PINEHURST, N.C. (April 21, 2018) – After leading wire-to-wire to claim last year’s Southern Conference Championship, the ETSU men’s golf team goes for its fourth straight conference crown and 26th overall championship in program history as the Buccaneers begin their title defense on Sunday morning at Pinehurst No. 9.
ABOUT THE BUCS
The Buccaneers put together a strong finish in leading up to the conference championship as the Blue and Gold won the Wofford Invitational on April 10 and finished in the top-five at last weekend’s Mason Rudolph Championship.
Following the results at its last two tournaments, ETSU moved to No. 75 in the Golfstat rankings.
Junior Geantae Kim (Daegu, South Korea)won his second collegiate tournament at the Wofford Invitational as he overcame a seven-shot deficit in the final round en route to winning by two strokes with a 54-hole score of 11-under-par 205.
Kim – who went on to earn SoCon Golfer of the Week and Student-Athlete of the Week honors following the win in Spartanburg, S.C. – boasts the fifth-best scoring average in the conference at 72.86.
Freshman Shiso Go (Kanagawa, Japan) has generated the second-best scoring average in the SoCon at 72.41, while the Bucs are the only team in the league to have five golfers rank in the top-16 in scoring average among SoCon golfers … Trevor Hulbert (Orlando, Fla.) is 11th (73.35), Kevin Burns (Canton, Ga.)is 13th (73.53) and Jack Rhea (Jonesborough, Tenn.)is 16th (73.97).
The Bucs have posted seven top-10 finishes this season and are the only team in the conference to win a tournament (Wofford Invitational).
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
The SoCon Championship is a three-day, 54-hole tournament that will be played at Pinehurst No. 9 … This will be the fifth straight year the tournament is played at the par-72, 7,122-yard Jack Nicklaus Signature course.
This year’s event will be the 11th SoCon Championship played in Pinehurst. The event was also held in Pinehurst in 1937, 1939, 1948, 1969 and 1979-80, all on famed No. 2.
Teams will play 18 holes each day with the champion being crowned on Tuesday … Play begins Sunday at 8 a.m.
ETSU has won three straight conference championships and own the SoCon record with 20 titles … Overall, the Bucs have won 25 conference championships in program history (20 SoCon, 3 OVC and 2 ASUN).
ETSU won last year’s title by eight strokes over UNCG, which has finished runner-up to the Bucs in each of the last three years … Geuntae Kim and UNCG’s Jonathan Brightwell were tied atop the individual leaderboard after 54 holes last season, but Kim won a sudden-death playoff for medalist honors … Kim became the second straight Buccaneer to win medalist honors, while joining a list of 13 Buccaneers to win an individual SoCon title and becoming the 22nd conference tournament medalist in program history.
Should ETSU make it four titles in a row, the Bucs would be the first team to do so since they also accomplished the feat from 1998-2001, and it would be just the fifth in league history. Duke won a record eight straight from 1935-42 and ETSU claimed five consecutively from 1979-83. The Bucs also won four straight from 1989-92, part of a stretch of 11 crowns in 13 years.
Seven players that finished in the top 10 at last year’s SoCon Championship are in the 2018 field, with Kim and Hulbert joining that group … Hulbert finished third at last year’s championship.
The Southern Conference Men’s Golf Championship boasts a rich history. Dating back to 1933, the tournament has produced winners such as Wake Forest’s Arnold Palmer (1948 and 1949) and Furman’s Brad Faxon (1983), both SoCon Hall-of-Famers, and current PGA TOUR pros Stephan Jaeger of Chattanooga (2012), J.T. Poston of Western Carolina (2014 and 2015) and William McGirt of Wofford (2001).
The league’s eight teams – ETSU, Furman, Mercer, UNCG, Samford, Chattanooga, Western Carolina and Wofford – will be competing for the SoCon tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA regionals. The individual medalist will also earn an automatic regional qualification if he is not on the winning team.
ETSU is the top-ranked league team in the Golfstat rankings at No. 75, followed by UNCG (98) and Chattanooga (103) … UNCG is ranked 95th in the Golfweek ratings and Chattanooga is No. 100.
ETSU’s lineup this week includes Shiso Go, Geuntae Kim, Trevor Hulbert, Jack Rhea and Austin Carter (Kingsport, Tenn.).
The Bucs’ lineup features one junior, one sophomore and three freshmen.
ETSU is grouped with UNCG in the first round, and tees off from the No. 1 Sunday morning at 8:45.
Live scoring for all three rounds will be provided via Golfstat.
Recaps and scores will be posted on ETSUBucs.com following each round, while Twitter updates can be accessed by following @ETSU_MGolf.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.