ETSU's Davies leads individuals at Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges
Junior Rhys Davies currently leads the field heading into Sunday play.
Junior Rhys Davies currently leads the field heading into Sunday play.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

 

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (Oct. 15, 2005) - South Carolina men's golf coach Puggy Blackmon took advantage of fall break to bring his team to Johnson City on Thursday for an extra practice round prior to this weekend's Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges. Apparently, the extra preparation paid off.

 

The Gamecocks fired a two-round team score of 6-under-par 570 to take a four-stroke lead over North Carolina heading into Sunday's third and final round. Just 14 strokes separate South Carolina, North Carolina, TCU, ETSU and Kent State, the top five teams on the leaderboard.

 

"We've (come up early) before and played terrible," said Blackmon. "Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We pretty much played solid today and that's with a team comprised of three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior."

 

South Carolina's lead is precarious at best, especially considering ETSU is lurking just eight strokes back and playing on their home course. Bolstered by the best individual effort of the day thanks to junior Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales), the Bucs will go into the final day with a shot at their first-ever victory in the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges.

 

Davies, one of the top-ranked players in the college game, fired rounds of 68 and 69, and holds a two-stroke advantage over South Carolina's Florian Fritsch on the individual leaderboard. Davies impressive day came despite bogeys on two of his final three holes.

 

"At the moment I've got a bad taste in my mouth, but I did play some good golf today," said Davies, who actually put together a nice string of five birdies on seven holes in the second round and was 9-under at one point. "You have to take the rough with the smooth. Leading is pleasing and that's what you set out to do when you start the day, so I'm happy with that."

 

Davies, who could become the first ETSU player to ever win the tournament's top individual honor, got solid efforts from his teammates on Saturday. Sophomore Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) is currently tied for 10th at even-par 144, while freshman Adam Hodkinson (Dore, England) is tied for 25th after posting a 4-over-par 148. Sophomore Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) is currently tied for 45th, while freshman Jordan Findlay (Fraserburgh, Scotland) is tied for 53rd.

 

 Final round play will begin Sunday with the first tee times scheduled for 8 a.m. The top five teams will begin play between 8:45 and 10:06. For complete live scoring, visit Golfstat.com and click on the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges link, or visit ETSUBucs.com for a complete wrap-up of the day's play.

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