JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (September 14, 2003) - Wake Forest senior Bill Haas spent the week prior to the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at the Ridges playing in front of huge galleries at the Walker Cup in Europe. That experience paid off.
Haas, the nation's preseason No. 1 player, shot 10-under-par (67-68-71=206) for the event and captured the individual championship by four strokes over South Carolina's Martin Rominger and Florida's Camilo Villegas during Sunday's final round play at the Ridges. Meanwhile, Florida kept it's momentum after a sterling second round on Saturday, holding off two-time Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate champion Texas Christian by four strokes for the team championship.
"It's a great honor to win this tournament, I'm just sorry I can't come back again next year," said Haas, whose Demon Deacons finished eighth overall as a team at 17-over. "This is definitely a great way to start my last year of college golf, but I'm disappointed our team didn't play better. We have a young team and that's a lot of pressure to put on freshmen, but they got their feet wet and they'll get better."
Meanwhile, Florida head coach Buddy Alexander was pleased with his team's effort. Three Florida players - Villegas, James Vargas and Matt Every - finished in the leaderboard's Top 10, and the Gators ended the event at 10-under (290-280-284=854).
"When I saw who was going to be here I knew it was a quality field and winning it would be a quality win," said Alexander, referencing the fact that 16 of the 18 team's at the event were ranked in the nation's Top 30. "It's early in the year, but winning our first one sure gives these kids a lot of confidence because now they know they can compete with the best in the country."
While Florida finished five strokes ahead of TCU, the Horned Frogs enjoyed a sizeable 12-stroke cushion between second place and third place on the team leaderboard. Preseason No. 1 Clemson and Southern California tied for third at 7-over.
For the homestanding East Tennessee State Buccaneers, it was a disappointing weekend. Late Saturday night, junior Cennydd Mills (Cardiff, Wales) was disqualified because of a scorecard discrepancy and freshman Stephen Arnold (Langhorne, Pa.) had to withdraw from play Sunday because of an injured wrist. Even with those setbacks, the Bucs rallied from a second round score of 35-over-par to shoot just 6-over as a team on Sunday, giving the team a glimpse of what might be during the rest of the season.
"It was a tough weekend and I'm disappointed with how the team performed," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren. "I think we have the makings of a good team, though."
For complete results from the weekend's play, visit golfstat.com.