O’AHU ISLAND, Hawaii. (Oct. 30, 2019) – The ETSU Buccaneers men’s golf team capped off the 2019 fall schedule with a win in Hawaii, claiming the inaugural Hoakalei CC Collegiate Invitational on Wednesday afternoon with a final-round score of 15-under-par 273. The Bucs distanced themselves from the rest of the field following the second-lowest round of the tournament, outlasting No. 41-ranked Ole Miss (-20) by nine strokes. The Bucs began the day in a tie with Louisville at 14-under-par until ETSU caught fire and recorded a 29-under-par 835 for the event.
“I am really happy for the guys today,” stated head coach Jake Amos. “This was a business trip and there was a reason we didn’t bring an individual like most teams did. We came here to win and we wanted to win both the individual and the team championship and that is what we accomplished today. We have a really good group of guys who pulled together when it was needed. The team arrived in Hawaii with motivation after a poor finish at Georgia Tech despite the guys playing well. We just didn’t have it all there in Georgia.”
“The guys were aggressive this week and today’s round was impressive playing in by far the hardest weather conditions. Some of the guys woke up early and worked out to get ready for today. They came out so hot today and you saw it in the scores. Jack really set the tone early and he had a massive round after struggling the first two days. He was patient today and wanted to go low and was able to continue his great fall semester. Shiso was amazing all week long. He didn’t play well in the practice round but he was not phased by it. He stuck to his game plan and did not make many mistakes at all. Shiso was a machine all week long and the last few holes played tough today but it was nothing to Shiso. Overall it was a team effort and we are glad we got the revenge against Louisville. Now we will go home and enjoy a little time in the offseason and then get back to work outs and try to get better for the spring.”
The Bucs were led in the tournament by Shiso Go (Kanagawa, Japan) who recorded his second collegiate individual championship. Go finished the tournament with a 14-under-par 202, earning his first individual win since claiming the 2019 Southern Conference individual title. The Japan native began the tournament with a bogey-free 6-under-par 66 in the opening round to sit in second place. Go then took over in first place following a second round 2-under-par 70. The ETSU junior capped off the tournament with yet another bogey-free 6-under-par 66 to run away with the event. Go started his final round on hole one and moved to 1-under-par following a birdie on the par-3 third hole. The Japan native then recorded pars on the next two holes before another birdie on No. 6 moved him to 2-under-par. Go wrapped up the front nine with yet another birdie, making the turn at 3-under-par 33. Go played the final nine holes at 3-under-par with birdies on No. 11, No. 15 and a final birdie on No. 18 to finish 6-under-par 66 for the day. Go’s win marked his third Top 10 finish of the fall season.
As Coach Amos said, the Bucs received a big boost from Jack Rhea (Jonesborough, Tenn.) who began the day at 1-over-par through the first two rounds. In a span of 18 holes, Rhea was able to jump 31 spots into a tie for ninth place after a 7-under-par 65. Rhea was able to finish inside the Top 10 for the third time this fall. Rhea’s 65 in the final round was the second-lowest round of the event, falling one stroke shy of tying UMKC’s Paul Foulquie who fired a final-round 8-under-par 64. Rhea began his round on hole No. 2 with a birdie on the par-5 and did not look back. Rhea logged three more birdies in the next seven holes to advance to 4-under-par. After making the turn, the Tennessee native collected back-to-back birdies on No. 10 and No. 11, quickly jumping to 6-under-par. Rhea connected on two more birdies on the back nine to card a 4-under-par 32 back nine. Eyeing the lowest tournament score, Rhea posted his only blunder of the day with a bogey on the final hole of the day. Rhea set the tone for the Bucs as he made his way up the leaderboard in a hurry.
Trevor Hulbert (Orlando, Fla.) posted his lowest round of the season with a 3-under-par 69 on the final day, advancing 21 spots into a tie for 19th. Like Rhea, Hulbert started on hole No. 2 and quickly jumped into red figures with a birdie on the opening hole. The Florida native then logged four consecutive pars before finishing with a pair of birdies in the final three holes on the front nine to advance to 3-under-par. Hulbert turned to the back nine and cooled off, while maintaining his red figures. Hulbert played the back nine at 1-under-par 35 with one birdie and eight pars. Looking for a bogey-free round of his own, Hulbert stumbled on the final hole of the day, carding a bogey on the par-4 first hole.
The final score of the day came from Austin Carter (Kingsport, Tenn.) who provided a steady hand for the Bucs. Carter began his final round on hole No. 3 and jumped to 1-under-par after a birdie on No. 4. Three holes later, Carter tallied another birdie on the par-4 seventh hole. The Tennessee junior fell to even-par with a double bogey on No. 11. Carter later traded a birdie on No. 16 with a bogey on No. 17 to remain at even-par. Carter’s final stroke differential was a bogey on the par-4 first hole, finishing with a 1-over-par 73. Carter’s 73 in the first and third round of the tournament are the season lows for the ETSU junior.
The Bucs left Hawaii as champions in the inaugural Hoakalei CC Collegiate Invitational, outlasting both Ole Miss and Louisville. ETSU edged the Rebels by nine strokes, while defeating 10th-ranked Louisville (-19) by 10 strokes. The Bucs were able to avenge their home tournament loss with the win against the Cardinals.
Go (-14) laid claim to the individual championship, fending off four golfers who were tied at 9-under-par. UMKC’s Paul Foulquie carded the lowest round of the tournament with a final-round 64 (-8) to jump 22 spots into second. Foulquie tied with Louisville’s Keegan DeLange, Cal State Fullerton’s Derek Castillo and San Diego’s Donald Kay.
The Bucs will return to action in the spring when ETSU travels to Tallahassee, Fla. to take part in the Seminole Intercollegiate from Feb. 22-23.