ST. PETERSBURG — Palm Harbor University's Christian Senger picked an opportune time to shoot the round of his life.
Senger, a junior, fired a career-low 4-under-par 68 Tuesday to win the Vinoy Invitational at the Vinoy Golf Club by one over Calvary Christian's Taylor Hancock and East Lake's Logan Hand.
"This was my first under-par round (for 18 holes)," Senger said. "It feels great. I beat some good players; makes it that much better."
Senger, who started on No. 14, began his round with bogey but got back under par with birdies on Nos. 18 and 1.
"That kind of got me going," he said.
Senger mixed five birdies with three bogeys and added eagle on the par-5 No. 7.
"I hit a really long drive off the tee and had a 6-iron into the green," he said, describing his eagle. "I stuck it to about 6 feet and made the putt."
Senger's round helped Palm Harbor University to a second-place finish. The Hurricanes carded 295, seven strokes back of East Lake, which took the team title with 288, a school record according to coach Terry O'Reilly.
"It was a pretty amazing round for us," O'Reilly said.
Hand finished third after losing on the second hole of a playoff for second place with Hancock. The rest of the Eagles— Linzy Clark, Jake Johnson and Terry O'Reilly — each shot 1-over 73 to give East Lake an even-par team score.
The result was a departure from recent appearances at the Vinoy for East Lake.
"We haven't placed in this tournament in five years," O'Reilly, the coach, said. "The last couple of years we have not done well. That course has chewed us up, especially hole No. 11. I think we've actually shot 11 on that hole before."
Besides Senger, Matt Cote shot 72, Dustin Dingus 75 and Charlie Camisasca 80 for Palm Harbor University.
St. Petersburg Catholic finished one stroke behind the Hurricanes at 296 to claim third. Chase Merkley led the way for the Barons with 72. Derek Hernandez and Joe McCarthy shot 73 and Jimmy Weck 78 to round out SPC's afternoon.
Northside Christian's Jeff Heinicka fired 2-under 70 to finish fourth individually. The Mustangs (302) also took fourth in the team competition.