Bucs return to action Sunday in Puerto Rico

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Puerto Rico Classic begins Sunday and ends Tuesday

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (Feb. 16, 2013) – Coming off a sixth-place finish two weeks ago in its spring opener at the Sea Best Invitational, the ETSU men’s golf team looks to improve on that performance when the Bucs return to action at the Puerto Rico Classic. The three-day tournament begins Sunday at 8 a.m., from the Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS

ETSU made its spring debut two weeks ago at the Sea Best Invitational and placed sixth in the 15-team field, which was played at the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. The freshmen duo of Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) and Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.) registered top-10 finishes.

Meronk tied for third with Winthrop’s Kyle Bearden at 3-over-par (71-74-74—219), while Hickman – who shot a 1-under 71 in the final round – finished in a four-way tie for ninth at 7-over 223. It marked the top placing by both Buccaneer golfers in their young careers, as Meronk tied for 13th in his last two tournaments to finish the fall season and Hickman’s previous best finish came at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate when he tied for 37th.

ABOUT THE THIS WEEK’S TOURNAMENT

- The 14-team field, which is hosted by Purdue University, is considered one of the sport’s premier early-season tournaments. The teams will play 18 holes over the three-day span, with the individual and team champions being crowned on Tuesday.

 - Since its inception, six tournament champions have gone on to earn their PGA Tour card: Luke Donald (2000), Lucas Glover (2001), Troy Matteson (2002), Chris Kirk (2006) and Roberto Castro (2007).

 - Last year, Scott Gibson (Southerness, Scottland) generated a three-round scored of even-par 216, which tied him for 19th.

THE FIELD

The Bucs will be tested this week as the field features nine teams ranked in the top-50 of the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and six golfers in the top-30. Joining ETSU and the Boilermakers are No. 5 Alabama, Augusta State, No. 19 Clemson, East Tennessee State, No. 11 Georgia, No. 10 Georgia Tech, Michigan, No. 31 North Carolina, North Carolina State, No. 32 Northwestern, Ohio State, No. 42 Oklahoma, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 17 SMU and Virginia Tech. Meanwhile, reigning individual champion Justin Thomas of Alabama will return to defend his title.

THE COURSE

This week’s tournament will be played at the River Course which is a par-72, 6,902-yard course. The course was Greg Norman’s first Caribbean design and rolls along the Mameyes River. The format is ideal for players of all skill levels, as the course features wide fairways, open greens, shallow bunkers and light rough.

ETSU’S LINEUP

No changes have been made to the Buccaneer lineup as Meronk, Hickman and Gibson will be joined by sophomore Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales) and fellow freshman Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland).

COVERAGE

Fans can follow all the scoring live on Golfstat.com, while full recaps with scores will be available at ETSUBucs.com following each round.

TEXTCASTER

ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!

For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.

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