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Bucs' Rhea captures Intercollegiate title at Blackthorn

Jeff Birchfield • Oct 13, 2019 at 8:56 PM

JONESBOROUGH — East Tennessee State golfer Jack Rhea had the lead in hand and the right frame of mind to win the individual championship at the 22nd annual Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at Blackthorn Club.

Entering Sunday’s final round with a six-stroke lead, Rhea shot a solid 1-under 71 to finish at 15-under 201 and capture the title on his home course.

Rhea joined two-time champion Rhys Davies and Adrian Meronk in 2015 as ETSU golfers to win the title.

The round was personal for Rhea, a junior who played for Science Hill. He had a gallery following him and playing partners Spencer Cross of Tennessee and John Murphy of Louisville around Blackthorn’s 7,147-yard Arthur Hills layout.

“I had a lot of friends and family for support, so I wanted to play good golf for them,” Rhea said. “Yesterday clearly won the tournament for me. It put me six ahead and I just had to go out and not do anything crazy. I knew it would be enough.”

Rhea shot a 9-under 63 on Saturday to tie the one-round record held by teammate Shiso Go and Louisville’s Simon Zach. ETSU also tied the one-round team record of 269 set by Virginia in 2016 to build a two-stroke lead over Tennessee and four-stroke advantage over Louisville entering the final day.

The Bucs couldn’t hang on, however, and Louisville beat ETSU by nine strokes in the final round to win by five shots, 830-835. The Cardinals’ 34-under total was one stroke off the tournament record set by Virginia.

ETSU again fielded just four players after Sam Espinosa withdrew prior to Saturday’s round with a back injury.

“We knew it was going to be tough to beat them,” Bucs coach Jake Amos said. “Their No. 5 guy shot a 7 under. That’s amazing golf for them.

“It was a good weekend for us, playing four count four after one of our guys got injured. They wanted to win it and they put themselves in position to do that.”

Louisville’s Jiri Zuska, who entered the tournament as the team’s lowest-ranked player, posted the day’s best round, a 7-under 65, to push the Cardinals to the win.

It was the second straight tournament championship for the Cardinals, No. 8 in the latest Golfweek rankings. They won the previous week in suburban Cincinnati. They head to Hawaii on Oct. 27-28 for another tournament.

Zuska tied Murphy for Louisville’s low score, 10-under 206. Matthias Schmid had a 211 total and Trevor Johnson a 213 to complete the scoring.

“We had everybody playing well,” Louisville coach Mark Crabtree said. “You always want to do that in the final round. We had some fortunate things and snuck by the home team. We have a veteran team with four seniors, a sophomore and a junior.”

ETSU finished two strokes ahead of Tennessee for the runner-up spot. Go was eighth individually with a 9-under 207, Archie Davies tied for 10th at 209 and Trevor Hulbert closed at 218.

Cross finished fourth at 12-under 204 for Tennessee, but ETSU’s coach felt confident no one would catch Rhea.

“Jack’s mindset this week has been a breath of fresh air,” Amos said. “The last two years, he’s tried to treat it like a tournament. We got him to relax. He told me that he was feeling it today and he had a mature round. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win multiple times this season.”

Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate

At Blackthorn Club

Sunday’s Final Round


Louisville 274-280-276—830

ETSU 281-269-285—835

Tennessee 273-279-285—837

Ole Miss 285-273-283—841

UNC Wilmington 280-280-283—843

Furman 277-292-276—845

NC State 280-284-281—845

Coastal Carolina 282-282-282—846

Virginia Tech 288-275-286—849

East Carolina 285-286-282—853

Missouri 291-281-288—860

Penn State 287-290-286—863

Virginia 292-291-282—865

VCU 299-280-289—868

Villanova 313-303-301—917


Jack Rhea, ETSU 67-63-71—201

A Segundo Oliva Pinto, UNCW 66-72-65—203

Benjamin Shipp, NC State 65-71-67—203

Spencer Cross, Tennessee 68-69-67—204

Jiri Zuska, Louisville 72-69-65—206

John Murphy, Louisville 66-71-69—206

Jackson Suber, Ole Miss 71-65-70—206

Shiso Go, ETSU 70-68-69—207

Mark Lawrence Jr., Virginia Tech 69-69-70—208

States Fort, Coastal Carolina 70-71-68—209

Rory Frannssen, Missouri 71—68-70—209

Ian Peng, VCU 71-67-71—209

Archie Davies, ETSU 72-65-72—209

Hunter Wolcott, Tennessee 67-70-72—209

Ryan Davis, Penn State 71-73-66—210

Reynolds Lambert, Furman 68-75-67—210

Sarut Vongchaisit, Ole Miss 72-68-70—210

Russ Funderburke, Furman 70-75-66—211

Matthias Schmid, Louisville 70-72-69—211

Rhys Nevin-Wharton, Tennessee 71-70-70—211

Wei Wei Gao, Virginia 69-71-71—211

Zack Taylor, Coastal Carolina 69-69-73—211

Keller Harper, Furman 67-71-73—211

AJ Beechler, East Carolina 71-72-69—212

Ross Steelman, Missouri 72-67-73—212

Cameron Moore, Virginia Tech 75-67-71—213

Connor Burgress, Virginia Tech 70-70-73—213

Christofer Rahm, UNCW 69-71-73—213

Trevor Johnson, Louisville 69-71-73—213

Blake McShea, UNCW 70-69-74—213

Keegan DeLange, Louisville 69-69-75—213

Stephen Carroll, East Carolina 71-73-70—214

Drew Hackett, UNCW 75-68-71—214

Seth Taylor, Coastal Carolina 71-72-71—214

Jack Gnam, Ole Miss 72-70-72—214

Christian Salzer, NC State 71-71-72—214

Blake Taylor, East Carolina 69-71-74—214

Alec Bard, Penn State 69-71-74—214

Brady Hinkle, Coastal Carolina 72-74-70—216

Tim Bunten, East Carolina 74-71-71—216

Brody Blackmon, Ole Miss 74-70-72—216

Gavin Noble, Coastal Carolina 73-70-73—216

Bryce Lewis, Tennessee 75-71-71—217

Chip Getz, Ole Miss 70-76-71—218

Chip Thomas, Tennessee 67-74-76—217

Max Steinlechner, NC State 69-70-78—217

Carter Graf, NC State 76-72-70—218

Drew Brockwell, Virginia Tech 73-75-70—218

Jack Crosby, Furman 72-76-70—218

Jack Montague, Virginia 71-77-70—218

K.T. Donaldson, VCU 77-70-71—218

Jake Hall, Tennessee 75-72-71—218

Jack Parker, Missouri 73-73-72—218

Trevor Hulbert, ETSU 72-73-73—218

Veeti Mahonen, Ole Miss 74-70-74—218

David Morgan, Virginia 78-71-70—219

Andrw Orischak, Virginia 76-72-71—219

Brayden Garrison, Tennessee 70-78-71—219

Brett McLamb, NC State 75-72-72—219

Sachin Kumar, VCU 71-76-72—219

Daniel Azallion, Virginia Tech 76-69-74—219

Connor Johnson Jr., Virginia Tech 74-74-72—220

Patrick Stephenson, East Carolina 77-72-72—221

Walker Crosby, Furman 76-71-74—221

Lukas Clark, Penn State 73-73-75—221

Jimbo Stanley, East Carolina 70-72-79—221

Devin Morley, Louisville 75-76-71—222

Brady Pevarnik, Penn State 74-73-75—222

Tyler Johnson, Tennessee 73-70-79—222

Lansdon Robbins, UNCW 76-75-74—225

James McHugh, Penn State 81-74-71—226

Viktor Einarsson, Missouri 75-78-73—226

Connor Newton, Coastal 74-78-74—226

Christopher White, Virginia 75-72-79—226

Austin Carter, ETSU 72-78-77—227

Reb Banas, Villanova 77-77-74—228

Ben Smith, Penn State 76-78-74—228

Ricky Sanders, Missouri 76-73-79—228

Clifford Foster, VCU 81-73-75—228

Sam Jung, Virginia 76-78-75—229

Mark Benevento, Villanova 76-74-79—229

Spencer Oxendine, NC State 72-74-84—230

Matt Minvera, Villanova 78-78-75—231

Adrian Vagberg, VCU 80-70-81—231

Jack O’Hara, Villanova 82-76-77—235