Monday, April 16, 2012

Enoch's Return Fuels ETSU on Day One

One stroke might not seem like a lot on the golf course, but for ETSU's Rhys Enoch it has served as a world of difference.

At the 2010 Atlantic Sun Championship, Enoch fired a 69 in the opening round at The Legends Club to tie teammate Seamus Powers for early lead. Enoch would go on to finish tied for sixth and help the Buccaneers to the program's second A-Sun title.

"We approach the A-Sun Championship like any other tournament and just go out there and try to do our best," ETSU Head Coach Fred Warren stated of his team's first-round performance. "Rhys is a very fine player and has picked up a couple win in his career."

As a junior, Enoch parlayed the top-10 conference finish to several honors over the next few months including; the NCAA East Regional individual medalist title, Ping All-America honors, a Top-35 NCAA Championship Finish and appearances in the presitigous Palmer Cup and British Amateur.

However, Enoch missed the 2011 A-Sun Championship due to an injury and was granted a redshirt as ETSU finished in fifth place and 16 strokes out of first place - both of which were program lows since joining the A-Sun

On Monday, Enoch teed off as a fifth-year senior with a wealth of experience and carded a four-under-par, 68, to land in a familiar spot at the top of the leaderboard with North Florida's Sean Dale.

"I knew there were birdies out there going into the championship and I was able to make six of them today," Enoch said. "I made a few bogeys, but I didn't panic and just stayed calm and finished with a few birdies late."

With six birdies in his opening 18 holes including four on the front nine, Enoch - the Bucs' lone senior - is well-versed on the links at the Legends Club and shared his wealth of knowledge with his younger teammates prior to the start of the conference championship. ETSU's line-up consists of Enoch, one sophomore and three freshmen.

"Only one of my teammates had played out here before and that was five or six years ago," Enoch in reference to the young Bucs' squad. "I told them where the problem holes were and where they should hit it. Most of all, I told them just to keep it in play because there are a lot of hazards out here."

The team collaboration helped as the Bucs finished in second place - one stroke behind North Florida - with an even-par, 288, through Monday's round.

With Enoch back in the fold at the A-Sun Championship, the Bucs look to improve upon last year's finish behind the guidance of the redshirt senior.

"(Rhys) knows there are 36 holes to go in this championship and there are a lot of good golfers and All-Americans in this conference so his competition will be tough for the next two rounds," Warren added about Enoch.

Coach Warren knows that ETSU's chances at a strong finish are riding on his senior.

"I just hope he can keep up his play over the next two days because we'll need some low scores from him to finish well."

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