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ETSU won its third straight SoCon Men's Golf Championship
Photo Courtesy of Southern Conference
ETSU, Kim claim SoCon Men's Golf Championship
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 04/25/2017
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PINEHURST, N.C. – ETSU won its third straight Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship and league-record 20th overall, turning in a 2-over-par 290 Tuesday for a three-round total of 882, eight shots clear of runner-up UNCG. The Bucs' Geuntae Kim won a sudden-death playoff for medalist honors on the par-72, 7,118-yard Pinehurst No. 9.

The Bucs took a six-shot lead into the final round of play and never saw it dip below four shots en route to the title and the NCAA regional automatic berth. ETSU will learn is postseason destination on Thursday, May 4, at noon on the Golf Channel.

ETSU placed three players in the top 10, as third-place Trevor Hulbert and seventh-place Mateusz Gradecki joined Kim among the top finishers.

Kim, who held the 54-hole lead with an even-par 144 and hit a hole-in-one in Sunday's second round, shot 2-over 74 Tuesday (218), bogeying the par-4 18th hole to drop into a tie with UNCG freshman Jonathan Brightwell, who turned in an even-par 72 on the day, and force a playoff.

The pair went back to 18, and Brightwell, who had finished his round about an hour before Kim, put his second shot into the bunker on the left side of the green and punched out to give himself a 15-foot par putt. Kim, meanwhile, put his second shot on the green, giving himself a 30-foot birdie attempt. He left that about two feet short, opening the door for Brightwell, but the rookie pushed his par attempt just an inch or two wide and Kim drained his two-footer for the win.

Kim, a sophomore from Daegu, South Korea, became ETSU's second straight medalist, following two-time SoCon Player of the Year Adrian Meronk, who won in 2016.

Bucs freshman Hulbert was also in the title hunt all day, as he shot a 1-under 71 and finished a stroke back of Kim and Brightwell. Hulbert and Brightwell shared the lead after the first 18 holes of the tournament.

Chattanooga's Etienne Brault shot an even 72 Tuesday for a 4-over 220 for the tournament and finished fourth, two shots out of first.

A pair of UNCG players tied for fifth, giving the Spartans three in the top five. Bryce Hendrix turned in a 2-under 70 to shoot up nine spots in the standings and finish at 221, while Josh Stockwell turned in a 75 Tuesday.

The Spartans put together a team round of 4-over 292 Tuesday to finish at 890, eight strokes back of the Bucs. The runner-up finish was UNCG's third straight, all of which have come to ETSU.

Mercer's Justin Connelly, Wofford's Andrew Novak and ETSU's Gradecki all tied for seventh at 7-over 223. Connelly turned in a 3-under 69 Tuesday but Novak stole the show, shooting a 5-under 67 to climb 21 spots on the day. Gradecki closed with a 1-over 73.

Novak's effort paced a solid final-round showing by the Terriers, who turned in the low team round of the day at even-par 288. Evan Grenus was even on the day, Jeremy Grab shot 1-over and Drake Cassidy was 4-over as Wofford moved up two spots to third, its best SoCon showing since consecutive runner-up finishes in 1998 and 1999.

Chattanooga finished fourth at 900, followed by Western Carolina (904), Furman (908), Mercer (912) and Samford (930). The Bears' final-round 290 knocked 15 strokes off their second-round score and 27 off their first.

Novak was named the SoCon Player of the Year in voting of the league's coaches. Brightwell was named the SoCon Freshman of the Year and ETSU's Fred Warren earned his third straight SoCon Coach of the Year honor. The Bucs' Cayman Ratliff earned the Pinnacle Award as the student-athlete with the highest GPA on the winning team.

2017 Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship
Pinehurst No. 9
Par 72, 7,118 yards
Pinehurst, N.C.

Team results
Place Team                Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Total
1 ETSU                        292 300 290 882
2 UNCG                       303 295 292 890
3 Wofford                     308 302 288 898
4 Chattanooga             308 290 302 900
5 Western Carolina      305 300 299 904
6 Furman                     309 303 296 908
7 Mercer                      317 305 290 912
8 Samford                   308 312 310 930

Individual leaders
Place Team                                      Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Total
T1 Jonathan Brightwell, UNCG      71 75 72 218
T1 Geuntae Kim, ETSU*                73 71 74 218
3 Trevor Hulbert, ETSU                  71 77 71 219
4 Etienne Brault, Chattanooga       78 70 72 220
T5 Bryce Hendrix, UNCG              78 73 70 221
T5 Josh Stockwell, UNCG             73 73 75 221
T7 Justin Connelly, Mercer           77 77 69 223
T7 Andrew Novak, Wofford           81 75 67 223
T7 Mateusz Gradecki, ETSU       74 76 73 223
T7 Evan Grenus, Wofford             73 78 72 223

* won on first hole of sudden-death playoff

Southern Conference Player of the Year
Andrew Novak, Sr., Wofford

Southern Conference Freshman of the Year
Jonathan Brightwell, UNCG

Southern Conference Coach of the Year
Fred Warren, ETSU

Pinnacle Award (highest GPA on winning team)
Cayman Ratliff, Jr., ETSU

All-Southern Conference
Mateusz Gradecki, Sr., ETSU
Bryce Howell, Sr., Furman
Justin Connelly, Sr., Mercer
Jonathan Brightwell, Fr., UNCG
Bryce Hendrix, So., UNCG
Josh Stockwell, Jr., UNCG
Wes Gosselin, R-Sr., Chattanooga
Brooks Thomas, Sr., Chattanooga
Dylan MacQueen, Jr., Western Carolina
Andrew Novak, Sr., Wofford

All-Freshman team
Trevor Hulbert, ETSU
Ben Reichert, ETSU
Kiko Rosete, Mercer
Jonathan Brightwell, UNCG
Harlan Winn, Samford

-www.SoConSports.com-

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