LEWISBURG, Pa. -- After a day filled with some outstanding golf, the Bucknell men's squad fell one stroke short and finished second to Wayne State at the Bucknell Invitational. Led by a 3-under-par 67 from J.P. Raftery, the Bison closed with a 1-over 281 team score, the best in the field all weekend.
Bucknell began Sunday's final round tied for third place, six shots in back of Wayne State. But the Bison caught up to the Warriors midway through the round, setting up a terrific finish that came right down to the final holes. Buoyed by a bogey-free 67 from medalist Brendan Seys, the Warriors prevailed by just the single stroke, winning for the second straight week and for the third time this fall. Wayne State totaled 571 over 36 holes (285-286), while the Bison finished with 572 (291-281). Fordham finished third at 575, followed by Saint Francis (Pa.) at 578.
All told, five teams in the 17-team field shot in the 280s and 12 players shot even-par or better on Sunday in warm conditions with greens that were softened by some overnight rain.
Three Bison finished the tournament in the top 10 and four placed in the top 12. Raftery followed up his opening-round 75 with a terrific 67, consisting of five birdies and just two bogeys. The 67 matches his career best, while the 3-under total was one shy of his 4-under 67 at the 2016 Patriot League Championship at Navy. Raftery tied for sixth place at 2-over 142.
Connor O'Brien carded a 70 and Jubal Early a 71, and both finished tied for eighth place at 143 total. O'Brien got out to a great start with birdies at 1 and 3, and he finished with three birdies to offset three bogeys. Early was also solid, making two birdies and three bogeys to finish at +1.
Peter Bradbeer and Chris Tanabe both finished with 73s. Bradbeer, who placed T-12th with a 144 total, was strong down the stretch with birdies at 15 and 17 to get back to 3-over for the day. Tanabe finished T-29th at 149.
Bucknell's five-man group combined for 13 birdies, 61 pars, 15 bogeys and just one double-bogey on the day. This was the fifth time the team has finished second in its annual fall tournament, to go along with seven wins.
It was quite a day for Austin Renz of Saint Francis. The native of nearby Danville shot a 4-under 66, including an ace at the par-3 fourth hole. Renz tied Seys with a 5-under 135 after 36 holes, but Seys captured the individual title with a par on the second playoff hole. James Mongey of Fordham (-3), Crawford MacKinlay of Wayne State (-1), and Mike Vance of Humber (E) rounded out the top five.
Bucknell's 281 was tied for the fourth-best score in team history, and the 572 total was tied for the fifth-best 36-hole mark.
Bucknell closes out the fall season in two weeks at the Lehigh Invitational at Saucon Valley CC. The Bison are the two-time defending champions at the event.