ARDMORE, Pa. (Aug. 24, 2005) - After qualifying for match play at the U.S. Amateur on Tuesday, ETSU junior golfer Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales) did not miss a beat in Wednesday's first round match against American Todd Mitchell at the Merion Golf Club.
With birdies on No. 7, No. 8, No. 10, No. 13 and No. 15, as well as a pair of pars on No. 6 and No. 12, Davies dispatched Mitchell 4 and 3 to advance to the second round today. Davies, who will play American Arnond Vongvanij on Thursday, said the experience of playing in the event has been special and he's focused on playing well.
"I've enjoyed it quite a bit," said Davies, who finished as the No. 3-ranked player in collegiate golf in 2004-05. "There are quite a few people around and it's a great atmosphere."
In Tuesday's match, Davies held a 1-up lead after six holes and said the turning point of the match was probably his birdie on No. 7. After Mitchell sank a 30-foot putt for birdie and an apparent win on the hole, Davies quickly stole away the momentum by following with his own 15-foot putt for birdie.
"I was able to hole several putts during the round," Davies said. "No. 7 was an important hole because I kept my advantage and was able to build on it from there."
Davies, whose major win on the international stage came at the 2003 British Boys Championship at Hoylake, has competed in both the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup this summer.
His resume also includes arguably the most successful individual campaign in ETSU history. Davies recorded school records for individual tournament titles (five), single-round score (63) and three-round score (199), while firing 13 sub-70 rounds and finishing in the Top 3 in nine of 12 events. For his efforts, Davies earned PING All-America honors, was ranked No. 2 nationally by Golfweek, and was a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award, which annually goes to the nation's top amateur player.
Davies, who finished the year with a team-best stroke average of 70.54, was selected as the Southern Conference Golfer of the Year and earned a spot in the NCAA Championships with his second-place finish at the NCAA East Regional.