Pugh, Gradecki pace Bucs in opening round of USCC
Junior Rhys Pugh fired a 69 on Friday and is tied for third at the U.S. Collegiate Championship.
Junior Rhys Pugh fired a 69 on Friday and is tied for third at the U.S. Collegiate Championship.

Friday, October 18, 2013

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (Oct. 18, 2013) – Junior Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales) fired a 3-under-par 69 and freshman Mateusz Gradecki (Oborniki Śląskie, Poland) posted an even-par 72, as the ETSU men’s golf team wrapped up first round play at the United States Collegiate Championship on Friday from The Golf Club of Georgia – Lakeside Course.

Playing in a field consisting of 12 ranked teams and 11 golfers who are listed in the top-30 of Golfweek’s rankings, Pugh sits in a seven-way tie for third, while Gradecki is one of ten golfers tied for 25th.

Pugh, who has led the Bucs in their last two tournaments, began the day with a birdie on the par-5 opening hole, while wrapping up the front nine with three consecutive birdies after registering a bogey on the par-4 No. 6. On the back nine, Pugh moved to 4-under and into a tie for the lead after collecting his fifth birdie of the round on the par-3 13th, but carded a bogey on the par-4 16th, bringing the Welshman back to 3-under. From there, Pugh parred the final two holes to post the 69.

Meanwhile, Gradecki got off to a bumpy start  after playing the first four holes at 3-over, but like Pugh, the Buccaneer rookie birdied the final three holes on the front nine to move back to even-par. After making the turn, Gradecki recorded a bogey on the 13th, but birdied the par-3 17th and manufactured a par on No. 18.

Pugh is three shots back of Virginia’s Ben Rusch and Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans, who both fired a 6-under 66 on Friday.  

As a team, ETSU is tied with No. 8 Washington for 11th after totaling a 6-over 294 on Friday. The Bucs are two shots ahead of No. 18 Kent State, three ahead of No. 24 Auburn, and five shots better than two-time champion and No. 21-ranked Clemson. After playing the first 15 holes at even-par, sophomore Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) bogeyed the par-4 16th and double bogeyed No. 17 to finish the round at 3-over-par 75. Fellow sophomores Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland), and Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.) both posted scores of 6-over 78.

Georgia Tech, the defending champion and tournament host, finished atop the leaderboard after the opening round at 9-under 279.  The third-ranked Yellow Jackets hold a five-stroke lead over No. 7 Oklahoma State and a six-shot advantage over No. 14 Virginia No. 2 Texas A&M.

The Bucs tee off Saturday at 11:30 a.m., and will be grouped with Oklahoma State and Clemson. Live scoring of the tournament can be accessed via GolfStat.com and live video will be available for the second round by visiting TheUSCC.org.

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