ORLANDO, Fla. (April 19, 2006) - Needing to make up a two-stroke deficit entering the third and final round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, the ETSU men's golf team was unable to catch first-place Jacksonville on Wednesday, as the Dolphins captured their first-ever men's golf conference title at the Eagle Creek Golf Club.
Despite firing an 8-under-par team score of 284 on the final day, the 10th-ranked Buccaneers (283-287-284=854) were still unable to make up ground and actually ended the event in third place behind both Jacksonville (286-282-277=845) and UNF (285-286-279=850). Jacksonville enjoyed a clean sweep of the top awards, as Duncan Stewart held off teammate Russel Knox on the second playoff hole for the individual medalist honors. Stewart and Knox both finished with identical scores of 13-under 206 (70-68-68), while ETSU freshman Jordan Findlay (Fraserburgh, Scotland) finished two strokes back in third place at 208 (69-70-69).
ETSU head coach Fred Warren said it was a matter of the Bucs being on the wrong course at the wrong time.
"We just had no advantage down here," Warren said. "During the year we play very tough courses that are visually intimidating. This course was just wide open and it was a matter of how low you can go. The Bermuda greens did give us some trouble all three days, and it was just different than what we're used to. We would have liked to have won, but we now have a month to catch up on school and get ready for the NCAA Regional."
In fact, with their strong nationally ranking, the Bucs are assured of a berth in the NCAAs, not to mention a high seed. Findlay said he and his teammates are not happy, but they understand there are bigger prizes still out there this season.
"We're pretty disappointed - very disappointed," said Findlay, who fired rounds of 69, 70 and 69. "But I don't think any of us were really struggling that much. We all played pretty well. I think we'll be all right going to nationals."
Individually, other ETSU results included a tie for fifth-place by junior Rhys Davies (69-72-71=212) and a tie for seventh by sophomore Gareth Shaw (70-73-71=214). Freshman Adam Hodkinson (Dore, England) finished 24th at 220 (75-72-73) and sophomore Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) was 40th at 228 (77-75-76).
The Bucs will enjoy a month break before returning to action in the NCAA Regionals scheduled for May 18-20. For more on ETSU men's golf and updates on where the Bucs will be playing next, visit ETSUBucs.com.