JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 18, 2005) - The ETSU men's golf team continues to maintain high marks in the Golfweek/Sagarin weekly rankings, moving up to No. 21 as a team in this week's poll following this past weekend's Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges. More impressively, junior Rhys Davies (Bridgend,
As an indication of Davies' place on the national golf scene, the following story appeared on Golfweek.com this week. Golfweek senior writer Ron Balicki was in
By Ron Balicki
JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. — Rhys Davies, the
His father, Graham, and his mother, Chris, have seen their son play in four college events over the past two-plus seasons. They had not, however, seen their son win on the collegiate stage.
That changed Oct. 16. Graham and Chris made the trip across the
With a final-round 4-under-par 68, Davies claimed his seventh college title within the past calendar year, finishing at 11-under 205. He became the first ETSU player to win this tournament in its eight-year history.
"We feel privileged to be present at such a magnificent occasion," said Chris. "It was just wonderful and we're so proud of him. It was so nice to see all these people come out and watch him and support him."
Added Davies, "Winning is always nice, but this time it was extremely special because it came before all our fans here and because my mom and dad were here to see it. For them to come over here and see me play well, to see it in real time, is very nice. It was just so special to have them here and for them to be able to see me win."
While Davies was taking care of business on the individual side,
South Carolina, which at one point in the final round led by as much as 13 shots, was the only team to finish under par at the 7,147-yard, par-72, Ridges Golf and Country Club course and ended eight strokes in front of Auburn, which closed with a 6-under 282 for a 3-over 867. The Tigers made a gallant comeback the final two rounds after opening with a 300 and standing in 11th place.
TCU, the first-round leader and two-time winner of this event, placed third at 869, while ETSU followed at 871.
"Since we had only played once before this week (a tie for eighth at the Topy Cup in
"Coming into this fall season I told my wife I was more excited about this season than I have been in a long time," Blackmon said. "It's a young group, but a very hard working and enthusiastic group. And after this (winning) I'm really excited about the rest of the year."
Leading the way for the Gamecocks was freshman Florian Fritsch, a 20-year-old from
Davies' final round consisted of seven birdies and three bogeys. Oddly enough, those three bogeys came on par-3 holes, which are normally his strength as shown by last season, when he led the nation in par-3 scoring.
He birdied the first hole, bogeyed the third and then birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6. He bogeyed No. 7 to turn in 2 under on the day and 9 under for the tournament. His lead was just one shot over Fritsch when he bogeyed No. 16, but the 2005
"I played solid the last two days and to maintain it today was quite pleasing," Davies said. "I never did doubt myself. Even after that bogey at the 16th (his third consecutive bogey on the hole), I knew I could come back and make one or two birdies.
"I had my sights set on this tournament since I got back here this fall. This is a big event and it's our event, so winning here is very special," he said.
After winning five times last season and now twice already this season, Davies has certainly put himself in a front-running position toward player of the year honors. As a sophomore, he finished third in the final Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings behind Ryan Moore of UNLV and Spencer Levin of
"I feel I'm one of the dominant players in college golf and I think this win helps prove it," Davies said. "But that's not for me to say. All I can do is go out and play my best and let my clubs speak for me."
If that's the case, then so far, Davies' clubs are speaking quite loudly.
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Ron Balicki is a Golfweek senior writer. To reach him e-mail email@example.com.