RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (Feb. 21, 2015) – Coming off a fall season that saw the Bucs post four top-five finishes – including a win at the Inverness Intercollegiate – the 33rd-ranked ETSU men’s golf team looks to build off those successes as the Blue and Gold open the spring campaign this weekend at the Puerto Rico Classic from the Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa’s River Course. The three-day tournament begins Sunday at 8 a.m. (ET).
A LOOK BACK AT THE FALL SEASON
ETSU was led by Adrian Meronk (Wroclaw, Poland) this fall as the Buccaneer junior paced the Bucs in all six tournaments.
Meronk opened the season with a win at the Inverness Intercollegiate and followed that up with another victory at the Wolfpack Intercollegiate a few weeks later. The Wroclaw, Poland native is coming off an eighth-place showing at the Jones Cup Invitational earlier this month and enters the spring season ranked 12th by Golfweek.
The Bucs began the year with a season-opening win at the Inverness Intercollegiate and also posted runner-up finishes at the Wolfpack Intercollegiate and Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate.
As a team, the Blue and Gold were ranked as high as 24th during the fall campaign.
Along with Meronk, senior Rhys Pugh (Pontypridd, Wales) and junior Chris Hickman (Centreville, Md.) put together a pair of top-10 finishes in the fall. Pugh tied for seventh at Inverness and tied for eighth at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, while Hickman tied for third at the Wolfpack Intercollegiate and registered a fourth-place performance the following weekend at the Bank of Tennessee.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
The Puerto Rico Classic will be 54 holes, with 18 holes being played on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, beginning at 8:00 a.m. with a shotgun start.
The event will be played at the Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa’s River Course (6,902 yards, Par 72).
Alabama, who has won four straight Puerto Rico Classic titles, returns to defend its title.
Former Buccaneer David Christensen tied for the individual title in 1999 at 11-under-par 205.
Since 1999, Purdue has hosted the Puerto Rico Classic. Some of the PGA Tour’s top players have won the event including Kevin Tway, Roberto Castro, Lucas Glover, Luke Donald and Alejandro Canizeres have all won titles during the 16-year history of the event.
Eight teams that have won the Puerto Rico Classic have also won or placed as the runner-up in the NCAA Championship.
Joining ETSU and Purdue in this year’s tournament are Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, UNCG, Oklahoma, Tulsa and Virginia Tech.
The 15-team field features three teams ranked in the top-10 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. Georgia Tech is No. 5, North Carolina is seventh and Alabama is ninth. In addition, six more teams are ranked in the top 50 – No. 21 Oklahoma, No. 29 Virginia Tech, No. 31 Clemson, No. 33 ETSU, No. 40 Georgia and No. 47 NC State.
Individually, six of the top 16 golfers will be competing in this week’s tournament.
Joining Meronk, Hickman and Pugh are Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland), and Mateusz Gradecki (Oborniki Śląskie, Poland).
ETSU’s lineup features one senior, three juniors and a sophomore.
The Bucs are paired with Clemson and Virginia Tech on Sunday.
Live scoring of the tournament can be accessed via BirdieFire.
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.