rucinski jumped up six spots on Tuesday with a 70 (-2), finishing in a tie for 10th overall at the tournament. He shot a 71-75-70 for a 216 (E).
Rucinski again played the par five holes exceptionally well on Tuesday, finishing four under for the day on the long holes, including another eagle. He finished second in the tournament in par five scoring, taking nine strokes off his score through the course of three rounds. He averaged 4.25 strokes on the par five holes.
Starting on the back nine, Rucinski birdied the first par five he saw, the par five 11th. After a bogey on 12, he came back and eagled the par-five 13th for the second time in three rounds. On that hole alone, Rucinski was five under par in three rounds. He also birdied the par four 18th to make his turn at three-under par on Tuesday.
The front nine wasn't as kind to Rucinski, as he bogeyed holes one, four, and six, to get back to even par on the day. But the senior finished strong, sinking birdies on the par four fourth and par five ninth to finish his day with a 70 (-2).
Enrique Valverde moved up 11 spots on the leaderboard on Tuesday, shooting a 72 (E) in the third round. He finished the tournament in a tie for 30th overall, posting scores of 73-79-72 for a 224 (+8). On Tuesday, he birdied the par five 11th and par three 14th, making the turn at one under par. He got back to one under with a birdie on the par four third, but a bogey on the par four sixth brought his round back to even, as he sank par putts on the final three holes.
Jack Dixon finished 68th overall with rounds of 80-86-77 for a 243 (+27), followed by Arvy Shongwe in 69th place with rounds of 80-83-82 for a 245 (+29). Braden McKay rounded out the Wildcats on the course and finished 71st overall with rounds of 90-83-81 for a 254 (+38).
Keiser University won the Saint Leo Invitational by three strokes, finishing with rounds of 281-287-289 for an 857 (-7). No. 16 Nova Southeastern finished second with a team score of 860 (-4).
Individually, Nova Southeastern's Juan Jose Guerra, ranked 17th in the country, won the tournament by two strokes, turning in scores of 71-64-72 for a 207 (-9). Saint Leo's Alberto Castagnara and Valdosta State's Matt Anderson tied for second overall with a 209 (-7).
The Wildcats have nearly a month off before returning to the course when they head to the Maryland Beaches to compete in the Dominican College Challenge on Monday, March 25. They will compete at the Ocean City Golf Club-Newport Bay in Berlin, Maryland.