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ETSU golfers staying state for NCAA regional

Joe Avento • Updated May 4, 2017 at 3:17 PM

The East Tennessee State University men’s golf team will stay in state for the postseason.

The Bucs were assigned to the College Grove Regional of the NCAA tournament on Thursday and will play at The Grove, just south of Nashville, beginning May 15.

“For us, that’s the best scenario,” ETSU coach Fred Warren said. “Especially after the last three years.”

The Bucs have traveled to California, Oregon and Wisconsin for the last three regionals.

One ETSU player, Cayman Ratliff, has played the Grove course, during the Tennessee Junior Cup in 2013.

“We know it’s a very demanding course,” Warren said.

The top five teams and the top individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championship, scheduled for May 26-31 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The regionals are 54 holes.

ETSU is seeded 12th out of 13 teams at the College Grove site.

“We’re probably the underdog, but seeding is irrelevant,” Warren said. “We are where we are. We’ve actually played a little better recently. The seeding affects the pairings, but we still all start out the same and we all have a chance.”

The Bucs earned the Southern Conference’s automatic NCAA bid by winning the conference tournament last month in Pinehurst, North Carolina. It will be ETSU’s fourth consecutive appearance in the regionals and the school’s 26th overall NCAA appearance.

The Bucs will feature a lineup consisting of senior Mateusz Gradecki, the team’s No. 1 player, and Southern Conference individual champion Geuntae Kim. Also playing for the Bucs will be Ratliff, a junior, and freshmen Trevor Hulbert and Kevin Burns.

Southeastern Conference champion Vanderbilt is the top seed at ETSU’s regional. Texas Tech, Clemson, Georgia and Missouri are next. Also in the field are Atlantic Sun Conference teams Lipscomb and Kennesaw State.

Among the 10 players who qualified as individuals are Wofford’s Andrew Novak and Tennessee’s Lorenzo Scalise.

Last year, ETSU finished seventh at the Blackwolf Run (Wisconsin) Regional after shooting seven under par in the final round.

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