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Bucs finish strong at Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate

Douglas Fritz • Updated Oct 15, 2017 at 7:03 PM

East Tennessee State couldn’t catch the juggernaut that was Penn State, but the Buccaneers didn’t leave the golf course without some positives in their bags.

The Bucs finished at 7-under for the three-day Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, finishing in a tie for seventh place Sunday at the Blackthorn Club.

“The last two days, the positives overwhelmingly were good,” said ETSU head coach Fred Warren. “Our first two tournaments we hadn’t played as well as expected. But obviously we played well (Saturday), and we played a solid round today. The wind was tough.

“Overall it’s not where we want it to be, but there are still a lot of positives. I’m proud of our guys for fighting back after the first day.”

The Bucs were 24 strokes off the pace of the Nittany Lions, who finished at 833, nine shots ahead of Kent State. Louisville was third at 843.

Penn State didn’t get the individual title, however. Missouri’s Hayden Buckley shot a 67 to finish at 199 (1-under par for the tournament). Buckley was three strokes better than Penn State’s J.D. Hughes, who shot at 68 Sunday. Charles Huntzinger of Penn State finished third.

One of the positives Warren mentioned was freshman Jack Rhea. The former Science Hill standout shot a 71 to finish at 10-under par for the tournament. That was good enough for a fourth-place tie with UNCW’s Patrick Cover.

“I left a few out there today,” said Rhea. “But (this tournament) was good overall.”

Rhea said he wasn’t quite as crisp Sunday.

“I was definitely a little less on point than (Saturday)” said Rhea. “I hit the ball a lot better (Saturday), and had a lot more looks at birdie. Today was a little more of an up-and-down round. I had to get up and down and make five- and six-footers for par.”

The wind was a factor late, said Rhea.

“The wind really picked up the last four to five holes, especially on 17,” said Rhea. “The wind affected my putting. I missed like a three-footer. It was not easy out there today.”

ETSU’s next highest finisher was Shiso Go, who was tied for 20th at 214 (2-under par).

Warren said his team should carry momentum into next weekend’s tournament, which is a big one.

“We should take confidence away from this,” said Warren. “I’d be surprised if we don’t. We leave Wednesday for the Georgia Tech tournament, which is the strongest college golf tournament in the fall, without any question. It’s the 800-pound gorilla.”

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