Chris Russo Fires Final Round 70 to Claim St. Mary's Invitational Title

SEASIDE, Calif. - Junior Chris Russo held off the charge of a pair of Oregon players to win his first collegiate title Tuesday afternoon at the St. Mary's Invitational.

Rounds of 68-69 on Monday gave Russo a three-stroke lead heading into the final round. His two-under par 70 on the Bayonet Course Tuesday held off the challenge of Rak Cho and Daniel Miernicki who finished two and three shots behind Russo respectively.

The win is the first collegiate indvididual title for Russo, a junior from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His best finish to date was a fifth-place finish at the Santa Clara Cabo Collegiate in 2010.

"It was pretty great to get that first win," said Russo. "I played well, hit it solid and putted well the entire tournament. The course was tough but I didn't find myself in trouble all that often."

Russo, who now has four career top-10 finishes, led the field of 83 players with 17 birdies over three rounds.

As a team, the Matadors dropped two spots into a tie for 10th-place at 915. CSUN posted team rounds of 303-298 on Monday but struggled to a round of 314 on Tuesday. Oregon won the team title with a total of 853 while UAB (866) was second, St. Mary's (881) third, San Francisco (889) fourth and Xavier (892) fifth in the 15-team field.

Senior Jason Rosenkranz, who was tied for 19th after two rounds on Monday, dropped all the way into a tie for 51st after a final round (+12) 84. Rosenkranz finished his first tournament in over a year with rounds of 75-72-84 to finish at (+15) 231.

Freshman Steven Molumby, playing his first collegiate tournament, finished tied for 71st at (+23) 239 following rounds of 79-79-81, sophomore Ryan Green finished 79th at (+28) 244 after posting rounds of 81-83-80 and Richard Kim, also competing in his first tournament, placed 81st at (+249) following scores of 88-78-83.

"I was disappointed in how we finished the tournament," said head coach Jim Bracken. "We just didn't play well as a team today. I think we have plenty to work on before our next tournament at Cal Poly."

Cal State Northridge will return to action Oct. 2-3 at the Cal Poly Firestone Grill Invitational at Monarch Dunes G.C. in Nipomo, Calif.

Bayonet G.C. & Blackhorse G.C.
Sept. 19-20, 2011

1. Oregon 286-281-286--853
2. UAB 294-282-290--866
2. St. Mary's 296-293-292--881
4. San Francisco 296-292-301--889
5. Xavier 297-300-295--893
6. Loyola Marymount 300-294-299--893
7. Nevada 306-289-302--897
8. UC Irvine 318-292-302--912
9. Hawaii 313-293-308--914
10. Northridge 303-298-314--915

1. Chris Russo, Northridge 68-69-70--207 (-9)
2. Rak Cho, Oregon 74-68-67--209 (-7)
3. Daniel Miernicki, Oregon 72-68-70--210 (-6)
4. Tyler Torano, LMU 68-77-70--215 (-1)
5. Sebastian MacLean, Xavier 70-74-72--216 (E)
5. Thomas Sutton, UAB 75-68-73--216 (E)
7. Alex Bungert, St. Mary's 74-70-73--217 (+1)
7. Taylor Travis, San Francisco 71-71-75--217 (+1)
7. Eugene Wong, Oregon 71-73-73--217 (+1)
10. Paul Dunne, UAB 76-70-72--218 (+2)
10. Kevin Lucas, Nevada 77-72-69--218 (+2)
10. Jonathan De Los Reyes, St. Mary's 74-70-74--218 (+2)

T10. Northridge 303-298-314--915
1. Chris Russo 68-69-70--207 (-9)
T51. Jason Rosenkranz 75-72-84--231 (+15)
T71. Steven Molumby 79-79-81--239 (+23)
79. Ryan Green 81-83-80--244 (+28)
81. Richard Kim 88-78-83--249 (+33)


Photo Caption: Chris Russo accepts his individual champion trophy from St. Mary's head coach Scott Hardy. (Photo Credit: Jim Bracken)