TOLEDO, Ohio (Sept. 23, 2014) – For the third time in the last year-and-a-half and the 47th time under the watch of head coach Fred Warren, the ETSU men’s golf team captured a tournament title as the Bucs held off top-ranked South Florida to win the Inverness Intercollegiate on Tuesday. The Bucs made it a clean sweep as junior Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) won his first collegiate event by firing an even-par 213 (73-70-70) in the two-day tournament at the Inverness Golf Club.
ETSU and South Florida entered the final round tied for first at 11-over, but the Bucs quickly moved into sole possession of the lead at the beginning of the round and never relinquished the top spot. In the end, the Blue and Gold defeated the Bulls – who entered the week as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings – by two strokes, 878 to 880. The Bucs carded a 15-over-par 299 on Tuesday, becoming the 10th different team to win the tournament, which has been in existence for 11 years.
“It’s nice to start the season with a win,” said coach Warren. “I am proud of Adrian. It has been a while since we swept both the team and individual titles. Overall, we played well on a tough course. The course was set up as a major championship and it was a good test for our guys. We took some bumps and bruises, but we also did a lot of great things this week. The field featured a lot of strong teams and it was good experience to be in contention early.”
Overall, ETSU had three players finish in the top 15, while Meronk became the first Buccaneer to win an individual title since Rhys Enoch claimed a share of the 2010 NCAA Regional Championship. Meronk, who was coming off a very strong showing at the World Amateur Team Championship, posted his second straight round of 1-under-par 70 on Tuesday and won the tournament by three strokes over UAB’s Lee Hodges. Meronk’s previous best collegiate finish was back in 2013 when the Buccaneer tied for third at the Sea Best Invitational. Overall, Meronk tallied nine birdies for the tournament and led all players in par-4 scoring at even-par.
“It feels great to win both the team and individual championships today,” said Meronk. “I was consistent all tournament and was pleased with my performance. I made a lot of good putts and my short game was working well. It was a tough course, but I felt good coming in after playing well at the World Amateur. It’s a great way to start the season.”
Joining Meronk in the top 10 was Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales), as the Buccaneer senior tied for seventh at 6-over-par 219 (67-77-75). Pugh was one of eight golfers to record an eagle in the tournament and he also tied for first among the field in par-5 scoring (4.33).
The Bucs also used the scores of juniors Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland) and Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.). Kristjansson led all ETSU golfers with 11 birdies for the tournament and finished 15th at 10-over 223 (76-71-76), while Hickman tied for 27th at 16-over 229 (71-76-82).
Over the past year-and-a-half, ETSU has also won the Wolfpack Intercollegiate (October 2013) and the Wofford Invitational (April 2013).
Of the 12 teams in the tournament field, seven (including ETSU) appeared in the NCAAs last year.
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.
ETSU looks to continue its success this weekend as the Bucs remain in the Buckeye state for the Jack Nicklaus Invitational, which gets underway Sunday in Columbus.
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For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.