St. Thomas Men's Golf closed out a memorable month of October on Tuesday by winning the 18-team Golfweek Preview Tournament in Sandestin, Fla.
The unranked Tommies raced into the lead with rounds of 284 and 278 to open the event on Sunday and Monday. They closed out the victory Tuesday by shooting 295. They were able to hold a 6-12 shot cushion through the final round and win by seven shots with a 857 total.
That makes it two 54-hole tourney wins in as many starts this month for the Tommies. They secured a May 2018 NCAA Championships berth with a six-shot victory Oct. 2 at the three-day, 10-team conference tournament.
This also makes it two Golfweek team crowns in three seasons for Coach Scott Proshek's squads. St. Thomas rallied from 16 shots down on the final round here in 2015 to top 17 other teams in that elite field.
This year's Golfweek 18-team tourney field included the Nos. 1-7 ranked teams plus six other schools ranked in the top 25. No. 2-ranked Huntingdon (Ala.) took second place, seven back at 864. No. 4-ranked Illinois Wesleyan closed at 865 for third. No. 17-ranked St. John's tied for sixth.
St. Thomas had nine of its 15 player rounds come in at 72 or better, including four in the 60s. Senior Pete Sienko and sophomore Emmet Herb closed in the top 10 individually in a field of 90 players. Pete Sienko shot 72 and tied for sixth at 211. Herb shot 73 and tied for eighth at 215.
Seniors Shane Sienko, Owen Nowicki and Riley Gannon all finished in the top 35. Nowicki shot 75 Tuesday and closed tied for 20th at 218. Shane Sienko also carded a 75 and tied for 25th at 219. Gannon shot 79 and tied for 32nd at 221.
On Tuesday's final round, St. Thomas lost eight shots to par on hole No. 13 -- its top four recorded a triple, two double dogeys and one bogey. But UST rebounded over the last four holes with five birdies to keep its cushion.
Top 10 Team Scores
St. Thomas 284-278-295/857; Huntingdon (Ala.) 287-285-292/864; Illinois Wesleyan 288-283-294/865; Emory (Ga.) 294-281-297/872; Rhodes (Tenn.) 296-286-292/874; Methodist (N.C.) 291-290-295/876; St. John's 296-288-292/876; Texas-Tyler 293-283-301/877; Concordia-Texas 280-294-305/579; Oglethorpe (Ga.) 291-296-293/580.
The final 18 holes of the 54-hole event will be played Tuesday.
St. Thomas shot six-under 278 on Monday -- tying for the lowest 18-hole tournament round in conference history. It holds a nine stroke lead over Illinois Wesleyan. There are 13 nationally-ranked teams competing, including squads ranked Nos. 1-7 atop the Division III poll.
Through 14 holes on Monday, Pete Sienko was three-under on the day and seven under on the tournament. He close at one-under 72 and is tied for fifth in the field of 90 players at 3-under 139. Riley Gannon (72) and Emmet Herb (70) are tied for 11th.
Nowicki (75-68/143) and Shane Sienko (76-68/144) are also in the top 27.
Nowicki birdied three of his last eight holes in his 68, a career-low competitive round by four strokes. Shane Sienko had six birdies and matched his career-best score. Herb posted 15 pars.
Two years ago en route to a fifth-place national finish, the Tommies erased a 16-stroke deficit on the last day at the Golfweek event and won the team crown by one stroke with a final-day 282. They placed 10th here last season.
UST didn't win any of its first three fall tournaments to start this season. Two weeks ago, it scored a six-stroke win over St. John's to claim the MIAC title and claim the automatic berth into the May 2018 national meet.
St. John's has recorded the lowest MIAC one-round score -- an eight-under-par 276 in a dual meet against Gustavus in April 2007. Three weeks later that Johnnie team won the NCAA championship by eight strokes.
Both St. Thomas (April 2016) and Augsburg (April 2017) shot rounds of 278 in the St. John's spring tournament.
Top 10 Team Leaders
St. Thomas 284-278/562; Illinois Wesleyan 288-283/571; Huntingdon 287-285/572; Concordia-Texas 280-294/574; Emory (Ga.) 294-281;575; Texas-Tyler 293-283/576; Guilford 286-291/577; Methodist (N.C.) 291-290/581; Rhodes (Tenn.) 296-286/582; St. John's 296-288/584
Pete Sienko shot four-under-par 67 and Riley Gannon carded a 70 on Sunday to lead St. Thomas Men's Golf to a second-place showing through day one of the 54-hole Golfweek Preview tourney in Sandestin, Fla.
The unranked Tommies are competing with 14 of the nation's top 23 teams in the three-day competition. The field is led by Nos. 1-7 ranked Texas Tyler, Huntingdon, Emory, Illinois Wesleyan, Methodist, Guilford and Concordia-Texas.
St. Thomas shot even par 284 on the par 71 course and trail Concordia-Texas by four shots. Guilford is two back in third place, and seven other teams are within seven shots of the Tommies.
Sienko shares the lead in the 90-player field with Conner O'Neil of Illinois Wesleyan. Gannon is tied for 10th