JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 21, 2013) – East Tennessee State University head men’s golf coach Fred Warren announced Thursday that Cayman Ratliff (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Conor Rodrigues (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) have signed their national letters of intent to play for the Bucs next fall.
Ratliff and Rodrigues will join a team that features three seniors, three juniors and one sophomore.
"I am delighted that Cayman and Conor will be joining our program next year,” said head coach Fred Warren. “Both are proven winners and high achievers on the golf course and in their studies. With all of our current players returning next year, both Cayman and Conor will be vying for a spot in our top five. They show the same level of accomplishment in their class work, and I am looking forward to them joining ETSU next fall."
Ratliff, a Sullivan South High School product, won the 2013 Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the fourth champion to play for Coach Warren. The three-time district and two-time regional champion placed second at the Ridgefields Invitational and fifth at the East Tennessee Amateur this past summer. In 2012, Ratliff was named Big 8 Conference Player of the Year and placed top twelve in the state, while helping guide the Rebels to a runner-up finish in the Class AA state tournament this past October. In addition to ETSU, Ratliff was recruited by Tennessee, MTSU, and Tennessee Tech. Not only has Ratliff excelled on the course, but he’s a scholar-athlete by maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point-average at Sullivan South. Ratliff plans to major in sports medicine at ETSU.
“There were many factors that went into deciding on ETSU,” said Ratliff. “I decided to become a Buccaneer because of Coach Warren, the facilities, competitive schedule, team, and it’s close to home.”
“Cayman is unquestionably one of the top golfers in Tennessee, and one of the very best out of the Tri-Cities in many years,” said Warren.
Rodrigues is ranked one of the top junior golfers in the country and was recruited by University of Central Florida, San Diego, North Florida, Mercer, and Purdue. The five-time Golf MVP put together strong showings this past summer as he won his first AJGA event by defeating Samuel Uhland in a playoff at the AJGA Junior at Tedesco back in July. From there, Rodrigues, who registered a scoring average of 72.25 last season, finished third at the Stan Trojanowski Northern Junior and was runner-up at the AJGA/CJGA Junior Championship. Like Ratliff, Rodrigues is also a scholar-athlete as he was named to the 2012 HP Scholastic All-American Honor Roll.
“I chose to sign with ETSU because of its well-established golf program and strong academic programs,” said Rodrigues. “I also built a connection with Coach Warren and enjoyed the golf facilities. I look forward to joining the team in the fall.”
“Conor also has excelled at the junior level with victories and top finishes both in the U.S. and Canada, and was highly recruited by other top programs,” added Warren.
The 2013-14 ETSU men’s golf team opens its spring season Feb. 3-4 when the Bucs head to Jacksonville for the Sea Best Invitational. The Bucs ended the fall season ranked 48th in the final Golfweek rankings.
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