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Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Joey Russo teeing off on hole 12 in the second round of the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Super Region, taken by Erin Harvey.
BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. - - A 21-stroke improvement from the Wilmington University golf team's first and second round scores has the Wildcats in contention at the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Super Regional Tournament, shooting a 289 on Tuesday to sit in third place overall.
The 289 was the second best score of the day, as the Wildcats moved to within three strokes of St. Thomas Aquinas, but Southern New Hampshire's 285 on Tuesday has shot the Penmen up nine positions and into second place. The Wildcats have shot 310-289 for a two-round score of 599 (+23).
Starting on the back nine on Tuesday, Russo did the bulk of his damage in his first nine holes of the day. He birdied 10, 12, and 15 to sit as low as three-under. But a double bogey on 18 only allowed him to make the turn with a 35 (-1). After giving another stroke back, the sophomore eagled the par five second to get back to two-under par. Russo then finished strong as well, hitting a birdie on seven, double bogeying eight, but bouncing back with a birdie on nine for the 71 (-1).
Rucinski was even after his first nine holes on the back nine, hitting two birdies and two bogeys. The freshman then hit three straight birdies, sinking putts on holes one, two, and three to get to three-under par. A double bogey on six pulled him back to one-under before another birdie on seven. But Rucinski finished with a bogey on eight and a par on nine, narrowly missing a birdie putt off the fringe, to finish with his 71 (-1).
Junior Sam Clark started out hot for the Wildcats, hitting an eagle on 11 before sinking a birdie putt on 18 to make the turn with a 34 (-2). Clark also went as low as three-under with another birdie on three, but back-to-back bogeys brought the junior back to one-under par through hole four. Four straight pars had Clark at one-under before a double bogey on nine put the junior in the black with a 73 (+1).
Senior Andreas Lunding rounded out the team scoring on Tuesday with a 74 (+2). He got out of the gate red hot, getting to three-under par in his first four holes of the day. He birdied 10, 11, and 13 before bogeying 15 to make the turn at 34 (-2). A triple bogey on one set the senior back but birdies on four and seven get him to within even par. Lunding bogeyed the eighth hole before hitting a par putt on nine to finish with his 74 (+2).
Junior Miguel Siercke rounded out the Wildcats with a 78 (+6) on Tuesday. He opened with four straight pars, but finished the back nine with bogeys on four of the final five holes. Two more bogeys on four and six put him at six-over before Siercke got in the red with a birdie on seven. HE finished with a bogey on eight before hitting a par on nine for his 78 (+6).
Russo is tied for fourth overall after two rounds with a 73-71, for a 144 (E). Lunding is tied for 12 overall with a 75-74, for a 149 (+5). Clark and Rucinski are tied for 50th overall after two rounds at 12-over par while Siercke is tied for 57th overall with a 157 (+13).
St. Thomas Aquinas' Christopher Gentle shot a remarkable 64 on Tuesday to jump from 24th to atop the leaderboard after two rounds. He is alone in first with a 141 (-3). Le Moyne's John Clare is second after shooting a 70 on Tuesday, one stroke off of Gentle. Southern New Hampshire's Jake Nutter is two shots off the lead in third place after a 68 on Tuesday.
In order to beat the incoming weather pattern coming to the Syracuse area in the afternoon on Wednesday, the third round of the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Super Regional will be a shotgun start.
The Wildcats will be paired with St. Thomas Aquinas, Southern New Hampshire, and Le Moyne for the third round. The shotgun start will begin at 8:00 a.m. with the foursome teeing off on holes one, two, and three.