DANIELS, W.Va. - - Ryan Rucinski is tied atop the leaderboard after the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Super Regional Tournament on Monday, as the Wilmington University golf team is tied for 11th overall following day one at The Resort at Glade Springs Cobb Course.
The Wildcats shot a 301 as a team, tying with Southern New Hampshire for 11th overall. The Wildcats are 11 strokes off the leaders from St. Thomas Aquinas, and more importantly 10 strokes out of third place in order to advance to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
The Wildcats started on the back nine on Monday afternoon.
Rucinski paced the Wildcats with a 69 (-3) on Monday, sinking five birdies with one eagle and four bogeys in his round. He sank a birdie on the par five 12th but was back to even on a bogey on 13. He went birdie, bogey, birdie on holes 16, 17, and 18, respectively, to make the turn at one-under par. Rucinski got as low as four under on the day, sinking an eagle putt on the par five fifth before backing it up with a birdie on the par four sixth. But a bogey on seven brought him back to three-under where he would finish.
Rucinski currently leads the field in par five scoring, finishing the round five under par on the four par fives, and averaging 3.75 strokes per hole.
Freshman Enrique Valverde finished three over par with a 75 on Monday, sitting in a tie for 39th overall. He birdied the par five 18 and the par five second to get to one over par, but back-to-back bogeys on seven and eight had him finish with a 75.
Senior Joey Russo sank birdie putts on the par five second and par four fourth to get to one over par, but a five hole stretch to end his round hurt the four-year player. He finished with a double bogey, bogey, bogey, par, bogey to come into the clubhouse with a 78 (+6) in the first round. He is in a tie for 74th overall.
Matthew Kettleson also birdied the par five second to get to four-over par on Monday, but a double bogey on four and a bogey on nine made the senior finish with a 79 (+7) for the Wildcats. Kettleson is in a tie for 77th overall after the first round.
Rounding out the Wildcats on the course, Zac Moore sank four birdies, which ranks him tied for sixth in the tournament, but also had nine bogeys and a triple bogey to set him back. A triple bogey on the par four 14th put the senior at four over before he answered with a birdie on the par four 15th. But he came away with three straight bogeys to make the turn and got as high as nine over par before a birdie on the par four ninth hole. He finished with an 80 (+8) to sit in a tie for 84th overall.
St. Thomas Aquinas leads the tournament with a 290 (+2) while West Liberty, Indiana (Pa.), and Franklin Pierce are all in a tie for second with a 291 (+3).
Rucinski is tied with Mercyhurst's Harison Laskey atop the individual leaderboard with a 69 while five student-athletes are tied for third overall with a 70 (-2).
The Wildcats switch to an early tee-off time on Tuesday, with Kettleson leading things off at 8:20 a.m. They will again be paired with West Chester and Roberts Wesleyan.