PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2013) – After leading the Bucs in the first two rounds on Monday, freshmen Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) and Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.) continued to pace the ETSU men’s golf team in Tuesday’s final round of the Sea Best Invitational from the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Meronk tied for third with Winthrop’s Kyle Bearden at 3-over-par (71-74-74—219), while Hickman – who shot a 1-under 71 on Tuesday – finished in a four-way tie for ninth at 7-over 223. Overall, this marks the top placing by both Buccaneer golfers in their young careers, as Meronk tied for 13th in his last two tournaments to finish the fall season and Hickman’s previous best finish came at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate when he tied for 37th.
Hickman started the day strong as he played the front nine at 2-under-par after registering birdies on the 532-yard, par-5 No. 2 and the 575-yard, par-5 No. 9. The Centreville, Md. native eventually moved to 3-under for the round by carding a birdie on the 332-yard, par-4 12th; however, Hickman couldn’t sustain the solid play as he finished the last six holes at 2-over-par.
Once again, Tennessee picked up right where they left off as the 26th-ranked Volunteers won the tournament by four strokes over No. 30 Texas A&M. Tennessee – who was led by individual champion Rick Lamb – tallied a three-round score of 15-over-par (300-279-300—879). Meanwhile, Lamb was the only golfer to finish under par for the tournament as the No. 72 ranked player carded a 5-under (70-65-76—211) in the two-day, three-round tournament format.
In the end, the Bucs finished sixth (of 15 teams) with a score of 902, which was four strokes back of third-place finisher and 46th-ranked Coastal Carolina. The Blue and Gold managed to finish higher than conference foes Jacksonville, USC Upstate, and Florida Gulf Coast. Jacksonville placed 10th, while USC Upstate and FGCU tied for 13th.
One other ETSU notable included the positive finish by sophomore Scott Gibson (Southerness, Scotland). After posting consecutive scores in the 80s on Monday, Gibson shot an even-par 72 in Tuesday’s final round, and was also the lone golfer in the field to eagle the 558-yard, par-5 11th for the tournament. Gibson managed to climb up 22 spots on the leaderboard to finish in a tie for 41st.
The Bucs return to action in two weeks when they play in the Puerto Rico Classic, beginning Sunday, Feb. 17.
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