JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 19, 2009) - With a chance to make conference history while also capturing their first league title since 2007, the No. 30-ranked ETSU men's golf team will begin play Monday morning in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship hosted by Campbell University on the Creek Course at Keith Hills Country Club in Buies Creek, N.C.
Live scoring for the event will be available daily at Golfstat.com.
After winning the 2007 A-Sun title, ETSU fell one stroke shy in 2008. While last year's Medalist, Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland), is no longer on the squad, the Buccaneers do feature a strong group led by the previous two Freshmen of the Year (Seamus Power, 2007 and Rhys Enoch, 2008). Power won the individual title in 2007. Should Power, Enoch or any member of the Buccaneers win the individual title, history would be made as no school has produced three straight individual champions.
After three straight runner-up finishes, to three different champions, UNF finally ascended to the top of the league, winning the 2008 A-Sun Championship by a single shot. The Ospreys return four players who finished in the top 10 at last year's event, led by Jordan Gibb's seventh-place showing. UNF's win marked just the fifth one-shot team victory in 30 years. No team has won back-to-back titles since Jacksonville State won in 2002 and 2003. Coincidentally, JSU won its first title by a single stroke.
The field for the Men's Golf Championship will expand to its largest since 2005 as FGCU and USC Upstate will compete for the first time since joining the league. Both are still completing the four-year transition to Division I so should either win the team event, the highest finishing, eligible, team would earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAAs. Josh Gallman, a 2008 First-Team All-Atlantic Sun performer, leads the Spartans who feature four golfers from the squad that finished second at the 2007 NCAA Division II National Championship.
Seven times in the 30-year history of the Atlantic Sun Men's Golf Championship, the host has emerged victorious, however you have to go back to 1999 to find the last time a school won as the host, the longest such drought in league history. Ten years ago, Campbell won its only A-Sun title, pulling out a four-shot victory against Jacksonville State. That year marked the end of a run of three straight hosts winning the league title as Campbell followed the lead of Georgia State in 1998 and Jacksonville State in 1997. Previous hosts to win include Centenary, led by Hal Sutton, in 1979 and 1980; Georgia Southern in 1987 and Houston Baptist in 1988.
Keith Hills Country Club has long been a hidden treasure in the Southeast. It has been rated as high as the seventh best public golf course in North Carolina by Carolina Magazine. This Ellis Maples designed championship golf course offers a complete and exciting challenge to the golfing enthusiast. With large bent grass greens and rolling, plush fairways, Keith Hills is fun for all players. The par 72-6703 yard layout winds through a golfing community set on the Cape Fear River, which makes Keith Hills one of the most picturesque settings in North Carolina.