Chris Russo Carries a Three-Shot Lead Into Final Round of St. Mary's Invitational

SEASIDE, CALIF. - Junior Chris Russo fired rounds of 68-69 on Monday and sits alone atop the the St. Mary's Invitational leaderboard at seven under-par 137. Russo carries a three-stroke lead over Oregon's Daniel Miernicki into Tuesday's final 18 holes.

Russo opened Monday with a round of four under-par 68 and had just one bogey in an otherwise error-free round. He posted five birdies as he was tied for first with Loyola Marymount's Tyler Torano after one round.

In firing a second round three under-par 69, Russo had three bogeys but made it for it with six birdies.

"Chris had a great day today," said head coach Jim Bracken. "He's got a load of talent and has a great demeanor on the course. He handles himself very well never getting too high or too low."

Russo finished second to All-American Nick Delio four times last season and looks to be the team leader in 2011-12.

"Nick was a tough to beat last year," said Bracken. "So now Chris knows he's got to play like Nick did for this team to do well and he set the tone for us today."

Senior Jason Rosenkranz, coming off a redshirt year in 2010-11, carded rounds of 75-72 and is tied for 19th-place at three over-par 147. He was victimized by four bogeys and one double bogey in his first round 75 then had three birdies and three bogeys in round two. Rosenkranz had a total of six birdies in his two rounds on Monday.

"Jason made a few mistakes in the first round and salvaged a 75," said Bracken. "But he's a fifth-year senior and a veteran on this team and showed that by bouncing back with even-par in round two."

Freshman Steven Molumby, playing his first collegiate round, is tied for 54th at (+14) 158 following identical rounds of 79. Sophomore Ryan Green is tied for 70th at (+20) 164 after rounds of 81-83 and redshirt freshman Richard Kim is currently 83rd at (+22) 166 after posting rounds of 88-78.

As a team, the Matadors sit in eighth-place at 601 after team rounds of 303-298. Oregon shot 567 to lead the field after the first day. UAB sits in second-place at 576, while the University of San Francisco is in third-place at 588.

"These courses aren't easy but I'm not worried," said Bracken. "We're right in the thick of things and hopefully we'll move forward not backward tomorrow, that's our goal."

The Matadors, along with the rest of the 15-team field, will return to the course tomorrow, for the tournament's final round. The teams will tee-off at 8 a.m. at Bayonet Golf Course.