Tuesday, April 19, 2005



            DAVIDSON, N.C. (April 19, 2005) - Powered by a dominating individual effort from sophomore Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales), the East Tennessee State University men's golf team said goodbye to the Southern Conference in style Tuesday at the River Run Country Club, finishing three strokes ahead of second-place Georgia Southern and capturing their 12th SoCon Championship in the last 17 years.


            Davies, the country's No. 3-ranked player, fired a 4-under-par 68 on Tuesday to finish at 8-under for the tournament and garner the individual championship by an impressive 10 strokes over Furman's Chris Gilliland. As a team, the Bucs finished at 1-under 287 in the third and final round, and posted a team score of 10-over 874 for the tournament.


            "I'm probably as proud of this win as any of the others we've had here because our guys really came through and played great today," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren, who set a SoCon record with his 12th tournament title at ETSU. "We've had a lot of adversity this season, but this erases all of that. Just looking at the scores we put up there today, everyone came through. Rhys was especially good, but Cian (McNamara), Gareth (Shaw), Cennydd (Mills) and Stephen (Arnold) all gave us something during the tournament."


            The Buccaneers, who have been the SoCon's dominant men's golf program over the last two decades, had not won a conference championship since 2001. However, after now finally returning to the top this season, the ETSU program will be leaving the SoCon for the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2005-06.


            Davies, who has won four tournament titles this season and has finished in the Top 5 in seven of nine events, said this championship is one of the highlights of his career.


            "Obviously, this is really pleasing because it was our last tournament in this conference and it's a nice way to go out," said Davies, who also garnered the SoCon Player of the Year honor and first-team All-SoCon selection on Tuesday. "I had a substantial lead going into the last round, so I was more concerned with trying to help our team win."


            Indeed, the victory was a complete team effort, as freshman Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) finished tied in 11th at 7-over-par for the championship, while senior Cennydd Mills (Cardiff, Wales) and freshman Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) both finished tied for 20th. In fact, Mills fired a 1-under-par 71 in the final round to help lift the Buc spirits early, and Arnold overcame his struggles on the first day of the tournament to post a strong 2-over-par 74 on the final day.


            Warren said he is proud of the tradition the Bucs leave behind in the SoCon - a tradition that includes a conference record 17 championships in all.


"Someone's going to have to win a lot if they want to catch our number," Warren said. "That's something to be proud of."


1. ETSU 297-298-287=882
Team Results
2. Georgia Southern 302-298-285=885
3. Davidson 292-302-296=890
4. UNC Greensboro 301-297-296=894
Chattanooga 298-297-299=894
6. Furman 307-301-290=898
7. Western Carolina 314-291-297=902
8. Elon 307-300-297=904
9. Charleston 307-308-300=915
10. Appalachian State 312-312-309=933
11. Wofford 328-313-294=935
12. The Citadel 339-310-317=966
Individual Results
1. Rhys Davies, ETSU 68-72-68=208
2. Chris Gilliland, Furman 78-72-68=218
3. Steve Mayo, Davidson 71-74-74=219
Tim Dillon, Davidson 72-76-71=219
5. Matt Cook, W.Carolina 77-72-71=220
David Palm, Ga. Southern 77-75-68=220
ETSU Results
1. Rhys Davies 68-72-68=208
T11. Cian McNamara 74-75-74=223
T20. Cennydd Mills 79-76-71=226
T20. Gareth Shaw 76-75-75=226
T54. Steve Arnold 94-78-74=246