DAVIDSON, N.C. (April 19, 2005) - Powered by a dominating individual effort from sophomore Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales), the East Tennessee State University men's golf team said goodbye to the Southern Conference in style Tuesday at the River Run Country Club, finishing three strokes ahead of second-place Georgia Southern and capturing their 12th SoCon Championship in the last 17 years.
Davies, the country's No. 3-ranked player, fired a 4-under-par 68 on Tuesday to finish at 8-under for the tournament and garner the individual championship by an impressive 10 strokes over Furman's Chris Gilliland. As a team, the Bucs finished at 1-under 287 in the third and final round, and posted a team score of 10-over 874 for the tournament.
"I'm probably as proud of this win as any of the others we've had here because our guys really came through and played great today," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren, who set a SoCon record with his 12th tournament title at ETSU. "We've had a lot of adversity this season, but this erases all of that. Just looking at the scores we put up there today, everyone came through. Rhys was especially good, but Cian (McNamara), Gareth (Shaw), Cennydd (Mills) and Stephen (
The Buccaneers, who have been the SoCon's dominant men's golf program over the last two decades, had not won a conference championship since 2001. However, after now finally returning to the top this season, the ETSU program will be leaving the SoCon for the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2005-06.
Davies, who has won four tournament titles this season and has finished in the Top 5 in seven of nine events, said this championship is one of the highlights of his career.
"Obviously, this is really pleasing because it was our last tournament in this conference and it's a nice way to go out," said Davies, who also garnered the SoCon Player of the Year honor and first-team All-SoCon selection on Tuesday. "I had a substantial lead going into the last round, so I was more concerned with trying to help our team win."
Indeed, the victory was a complete team effort, as freshman Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) finished tied in 11th at 7-over-par for the championship, while senior Cennydd Mills (Cardiff, Wales) and freshman Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) both finished tied for 20th. In fact, Mills fired a 1-under-par 71 in the final round to help lift the Buc spirits early, and
"Someone's going to have to win a lot if they want to catch our number,"
|1.||Rhys Davies, ETSU||68-72-68=208|
|2.||Chris Gilliland, Furman||78-72-68=218|
|3.||Steve Mayo, Davidson||71-74-74=219|
|Tim Dillon, Davidson||72-76-71=219|
|5.||Matt Cook, W.Carolina||77-72-71=220|
|David Palm, Ga. Southern||77-75-68=220|