Buccaneers best FGCU to collect record 22nd conference title
BRASELTON, Ga. (April 21, 2010) - ETSU senior Seamus Power (Waterford, Ireland) carded a final round score of 5-under-par 67 to lift the No. 31-ranked ETSU men's golf team to the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference championship Wednesday at the Legends at Chateau Elan.
The win marks the 22nd conference title in the men's golf program's history and the second time the Buccaneers have captured the Atlantic Sun Conference title (2007, 2010). In addition, the Bucs set a school record with their fourth team championship of the spring season, and ETSU will now receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals in May.
After Power became one of four Bucs to post a score of bogey or worse on the 452-yard, par 4 8th hole, the senior played the final 10 holes at 4-under par to seal the individual title. He becomes the fifth player in the 32-year history of the championship to earn medalist honors twice joining 1983 PGA Championship winner Hal Sutton of Centenary (1979-80), Southeastern Louisiana's Oliver Thomson (1992, 1994), Troy's Josh Broadaway (1999, 2000) and Jacksonville's Duncan Stewart (2005-06). Power won as a freshman in 2007.
"It was a great one to win," said Power, who now has five individual tournament titles since coming to ETSU. "This was the first time in four years we were not the favorites going in, so to be the underdog and get it done is a great feeling. I just tried to go out there and not worry about everyone else. I worried about myself and decided I would look at the leaderboard on the 18th green.
"It was a great performance from our entire team. We're starting to get more consistent and we want to carry that over to regional and nationals."
Three other ETSU players finished in the Top 10, with sophomore Paul O'Kane (Castledawson, Northern Ireland) and junior Rhys Enoch (Cornwall, England) tying for sixth, while sophomore Michael Stewart (Troon, Scotland) finished eighth.
"It was a tough today because this is a very good golf course, and it took its toll at times," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren. "We got off to a good start and then had a few hiccups along the way, but Seamus was just great the entire tournament and he carried us with a 67. Rhys, Paul and Michael also played well under pressure and we're just glad to get another championship for ETSU."
The Bucs needed every birdie to fend off the hard-charging FGCU Eagles, who closed to within two strokes of the team lead late in the final round. Brandon Pena signed for a 7-under par 65, the lowest third round total in A-Sun Championship history, to help lead the rally. Over a seven-hole stretch from No. 7 to No. 13, Pena posted five birdies and an eagle to vault from a tie for 18th up to second in the individual standings. The amazing hot stretch helped propel the Eagles back into contention before the FGCU settled for a runner-up finish, four strokes behind the champs.
No. 20 UNF slipped back into third place despite Jordan Gibb's 1-under 71 which helped him finish in a tie for fourth overall.
USC Upstate's Josh Gallman (third) and Campbell's Matt Moot (tied for fourth) joined Power, Pena and Gibb in the top-five and on the All-Tournament team. Both players shot a 3-under 69 in the final round to make the big move into the top-five. Wednesday proved to be a volatile day for the leaderboard as five players went from outside the top-10 to at least a tie for 10th.
ETSU earns the conference's automatic bid into NCAA Regional play while UNF expects to receive an at-large selection when the NCAA Championship field is announced on Monday, May 10.
"This adds a lot to our history," Warren said. "This was a record-setting win in a lot of ways. It was our fourth win of the spring which is a school record, and Seamus made it four individual wins in a row for us which is a conference record. To do that in a tournament where we weren't the favorite makes it pretty special."