CHAMPIONSGATE, Fla. – After the first round of play at the Northeast Conference Men's Golf Championship, Sacred Heart stands in first place with a team score of 295 as they take aim at a third conference title in four years. The Pioneers, winners of the 2008 and 2009 NEC Championship and 2010 runner-up, were led by sophomore Joshua Salah (Gloucester, Mass.) who is tied at the top of the leaderboard with a one-under 71 at the par-72, 6,937-yard International Course at ChampionsGate Golf Club..
Salah shot a 34 on the front nine and 37 on the back. For the day he shot five birdies, including three on the first half. He his tied for the individual lead with Robert Morris' C.G. Mercatoris, whose Colonials sit just two strokes back of SHU at 297.
Junior Leopoldo Garcia (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) finished second for the Pioneers on the day with a one-over 73 to claim a tie for fourth. He opened the day by shooting par on each of the first eight holes before bogeying the ninth and following it up with a 36 on the back half, including a pair of birdies.
Senior David Renski (North Stonington, Conn.) and junior Joseph Serrantino (Cromwell, Conn.) rounded out the scoring for Sacred Heart with a 75 and 76, respectively. Renski started off with a 36, followed by a 39, while Serrantino booked a 42 on the front and came back with a 34 on the back.
Junior Jun Hardart (Warwick, Bermuda) also competed for the Pioneers and shot a 78 (40-38) for the round.
Behind Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's and Monmouth sit in a tie for third at 305, while tournament favorite Central Connecticut is currently tied for fifth with Saint Francis (PA) and Long Island with a first round score of 306.
Round two gets underway Saturday morning at 7:30 am. The first Pioneer hits the links at 8:20 when Hardart tees off with Max Cahn (RMU) and Joey Amelia (SFPA).
For live updates follow the NEC Golf Championship on twitter @necmgolf.
1. Sacred Heart (295)
2. Robert Morris (297)
T-3. Mount St. Mary's (305)
T-3. Monmouth (305)
T-5. Saint Francis-PA (306)
T-5. Long Island (306)
T-5. Central Connecticut (306)
8. Wagner (314)
9. Fairleigh Dickinson (315)
10. St. Francis-NY (339)