Mercatoris claims NEC golf title
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
NEC CHAMPION Ñ Robert Morris senior C.G. Mercatoris studies a putt during a round last fall. Mercatoris won the Northeast Conference title last weekend in Florida, advancing him to the NCAA Division I Regionals May 19-21. (Robert Morris University, Photo by Jason Cohn)
Brookville's C.G. Mercatoris is wrapping up his college days at Robert Morris University.
Monday, he had to move out of his apartment. This weekend, the award-winning student-athlete will graduate with a degree in Finance.
However, Mercatoris won't conclude his collegiate golf career in at least a couple of weeks.
Last weekend at ChampionsGate Golf Club near Orlando, Fla., Mercatoris shot a 1-under-par 215 to win the three-round Northeast Conference Golf Championship.
Mercatoris, a runner-up last year, beat Sacred Heart junior Joseph Serrantino by two strokes. He'll now head to the NCAA Division I Super Regional round May 19-21 at a site and time to be announced next week.
There are six regional sites that will qualify golfers for the NCAA Championships May 31-June 5 at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla.
"I played pretty well," Mercatoris said Monday. "The course fit my style and the more I played down south, the more I got used to the Bermuda greens and the rough.
"I really just kept it in play and didn't miss a whole lot of shots and when I did put it in places where you can score. I made putts."
Mercatoris shot a 1-under 71 to share the first-round lead and his 2-under 70 in the second round gave him a one-stroke lead over Sacred Heart's Leo Garcia going into the final round.
But while Mercatoris shot a 2-over 74 the final round, Garcia shot a 78 and fell into a fourth-place tie. Serrantino carded a 72 and got within two strokes for his runner-up finish. Serrantino gained three strokes on Mercatoris the final two rounds, but couldn't overcome his first-round 76 to catch the Brookville native.
In the team standings, Mercatoris and his Colonials teammates finished a distant second behind Sacred Heart.
Last year, Mercatoris shot a 3-over 219 and tied St. Francis Pa.'s Joey Amelia for second place, one stroke behind Fairleigh Dickinson's Robert Cerabone.
This year, Mercatoris won, Cerabone tied for sixth and Amelia tied for 18th.
"It was disappointing last year, but at the same time, it was motivating to go out and work hard and know that this is what you work for, the next step," Mercatoris said.
Mercatoris was the Colonials' top finisher at the conference championship all four years. As a sophomore, he finished seventh and he tied for 14th as a freshman.
This year's title added another notch on one of the most impressive careers in school history. He earned his third straight NEC All-Tournament honor after winning his fourth tournament this year, including his last two events. In 38 career events, he had 20 top-10 finishes, 10 top-5 showings and four tournament titles.
Mercatoris accomplished a solid college golf career while also shining in the classroom. Last year, he was named a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar which combined golf requirements with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.2.
"It's not easy to balance golf with school and social life," Mercatoris said. "The key was to practice and play as much as I could and get better. It's a good feeling to know that you put time in both and did both well and high levels."
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