PINEHURST, N.C. (April 18, 2015) – The ETSU men’s golf team begins its run for an 18th Southern Conference Championship (23rd overall conference title) this weekend in Pinehurst, N.C. The three-day, 54-hole conference championship gets underway Sunday morning at Pinehurst No. 9.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
The 40th-ranked Buccaneers earned their second team tournament title of the season as ETSU won the Greenbrier Collegiate Invitational by one stroke over Eastern Kentucky when Tuesday’s final round was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Buccaneers finished with a two-round score of 6-over-par 566, marking the first time since 2010 the Blue and Gold won multiple team titles.
In addition to the team championship, ETSU junior Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland) won medalist honors for the second time this year as he shared the individual title with EKU’s Jared Brown and Elon’s Jonathan Dilanni at 3-under-par 137. Following the win, Kristjansson earned SoCon General Shale Student-Athlete of the Week honors on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, junior Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) – who was named to the European Palmer Cup Team on Friday – finished fifth at 1-under-par 139, while sophomore Mateusz Gradecki (Oborniki Śląskie, Poland) tied for 17th at 4-over-par 144.
ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP
The eight SoCon teams will play 18 holes each on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The opening round gets underway at 8 a.m., while the champion will be crownded on Tuesday.
This will be the second straight year the tournament is played at the par-72, 7,091-yard Jack Nicklaus Signature course, which was known as the National Golf Club last year.
The teams will be competing for the league title and an automatic bid to the NCAA regionals. The 2014 champion, Georgia Southern, departed the SoCon at the end of the academic year.
The individual medalist will also earn an automatic regional qualification if he is not on the winning team. Western Carolina’s J.T. Poston is the defending individual SoCon champion, as he claimed his first league title with a 10-under 206 as a junior in 2014 en route to being named the SoCon Player of the Year.
ETSU has won a SoCon-best 17 team titles and 22 overall conference championships in program history. The Bucs are looking for their first conference championship since winning the 2010 Atlantic Sun title, while ETSU’s last SoCon win came in 2005 – its final year in the league before returning this season. The win also marked head coach Fred Warren’s 12th SoCon title, breaking the 54-year-old SoCon record of 11 championships held by longtime Duke golf coach Ellis “Dumpy” Hagler.
In addition to the 22 team titles, 17 Buccaneers have combined for 20 individual medalist honors – 12 SoCon, four A-Sun and four OVC. Seamus Power, who won two A-Sun Championships, is the last ETSU golfer to win medalist honors at a conference championship – his last coming in 2010.
Eight SoCon teams – ETSU, Furman, Mercer, UNCG, Samford, Chattanooga, Western Carolina and Wofford – will be competing for the league title and an automatic bid to the NCAA regionals.
Four teams are ranked in the top-100 nationally – ETSU (No. 40), Chattanooga (No. 71), UNCG (No. 79) and Mercer (No. 83).
ETSU, UNCG and Wofford each won tournament titles during the regular season, with the Bucs and Terriers each winning one in the fall and one in the spring.
Meronk (No. 18) and Poston (No. 46) are both ranked in the top-50.
Joining Kristjansson, Meronk and Gradecki are seniors Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales) and Tom Heggaraty (Cheshire, England).
ETSU’s lineup features two seniors, two juniors and one sophomore.
Meronk has led the Bucs in nine of their 11 tournaments this season, while Kristjansson paced ETSU in the other two outings as he won both tournaments(Seminole Intercollegiate and Greenbrier Collegiate Invitational). Meronk also has two wins under his belt this year as he won the Inverness Intercollegiate and Wolfpack Intercollegiate.
ETSU will be paired with Mercer on Sunday, and the Bucs tee off at from No. 10 at 8:20 a.m. on Sunday.
Fans can follow all the scoring on Golfstat.
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For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.