ETSU men's golf earns trip to NCAA Championships
Junior Rhys Davies finished third on the individual leaderboard at 12-under-par.
Junior Rhys Davies finished third on the individual leaderboard at 12-under-par.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

            TUCSON, Ariz. (May 20, 2006) - For the 15th time in the program's history and the first time since 2001, the ETSU men's golf team is headed to the NCAA Championships.

 

            The Buccaneers fired a final round 3-under-par 285 to finish eighth on the team leaderboard Saturday in the NCAA West Regional at the Omni Tucson National Golf Course. ETSU ended the event at 15-under 849 - and with a finish in the Top 10 - earn a berth in the NCAA Championships scheduled for May 31-June 3 in Sunriver, Ore. Arizona and Florida tied for the team title at 37-under.

 

            Familiar faces led the Bucs' charge to the national championship tournament, with junior Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales) guiding the way thanks to a pair of sub-70 rounds and a third place finish at 12-under (70-66-68=204). Meanwhile, sophomore Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) also enjoyed a pair of sub-70 rounds and finished tied for 11th at 8-under (69-67-72=208). Florida's Billy Horschel and Nevada's Casey Watabu shared the individual title at 13-under.

 

            "We've worked hard this year and we've had a lot of ups and down, but this has always been our goal and we got it done," said Davies, who has spent the entire season ranked in the Top 5 nationally. "It's particularly pleasing for us to do it here (in Arizona). The golf is a lot different than back home in Europe or in Tennessee. It's extremely hot, but the course was in fantastic condition and that meant a lot of low scores. We're not really used to that type of golf, but we came away with some birdies and some low scores."

 

            ETSU head coach Fred Warren said his team's return to the national spotlight is special.

 

            "The last five years we've faced some challenges to rebuild the program," Warren said. "To see that hard work pay off is rewarding, and I really enjoy seeing our players get a chance to compete for a national championship. They've worked extremely hard and they deserve this opportunity."

 

            Along with Davies and Shaw, sophomore Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) finished the event at 2-over (72-73-73=218), while freshman Adam Hodkinson (Dore, England) posted a three-round score of 4-over (73-75-72=220). Davies said the team will enjoy their accomplishment for the next few days, but there is still more work to be done.

            "We got there, but that doesn't mean we're finished," Davies said. "This gave us a lot of confidence and we're ready to regroup for nationals. We're ready to see what we can do there."

 

            For more on ETSU men's golf in preparation for the NCAA Championships, visit ETSUBucs.com.

 

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