BELLPORT, N.Y. – The Felician University men's golf team placed all five of its entrants among the top half of the field, including top-10 finishes for freshman Gonzalo Maldonado Felices (Almeria, Spain/Stella Maris) and junior Jake Storako (Laurel Springs, N.J./Highland Regional), at the St. Joseph's (Long Island) College Spring Shootout on Saturday and Sunday at Bellport Country Club.
Nine teams entered the tournament, representing the NJCAA as well as Divisions II and III of the NCAA. Felician head coach Ben DiNallo Jr. placed his team in the event primarily to celebrate the career of the Golden Falcons' lone senior, Justin Keiser (Bellport, N.Y./Bellport). Bellport Country Club is Keiser's home course, and his teammates and DiNallo held a brief ceremony to honor him after Saturday's round.
The Golden Falcons finished in second place both overall and among the four Division II teams in attendance. It was their best team result since ending last season by winning the Jefferson Classic.
The par-71 course laid out at 6,329 yards. Led by Storako's 77, Felician posted a team score of 321 on Saturday and sat in third place, nine strokes behind Dominican (N.Y.) College but only one back of American International College.
On Sunday, the Golden Falcons passed AIC and kept the rest of the field at bay with a 312. Felices put together a round of 75, and junior Christian Lauchaire (Annandale, N.J./North Hunterdon) shot 79.
Dominican, the No. 3-ranked team in the Division II East Region according to GolfStat.com, easily won the tournament with 312-303--615 (+47). Felician finished in the runner-up spot with 321-312--633, followed by the Yellow Jackets at 320-320--640. The host Golden Eagles were the top non-Division-II team, carding 324-331--655.
Individually, Dominican junior Bryce Tickner claimed medalist honors with an eight-over-par total of 76-74--150. His 74 on Sunday was the lowest round of the tournament. He defeated teammate Hunter Westcott (77-75--152) by two strokes). Among a pair of players tying for third was Felices, who signed for 80-75--155. Felices climbed seven slots in the standings with his Sunday 75.
Storako (77-81--158) tied for sixth place, and Lauchaire (81-79--160) was among five players in 11th. Felician junior Prince Sukklabsawan (Si Racha, Thailand/Heritage Academy [S.C.]) vaulted 13 places day-to-day with his weekend of 89-77--166 and tied for 19th, and Keiser shot 83-84--167 and finished 22nd out of the 46 entrants.
Felician has a quick turnaround, heading to Syracuse, N.Y., for the Mike Bello Spring Invitational, hosted by Le Moyne College, on April 11-12.