TOLEDO, Ohio (Sept. 22, 2014) – Playing in its first tournament of the season, the ETSU men’s golf team got off to a strong start as the Bucs had four golfers finish in the top-13, and the Blue and Gold are tied for first following the first two rounds of the Inverness Intercollegiate on Monday.
Junior Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) led the Bucs as he sits in fourth-place entering Tuesday’s final round at 1-over-par 143 (73-70). Meronk totaled a pair of birdies in the opening round and followed that up with four birdies in the second round, including three straight on No. 16, 17 and 18 to move up the leaderboard.
Meanwhile, senior Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales), who was atop the leaderboard for the majority of the first two rounds, finished the day in a three-way tie for fifth at 2-over-par 144 (67-77). Pugh finished the first round at 4-under after recording an eagle, six birdies and four bogeys; however, the Welshman only tallied one birdie in round two en route to carding his 6-over 77 in round two.
“Overall we played well and did a lot of good things in the first two rounds of our season opener,” said head coach Fred Warren. “We started the day strong and put up some good scores. It feels good to be in contention and we look forward to the final round tomorrow.”
The Bucs are tied with South Florida – who is currently ranked No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings – at 11-over-par 579 (285-294). ETSU had an eight shot lead after carding a 1-over 285 in the first round, but the Bucs came back to the field and USF pulled even with the Blue and Gold following the second round. The Bulls finished at 2-over 286 in round two, while ETSU ended at 10-over 294. Both the Bucs and USF have a 12-stroke cushion over Yale and UAB, who are tied for third at 23-over-par 591.
Mernok enters the final round one shot off the lead as there’s a three-way tie at even-par 142. Kent State’s Chase Johnson and Sebastian Bendsen, along with USF’s Claudio Correa Black all hold a share the individual lead.
Juniors Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.) and Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland) are tied for 13th at 5-over-par 147. The Buccaneer upperclassmen flipped scores in the two rounds as Hickman posted an even-par 71 in the opener and followed that up with a 5-over 76 in round two. Kristjansson, who was 3-under after his first three holes in round one, went 76-71.
“The Inverness Golf Club is an outstanding course and it’s very challenging,” said Warren. “The greens are extremely fast and if you get above the hole it becomes difficult. Chris (Hickman) ran into trouble with that on a stretch of four straight holes in the second round, but he learned from it and finished strong. Gudmundur started the day well, but he also did a good job overcoming some adversity later in the day.”
The tournament field features eight teams that finished in the top-70 of the final Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings of the 2013-14 season.
ETSU tees off at 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, and will be paired with Michigan State and UAB in the final round.
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.
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