TOLEDO, Ohio (Sept. 21, 2014) – After making its 23rd NCAA Regional appearance last year, the ETSU men’s golf team looks to build off the successful campaign as the Bucs open the 2014-15 season on Monday.
The Blue and Gold are one of 12 teams to compete for the Inverness Intercollegiate championship, which is held at the Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
The two-day tournament will be held at the Inverness Golf Club, which will be set up as a par-71, 7,300-yard layout.
Tee times for Monday’s 36 holes will begin with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start, while tee times for Tuesday’s final round begins at 8 a.m.
After a one-year hiatus, the Inverness Intercollegiate returns to the collegiate golf scene as this year marks the 10th annual event, hosted by the University of Toledo.
Northwestern won the previous championship in 2012, while Florida is the only team to repeat as tournament champions after claiming the title in 2002 and 2005.
This marks the second time the Bucs will play in the Inverness Intercollegiate as ETSU finished ninth in 2011.
Joining ETSU and Toledo in the tournament field are UAB, Charlotte, Kent State, Liberty, Memphis, Mercer, Michigan State, South Florida and Yale.
Of the 12 teams, eight finished the 2013-14 season ranked in the top 70 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. The list of teams includes UAB (12th), Mercer (32nd), South Florida (33rd), Kent State (37th), Liberty (38th), Memphis (52nd), ETSU (54th), and Charlotte (65th).
ABOUT THE COURSE
The Inverness Club was founded in 1903, and along with the University of Toledo, served as host for the 2009 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships. Inverness has also hosted four U.S. Opens, two U.S. Senior Opens, two PGA Championships and one U.S. Amateur.
The Inverness Golf Club was voted the seventh-best golf facility by Golf Worlds’ Readers Choice Awards.
The 2014-15 ETSU roster features two seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and two freshman.
Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales) and Tom Heggarty (Cheshire, England) are the two seniors, while Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.), Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) and Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland) make up the junior class. The underclassmen features sophomore Mateusz Gradecki (Oborniki Śląskie, Poland) and freshmen Cayman Ratliff (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Conor Rodrigues (Kingston, Ontario, Canada).
Hickman looks to build off his successful summer tour as the Buccaneer junior won three tournaments – the Delaware State Golf Association Amateur Championship, Delaware Open and Eastern Amateur. Last season, Hickman played in all 13 tournaments for the Blue and Gold, posting a pair of top-10 finishes.
Meanwhile, Meronk looks to build off his strong run at the World Amateur Team Championship, where he finished tied for 29th at 10-under-par 276. Meronk received second team All-Atlantic Sun honors in 2013-14, while also earning all-region accolades by PING.
Gradecki, who was Meronk’s teammate for Poland at the World Amateur Team Championship, played in 12 of the 13 tournaments last year for ETSU. Gradecki finished at 5-under-par 281 in Japan, while his best collegiate finish last year came at the A-Sun Championship where he placed 22nd.
Like Hickman, Pugh also had a busy summer as he played in the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur Championships. Pugh led the Blue and Gold with a 72.8 stroke average and posted a team-best six top-10 finishes, including a season-best fourth-place showing at the General Hackler Championship – where he shot a 2-over-par 218. The Buccaneer senior was also named second team All A-Sun and A-Sun All-Academic.
Kristjansson, one of the three juniors on ETSU’s roster, appeared in all 13 tournaments for the Bucs in 2013-14. Kristjansson put together a pair of top-10 finishes, including a second-place finish at the Wolfpack Intercollegiate.
Ratliff, a Sullivan South High School product, won the 2013 Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the fourth champion to play for Coach Warren. In addition, Ratliff also won the 2014 East Tennessee Amateur Championship and qualified for the U.S. Public Links Championship this summer.
Rodrigues was 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 Buccaneer newcomer was a five-time Golf MVP and was runner-up at the AJGA/CJGA Junior Championship.
Heggarty is one of two seniors on the team and this marks his fourth season in the Blue and Gold. Heggarty has played in 19 tournaments at ETSU.
Live scoring of the tournament can be accessed via BirdieFire.com.
Recaps of each round will be posted on ETSUBucs.com.
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For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.