EL PASO, Texas (Nov. 24, 2013) – ETSU junior Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales) will play in what is ranked “The No. 1 tournament in collegiate golf” this week as the Buccaneer junior golfer gears up for the Sun Bowl Western Refining All-America Golf Classic, beginning Monday morning at the El Paso Country Club.
ABOUT THIS YEAR’S TOURNAMENT
- The tournament will be held on Monday and Tuesday.
- The participants play 36 holes on Monday and wrap up play with the final 18 holes on Tuesday.
- The top-four rated teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings: Alabama, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and California, all have two players in this year's field.
- Play begins at 9 a.m. (Eastern) each day.
- The 21-player field consists of last season’s Division I All-Americans (with a limit of two per team), along with special invitations for Walker Cup players (who are currently in college), and for US and British Amateur winners.
- Pugh earned his spot by playing in his second Walker Cup this past September.
- Joining Pugh in the tournament are: Anders Albertson and Ollie Schniederjans from Georgia Tech, Julien Brun (TCU), Sebastian Cappelen (Arkansas), Corey Connors (Kent State), Tyler Dunlap (Texas A&M), Greg Eason (Central Florida), Jonathan Garrick (UCLA), Gavin Green (New Mexico), Jonathan Grey (Georgia State), M.J. Maguire (North Florida), Jordan Niebrugge and Ian Davis of Oklahoma State, Jack Perry (Northwestern), Brad Shigezawa (Claremont), California’s Michael Weaver and Michael Kim, Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt from Alabama.
- Shigezawa is the reigning Division III Player of the Year, while Schniederjans and Davis rank in the top-10 of the individual Golfweek rankings. Schniederjans is ranked second and Davis is eighth.
- The field includes 17 of the top 100 amateur golfers in the world, according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings including Whitsett – the top-ranked amateur and 2011 tournament winner.
- Pugh will be paired with UNF’s M.J. McGuire in the first two rounds and they will tee off from No. 8.
- The El Paso Country Club has provided over 100 years of exclusive sport and lifestyle amenities unmatched in the desert southwest.
- The crown jewel of the club, an 18-hole championship golf course, offers spectacular views of the majestic Franklin Mountains to the east and the Chiuahuan Desert Mesa, chiseled by the Rio Grande just a mile away to the west.
- The exquisite property is unlike anything found in El Paso with lush greens and fairways lined with cottonwood trees. An oasis rather than a desert golf course, the El Paso Country Club is a 6,781 yard, par 71 course.
HISTORY OF THE TOURNAMENT
- The Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic is one of the oldest college golf tournaments in the nation. The first event, called the Sun Bowl College All-Star Golf Tournament, was held Dec. 4-6, 1974, at El Paso Country Club.
- The history of the tournament began when PGA Professional Bill Eschenbrenner, then the Head Pro at El Paso Country Club, and Sun Carnival vice-president Stu Hammond, developed the unique format of the proposed tournament. Herb Wimberley, a past NCAA Golf President and then the New Mexico State University Golf Course head professional, promoted the idea of the tournament to the NCAA Golf Coaches Association. The tournament became a reality.
- Twenty men's “college all-star golfers” competed in the inaugural tournament, and the University of Alabama's Jerry Pate became the first champion. The event has been held every year since then, with the exception of 1987, when pending NCAA legislation resulted in the cancellation of the tournament. From those early days in 1974, the tournament has grown into what the Sagarin/Golfweek Performance Index ranks as "The #1 tournament in college golf".
- Throughout the years, many Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic competitors have gone on to pursue successful careers in the Professional Golfers' Association of America and on the PGA Tour. Some of the past champions include Webb Simpson (2007), Ricky Barnes (2000), Notah Begay (1994), David Duval (1991), Matt Kuchar (1999), Davis Love III (1984), Chris Nallen (2003), Jerry Pate (1974), Nicholas Thompson (2004) and Tiger Woods (1995).
- Back then, the sole purpose of the event was to honor the nation's best college golfers in a unique, head-to-head competition. Today, the intent is the same, but the name of the event now features the title sponsor of the tournament, Western Refining, a sponsor since 2002. The All-America Golf Classic has become a stage for rising stars, with many players continuing their careers and joining the PGA elite. The roster of past participants and champions includes some of the biggest names in professional golf. Tournament alumni have won 617 PGA Tour events and have amassed over $1.6 billion in tour earnings.
- Live scoring will be available by following along on Golfstat.
- Twitter updates can be accessed by following @ETSUAthletics as well as using the hashtag #ETSUMGolf.
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For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.