March 16, 2012
Siena golf opened the 2012 season Friday with first round play at the second annual Homewood Suites Siena Invitational in Port St. Lucie, Fla. After 18 holes, the men sit seventh, the women rank fifth, and Siena's Jess Esposito leads the men's side by two shots with one round left to play.
Despite a picturesque day in the Sunshine State, with temperatures of 80 degrees accompanied by abundant sunshine, conditions were brutally tough at PGA Village. Esposito fired the lone even-par round of the day for the men, a 72 that puts him two strokes ahead of seven players who carded rounds of 74.
"I think it's all about the work I did in the offseason," Esposito said. "I put a lot of work into my swing, and I think it showed today."
"I think we shook off a little rust on day one," said men's head coach Tom Wronowski. "Hopefully Jess can have another solid round tomorrow, and we can improve off today's round as a team."
Meanwhile, the women were led by Cortney Tilley, whose 81 puts her tied for 12th entering the final day of competition. Julie Juchno and Kylie Strijek are part of a five-way tie for 14th after shooting rounds of 82, while Mary Fletcher and Victoria Nguyen posted matching 84's and are tied for 23rd. They're all chasing Indianapolis's Jenny Konop, who fired a masterful 71 in round one and will sleep on a two-shot lead.
The Long Island men will look for their second consecutive Siena Invitational title tomorrow after playing their way to a nine-shot lead over Rhode Island. Meanwhile, Seton Hall holds a commanding 18-shot lead over Rutgers on the women's side. Gender aside, though, the feedback on the second annual Siena Invitational has been very positive.
"We have a number of teams that have come down for the second year in a row," Wronowski said. "Everyone's enjoyed it, and PGA Village has done a great job with it. They know what to do and when to do it, and it makes all of our jobs a lot easier."
Play resumes on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.