NEWARK, Del. - - In order to claim their ninth straight Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship, the Wilmington University golf team needs to make a second round comeback after shooting a 309 (+29) on Monday and sit in fifth place at the Deerfield Golf Club.
The Wildcats trail four teams, with the first round leaders from Dominican sitting at 298 (+18), four strokes ahead of Felician's 302 (+22). Post is third with a 304 (+24) while Concordia is just ahead of Wilmington with a 307 (+27).
Senior Ryan Rucinski led the Wildcats on Monday with a 74 (+4), sitting in a tie for fifth overall. Rucinski birdied the par four seventh to get to one-over par, but made the turn with a 37 (+2). A double-bogey, bogey on 15 and 16 put the senior up to five-over, but Rucinski birdied the par four 18th to finish his day with a 74.
Junior Braden McKay birdied the par four third and par four 18th, but six bogeys and two double bogeys set him back to a 78 (+8) for the round. Newcomer Arvy Shongwe birdied the par three 11th to get to six-over par, but a double bogey on 16 pushed his first round score out to a 78 (+8) as well. McKay and Shongwe are tied for 18th overall after the first round.
Junior Matthew Kettleson rounded out the Wildcats' score with a 79 (+9) on Monday, sinking birdie putts on the par four sixth and the par three 11th. But seven bogeys and two double bogeys on the front nine put Kettles into a tie for 23rd overall after the first day.
Junior Jack Dixon rounded out the Wildcats on the course on Monday, shooting an 80 (+10). He had two birdies on the back nine, sinking putts on the par five 10th and par four 13th to get to five-over par, but a bogey, triple-bogey, bogey stretch on the next three holes pushed the juniors score out to an 80. He is in a tie for 26th overall after the first round.
Dixon is tied for the tournament lead on par five scoring, going one-under on the two par fives. McKay and Rucinski rank tied for second in the same category by going even on the two holes. Rucinski is tied for fourth overall with 11 pars on the afternoon.
Dominican's Danny Parker leads the field with a 70 (E) on Monday, sitting atop the leaderboard by one stroke. Chestnut Hill's Jakob Lemieux and Felician's Jake Storako are tied for second overall with a 71 (+1).
Sitting in fifth place, the Wildcats will begin Tuesday's second round from the first hole at 9:20 a.m.