By Josh Veltrie
Stellar play from Rider graduate student Eric LeFante led the Broncs to a fifth-place finish at the 21st annual Leo Keenan Invitational, hosted by St. Bonaventure on Sunday and Monday.
LeFante placed first of 72 golfers with a two-day total of 138 on the par-70, 6,308-yard Bartlett Country Club course. It was the second collegiate win of his career as he also was first in the Peacock Invitational in April 2008.
“It felt great to win,” LeFante said. “The greens were very tough and it was a fairly strong field so it felt good to come out on top.”
After shooting an even par 70 on the first day and being two shots back, LeFante shot a 68, which included his third eagle this season, on Monday to come in first.
“I felt like I minimized some mistakes on Monday and made a couple more putts which turned out to be the difference,” LeFante said.
Sophomore Brent Wolgast placed 14th, shooting a 75 on the first day and a 74 on the second for his total of 149. Fellow sophomore Brian Accorsini, who finished fifth last year in this event, placed 19th overall with a two-day total of 151.
“We could have played better overall but the end result really wasn’t that bad,” Wolgast said. “Eric has really been playing well over the summer and did great at the Rutgers Invitational. As the captain, we know we can rely on him to have a solid performance every time.”
As a team, the Broncs shot 596, breaking the 300 mark on both days with a 297 on Sunday and following that up with a 299.
“A couple months ago I was expecting to be working right now,” LeFante said. “All of my friends right now are working, so being able to still play golf is a complete bonus for me.”
Both LeFante and Wolgast agreed that a lot of strokes were left on the greens, as the team did not putt as well as it hoped. But the Broncs’ fifth place was good enough to beat out MAAC rivals Siena and Niagara, as they shot a 606 and 607, respectively.
“It’s always a big confidence boost when you’re able to beat some conference rivals,” Wolgast said. “We are always very competitive with Siena and, although we could have played better, I’m sure they could say the same.”
Also for the Broncs, sophomore Chris Wolak finished 47th with a 158 overall, an 80 on the first day and a 78 on the second. Junior Kevin Krecicki shot an 80 on Sunday and followed it up with an 82, giving him a 162 overall and 58th place.
Rider seems to play this course well, as last year the team had a fourth place finish. This weekend the Broncs travel to New York State to compete in the Ithaca Invitational.
“We need to take it one shot at a time this weekend and just play solid to try and pull out a win,” Wolgast said.