ETSU men's golf set to open spring slate at Puerto Rico Classic
Junior Rhys Davies is a candidate for National Player of the Year.
Junior Rhys Davies is a candidate for National Player of the Year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2006) - With a great deal of optimism and fresh off a conference championship last season, the ETSU men's golf team will open its 2006 spring schedule Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan, P.R.

 

In 2004-05, the Bucs returned to national prominence, winning a record 17th Southern Conference title, making yet another trip to the NCAA East Regional, and regaining its position as one of the nation's top programs. Under the guidance of Hall of Fame head coach Fred Warren and bolstered by the play of Ping First-Team All-American Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales), the Buccaneers enter their first spring season as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference with a great deal of momentum as they continue to climb the nation's golf polls with a current national rank of 16th in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings. The recent successes are nothing new for Warren, who begins his 20th season at ETSU after leading the Bucs to a SoCon record 12 titles and 10 NCAA Championship appearances during his tenure.

 

Davies, a junior from Bridgend, Wales, provides a veteran anchor to a lineup that does not possess a great deal of collegiate experience, but is gifted with plenty of golfing talent. Throughout the fall season, Davies was joined on the five-man lineup by returning sophomores Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) and Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland), as well as true freshmen Adam Hodkinson (Dore, England) and Jordan Findlay (Fraserburgh, Scotland).

 

Without doubt, Davies' career at ETSU has already been one of the most successful in school history, with 24 sub-70 rounds and a program record seven individual championships. The junior continued to build on his resume with a fantastic spring season as a sophomore and a strong fall campaign in 2005, winning two events during the autumn - including the first-ever individual championship by a Buc in ETSU's host event, the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges. Davies also tied for the title at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate, ending the fall with a 69.9 stroke average, which dropped his career stroke average to 71.6. For his efforts, Davies - who ended the fall ranked No. 5 nationally by Golfweek - has swept the A-Sun Golfer of the Month awards this season, winning that honor in September, October and November.

 

As for the rest of the Buc lineup, sophomore Shaw made the biggest improvement in the fall and is expected to continue his development after finishing second on the team with a stroke average of 72.08. Shaw fired a fall-best round of 69 at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate, where he enjoyed one of his two Top 10 finishes. He finished a fall-best seventh at the VCU/Mattaponi Springs Shootout. Along with Shaw, fellow sophomore McNamara finished second on the team in stroke average during the spring of 2005, and was third on the team in the fall with a stroke average of 73.58. One of the team's most consistent players, McNamara finished with a fall-best round of 69 at the Carpet Capital Intercollegiate.

 

Newcomers to the team this season include Findlay and Hodkinson. During the fall, both saw a great deal of action, playing in all four of ETSU's events. Findlay, who joins Davies as a former British Boys Champion, fired his best round of the fall with a 72 at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate, while Hodkinson posted a 71 at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate. McCance has yet to play in a collegiate event.

 

This spring, the Bucs will continue their tradition of playing one of the toughest schedules in college golf. ETSU will begin that slate on Feb. 26 at the Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan, P.R. The team will attempt to win its first A-Sun Championship on April 17, in Orlando, Fla., followed by the NCAA East Regionals on May 18.

 

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