Rhys Enoch has decided to return to East Tennessee State’s golf team for his final year of eligibility.
Enoch, previously an All-American, graduated in the spring while red-shirting from golf competition because of a shoulder injury. There was some question as to whether he’d return or stay in Wales and prepare to turn professional. He confirmed this week that he’s coming back to school.
“I am currently returning to ETSU for one more year,” Enoch said. “I’m looking forward to leading a talented bunch of youngsters this year into some success. I think we are going to do well this year.”
Enoch almost made the field for the British Open. He missed out on a playoff for a spot by one stroke in final qualifying. With only three spots available for the 70 amateur and professional golfers competing, Enoch shot 68 and 66, but wound up tied for fifth.
“Having Rhys Enoch back will help us a lot,” ETSU coach Fred Warren said. “He’s a fifth-year senior, a returning All-American. He has developed into a really good team leader. He’s a great young man.”
Enoch won’t be the only Rhys on the Bucs’ roster. Rhys Pugh, the Welsh junior player of the year, has signed and will start at ETSU this fall as part of a five-man freshman class.
Enoch and Pugh represented Wales in the European Team Amateur Championships. Pugh won the Irish Amateur this summer.
“He’s a good player,” Warren said. “I’m looking forward to having him on the team.”
ETSU has a chance to have three players on the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team this year. Michael Stewart, who played for the Bucs for two years, is a lock after winning the Scottish Amateur and South African Amateur. Pugh is considered a favorite to make the team as well, while Enoch is still being considered.
If Pugh stays at ETSU for four years, Warren will have had a player with the first name of Rhys on his team for 12 years of a 38-year head-coaching career. It all began with Rhys Davies.
ETSU’s Devin Komline successfully defended his Vermont State Amateur championship.
Komline, who will be a senior this year, came from behind with a spectacular final day to win by eight strokes. He posted rounds of 68 and 69 during the 36-hole finale.
The Tri-Cities Amateur Tour points race is heating up.
Justin Harvey holds a slim lead over Carlson Cox in the regular division, while Mike Freels has a commanding advantage in the senior division. Freels, who shot a final-round 66 to win the Lonesome Pine Invitational seniors has 102 points. Second-place J.R. Smith has 67.
Harvey has 121 points, while Cox has 115.5.
Chase Kress won the Lonesome Pine Invitational last weekend in a playoff with Brandon Worley.
Kress, who started the final round five strokes out of the lead, shot a 64 at the par-71 course in Big Stone Gap, Va., on Sunday to get into the playoff. He birdied the first playoff hole to win.
Worley had birdied the 18th hole in regulation to force the playoff.
The Lonesome Pine Invitational is part of the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour.
There are four events left on the schedule, beginning with this weekend’s Ridgefields Invitational, which has been shortened to 36 holes after being competed over 54 holes for years.
After Ridgefields, the tour goes to the rescheduled Graysburg Amateur (and Senior Amateur) on July 30-31 before heading to Tazewell for the Woodlake Invitational Aug. 13-14.
The tour’s final event is the Tri-Cities Amateur Championship, scheduled for Aug. 27-28 at Blackthorn Club at the Ridges. Entries are currently being accepted. For an entry form, go to www.tricitiesgolf.org.
The leaders on the points list will qualify to play in the Food City Cup Matches, pitting a team of amateurs against local club professionals in a Ryder Cup-like competition. That is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville.
Joe Avento is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.