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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (June 1, 2007) - After two encouraging rounds that left the 14th-ranked ETSU men's golf team in contention at the NCAA Championships, the Buccaneers suffered an uncharacteristic third round, firing the day's highest score with a 14-over 294 to drop from a fourth-place standing at the start of the round and eventually missing the cut Friday at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club.
The Bucs - who stood at even par after two rounds - struggled through a day haunted by too many bogeys and an inability to sink putts when birdie opportunities arose. Eventually, the team finished 18th on the team leaderboard, missing out by three strokes on a chance to participate in a playoff for the final two spots in the Top 15.
"It was a disappointing day, and I don't think anyone saw it coming because our guys were playing so well the last two days," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren, whose team finished 21st in the NCAA Championships a year ago. "Having all five not play that well was unexpected. Everyone struggled. Obviously, we wanted a chance to win tomorrow and making the cut is another objective, but you have to play well to do that. Today just was not our day.
The best ETSU score of the round came from sophomore Jordan Findlay (Fraserburgh, Scotland), who finished at 2-over 72. Meanwhile, senior Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales) and junior Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) both finished at 3-over 73, while freshman Seamus Power (Waterford, Ireland) and junior Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) finished at 76 and 78, respectively.
It was a disheartening end to Davies' career, which will be long remembered as the most prolific in the history of the ETSU men's golf program. A two-time, first-team All-American and two-time finalist for the Ben Hogan Award, Davies had his struggles as well on Friday but still finished the day appropriately with a birdie on his final hole.
"I just didn't have anything go well for me today," Davies said. "I've not been 100 percent confident in my driver for a while, but the first two days I was able to get some good success out of my wedge and putter. We had control of things after yesterday, but we handed it over today."
While the Bucs' season comes to an end, the team can look back on a successful campaign that included a Top 15 national ranking throughout the year, a No. 1 ranking for Davies midway through the season, an Atlantic Sun Conference championship victory, and a trip to the NCAA Championships. Most encouraging is the return of four of the team's five participants next year.
For more on ETSU men's golf throughout the offseason, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's golf link.