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Tim Flynn | | May 24, 2016

Saint Leos defeats Chico State to earn first NCAA title in program history

  Saint Leo wins their first NCAA title in program history.

DENVER – Saint Leo University earned the first national title in school history, defeating Chico State 3-2 in a down-to-the-wire finish at the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship at Green Valley Ranch.

The Lions, who had been so impressive all week with individual medalist Hugo Bernard and a record-setting team pace, clinched the trophy thanks to Griffin Clark’s three-stroke win over Kelley Sullivan in the fifth pairing.

Chico State got on the board first, with Justin Wiles taking advantage of Liam Ainsworth’s bogey on 17 to flip the scoreline and win by two strokes at -1. Saint Leo canceled that out with Ryan Gendron’s seven-stroke victory against Matt Hutchens, but Lee Gearhart erased Joey Savoie’s lead on the back nine to win by three.

Bernard recovered from a slow start to beat Alistair Docherty by seven, and that set up Clark’s three-shot victory in the fifth slot to win as he tapped in for par on 18.

- Saint Leo’s golf title is the first in program history, but may not be the last – their men’s tennis team was scheduled to take on Hawaii Pacific later in the day in their D-II final in Denver.
- Saint Leo was appearing in only its second NCAA Championships, and was third a year ago.
- It was the sixth year of the medal match-play team championship format. Saint Leo is the third different Florida team to win it, along with Nova Southeastern (2012, 2015) and Barry (2013, 2014).

“We got off to a good start and that makes it easier on the coach and the players … It’s pretty amazing. To be the first in school history is unbelievable.” – Saint Leo head coach Chris Greenwood

“We got through the first round, then got our biggest rival Lynn, which was almost a preview of today. It feels great to get it done – that was the goal the whole year. It feels good.” – Saint Leo junior Joey Savoie

NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships – Team Final
[1] Saint Leo 3, [2] Chico State 2
Justin Wiles (Chico State) def. Liam Ainsworth (Saint Leo), -1
Ryan Gendron (Saint Leo) def. Matt Hutchins (Chico State), -7
Lee Gearhart (Chico State) def. Joey Savoie (Saint Leo), -3
Hugo Bernard (Saint Leo) def. Alistair Docherty (Chico State), -7
Griffin Clark (Saint Leo) def. Kelley Sullivan (Chico State), -3