ETSU’s Rhys Enoch stood in a familiar position after the first round of the 2010 Atlantic Sun Men’s Golf Championships, tied for the lead, but his round started in a foreign spot, playing from the No. 5 position, and thus leading off.
He struck the first tee shot of the day off the first hole of The Legends Course at Chateau Elan and eventually birdied the hole, one of four he carded on the front side. He made three additional birdies on the second nine, but matching bogeys left the junior standing on 3-under and in sole possession of the lead. His teammate, Seamus Power, playing out of the No. 2 position matched Enoch as the Buccaneers jumped out to a nine-stroke lead after day one.
“It’s always important to lead by example,” Enoch said. “I actually quite enjoyed going out first. It was nice to be first on the course and set the pace. I was lucky to get off to some early birdies – six in the first 11.”
Head coach Fred Warren altered his lineup Sunday afternoon to put Enoch in the lead-off position. Warren recalled putting future PGA Tour winner Garrett Willis out first at the NCAA Championships because Willis played the fastest and even came to Warren requesting the position.
“Rhys is our highest ranked player; He was just named to Palmer Cup and we don’t always go in the order of who our best player is,” Warren said. “Sometimes it’s a feel, sometimes it’s how he finished in the last tournament, but in this case…all of our guys are playing pretty well. Rhys is a great player – one of the top players in college golf – so there wasn’t any grand scheme. They are just going out there and trying to play as well as they can.”
For Enoch, the strong start comes off the heels of finishes outside the top 20 in each of his last two events. Last week would have marked the birthday of his brother Ben, who had committed to join his brother at ETSU, but before having that chance, he died in a car crash in England.
“I’ve really struggled the last week because it was his birthday last week, so the last couple of tournaments I really haven’t been able to focus,” Enoch said. “I wrote my thoughts down [Sunday] night about how I missed him. It helped me focus on the golf course. I thought if perhaps if I could write them (his thoughts) down, then I can kind of say ‘that’s where I put them’ so I can clear my mind.”
Warren noticed Enoch’s struggles, citing the close bond the brothers shared.
“It’s been tough on Rhys and his parents,” Warren said. “The two brothers were very close and both very good players – Ben was going to come and play for us – and they were looking forward to that. It’s a tough time of the year for Rhys. None of us get through life without some pain, some are worse than others. Rhys is a young man, so it’s tough, but Ben will always be in our hearts and I’m sure glad Rhys is playing well.”