ETSU men's golf takes home General Hackler Invitational title; Bucs capture first regular season team championship since 2001

Monday, March 13, 2006

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (March 13, 2006) - With three players finishing in the top five on the individual leaderboard, the 12th-ranked ETSU men's golf team fired a final round 292 and captured a 10-stroke victory over host team Coastal Carolina in the General Hackler Invitational Monday at the TPC of Myrtle Beach. The Bucs led all three rounds of the tournament.


ETSU finished with a team score of 3-over-par 867 (286-289-292), as junior Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales) led the way with a second-place finish thanks to a three-round score of 5-under 211 (69-70-72). While he finished one stroke back of Pepperdine's Alex Coe for the individual title, it was the play of Davies, as well as freshman Jordan Findlay (Fraserburgh, Scotland) and sophomore Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) that resulted in a team victory. Findlay finished in third place at 3-under 213 (70-70-73), while Shaw tied for fifth at 1-under 215 (70-75-70).


It is the first regular season title for the Bucs since winning the Cavalier Classic in 2001, even though the team has enjoyed postseason victories in the NCAA East Regional (2001) and Southern Conference Tournament (2005) since that time.  


"This feels great, and with Coastal Carolina coming off a win in Florida State's tournament last week, it's good to beat them on their home course," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren. "We have a good team with great competitors. This will only help to build their confidence."


The Bucs were also a part of FSU's Seminole Intercollegiate last week and actually led that event after two rounds. However, the Bucs struggled in the third and final round, ultimately finishing fourth and watching Coastal take the victory.


Shaw said the Bucs were determined not to let history repeat itself.


"Obviously, I think we were all trying to make amends for last week," said Shaw, who enjoyed his best career finish. "It got close again - like two or three strokes - with nine holes to play, but everyone seemed to come together at the end and make some birdies. We all played better when the pressure was on."


Findlay said it was a matter of playing "more sensible" golf.


"We were smarter on the course and played more consistent," said Findlay, who also enjoyed a career-best finish. "It's easier to play well when other guys around you are playing well. I think the pressure we played with last week helped us learn something for this week."


As for Davies, winning a team title was a nice change. Having won seven individual titles during his time at ETSU, the PING first-team All-American enjoyed sharing a victory with his teammates as opposed to celebrating an individual championship.


"This is a much better feeling to walk off the last hole and win as a team," said Davies, who has also enjoyed team victories during international competitions such as the Palmer Cup. "The goal we set out for ourselves today was to win the event. We accomplished that and it's pleasing. It feels a lot like (international play), just having the camaraderie between the team and winning as a group is nice."


Other ETSU results from Monday included a 58th-place finish by freshman Adam Hodkinson (Dore, England) and a 62nd-place finish by sophomore Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland).


The Bucs will return to action this Friday at the GCAA Hall of Fame Invitational in Houston, Texas. For more on ETSU golf, visit

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