Saint Peter's erased a seven-stroke deficit entering the Final Round to rally past Siena Men's Golf and win the 2017 MAAC Championship at Disney's Magnolia Golf Couse in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Additionally, the Peacocks' Mike Winter carded a -1 on Championship Sunday to overcome Siena freshman Jake Holt and capture the individual title.
"Saint Peter's came to play today," said head coach Steven Jensen. "We knew it was going to come down to the final pairing of us, Saint Peter's and Manhattan. Saint Peter's probably had one of their better rounds of the season. All four players posted good scores, and they made some great putts down the stretch to win it."
The defending MAAC Champions, Siena led following each of the first two rounds, and held a seven-stroke advantage over Saint Peter's entering the final day. But the Peacocks shot the low round of the tournament at 295 on Sunday to secure the program's third title in four years.
Meanwhile the Saints carded just the seventh best team score Sunday in the nine-team field. Siena shot a Final Round score of 305 in finishing second overall for the tournament, three strokes behind Saint Peter's. Manhattan came in third for the weekend in finishing eight strokes off the pace, while Monmouth and Rider tied for fourth at 10 back.
"We didn't want to look at it as a seven-shot lead," explained Jensen. "We just wanted to look at it as one day and just try to come out and have the best score, but unfortunately that didn't happen."
Individually, Holt also saw his two-round lead evaporate as Winter rallied back from a four-stroke deficit entering Sunday to win the individual title. The 2017 McLeod Trophy recipient and Most Outstanding Men's Golfer carded six birdies in shooting a Final Round score of 71 to best Holt by just one stroke for the tournament.
Holt shot a Final Round score of 76 which included three birdies to finish second overall at his first conference championships, as the Saints' standout freshman was heralded as the 2017 MAAC Rookie of the Year.
"That's why I recruited Jake," noted Jensen. "We're going to keep building this team for the future, and he's going to be a major part of that both individually and in helping us in our pursuit of MAAC Championships."
After finishing tied for seventh at last year's MAAC Championships, Michael Christifulli recorded his second straight Top-10 finish. The junior tied for fifth overall in finishing just five strokes off the pace, following a Final Round score of 79. Sophomore Jack Downey also had a strong Sunday, carding four birdies over a five-hole stretch to tie senior Scott Kim for the Saints' best individual Final Round score at 75.
Following the tournament, Kim and sophomore Jack Bellardini were officially named MAAC All-Academic Team selections. To be eligible, a student athlete must possess a 3.20 cumulative grade point average or better, while also having completed at least two semesters at their institution.
"We had some great highlights this year," reflected Jensen. "We just need to improve our consistency so that we are able to stay in the hunt in each and every tournament."