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ALPHARETTA, Ga. (Oct. 16, 2014) – Coming off consecutive runner-up finishes, the 24th-ranked ETSU men’s golf team returns to action this weekend as the Bucs open play at the U.S. Collegiate Championship on Friday at the Golf Club of Georgia.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU finished second at the rain-shortened Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate last weekend at the Blackthorn Club.
After sitting through weather delays the first two days, the tournament was called after second-round play finished on Sunday due to more rain that hit the Tri-Cities region. The Blue and Gold finished with a two-round score of 13-under-par 563 (281-282), and were five shots back of tournament champion and 9th-ranked Wake Forest.
Junior Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) led the Bucs for the fourth straight tournament as he placed third at 6-under-par 138 (70-68), while fellow junior Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.) and senior Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales) also posted top-10 finishes. Hickman tied for fourth at 5-under-par 139 (69-70) and Pugh tied for eighth at 3-under-par 141 (70-71).
As a team, ETSU registered four eagles in the tournament. Meronk recorded a pair in the second round, while Hickman and Pugh each posted one in the opening round.
Senior Tom Heggarty (Cheshire, England), who was playing as an individual, tied for 12th at 2-under-par 142 (73-69), marking his best collegiate finish.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
Often referred to as “the Masters of college golf,” the USCC has in nine years become the most prestigious regular season event on the schedule and is regularly voted on by the players as their favorite tournament.
The USCC is unique among all college golf tournaments, with Corporate Skyboxes around the 18th green, caddies for each player and mandatory long pants for the competitors. Additionally, there are no gallery ropes, with fans allowed to walk in the fairway behind the players, in the style of the Ryder Cup or Walker Cup Matches.
The tournament, which features 15 teams, will be played Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Lakeside Course (par 72, 7,017 yards). Georgia Tech is the tournament host.
Teams will begin play from No. 1 and No. 10 on Friday, starting at 9 a.m. Play continues with round two Saturday morning (9 a.m.) and concludes with the final round Sunday (8:30 a.m.).
Former team champions participating this weekend include: Clemson (2006 and 2009), Georgia Tech (2010 and 2012), UCLA (2011) and Oklahoma State (2013).
Oklahoma State won the 2013 team title, while Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans won the individual championship. Schniederjans, the nation's top-ranked amateur, returns to defend his title.
Joining ETSU and Georgia Tech in the tournament field are Auburn, Clemson, Iowa, Kent State, LSU, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, Virginia, Wake Forest and Washington.
Ten of the 15 teams are ranked in the top-25 of the Golfstat or Golfweek rankings. The 10 teams include Stanford (No. 3), UCLA (No. 5), LSU (No. 6), Auburn (No. 8), Texas (No. 9 by Golfstat), Wake Forest (No. 9 by Golfweek), Georgia Tech (No. 13), Washington (No. 20), ETSU (No. 24) and Virginia (No. 25).
Individually, eight golfers are ranked in the top-25 of the Golfstat rankings, while seven are in the top-25 of the Golfweek standings – including the top three in Washington’s Cheng Tsung Pan, Stanford's Maverick McNealy and Georgia Tech's Ollie Schniederjans.
Meronk is ranked No. 19 by Golfweek and No. 21 by Golfstat.
The Bucs will send out the same lineup they used at last weekend’s Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate. Joining Meronk, Hickman and Pugh are sophomore Mateusz Gradecki (Oborniki Śląskie, Poland) and junior Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland).
ETSU is paired with Wake Forest and Iowa on Friday.
The Blue and Gold tee off from No. 10 Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Live scoring for all three rounds will be available on Golfstat and on the USCC website.
Recaps will be available for all three days on ETSUBucs.com.
Twitter updates can be accessed by following @ETSUAthletics.
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For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.