Led by sophomore Shiso Go – who finished runner-up at 14-under-par 202 – the Buccaneers were left hoisting the title after finishing with a team score of 32-under-par 832 on Sunday afternoon from the Blackthorn Club.
ETSU led wire-to-wire in a tournament field that featured three teams ranked in the top-15 and five in the top-50. The Bucs began Sunday’s final round with a two-shot lead over No. 50 Kent State; however, No. 12 Louisville quickly made its move and the Cardinals sat around the clubhouse to see if they did enough to pull out the win.
The tournament win wasn’t sealed, however, until after a few tense moments on the final hole. With ETSU leading by a stroke, Go hit his approach shot to the right of the green and just missed landing in the water. Then, as he was forced to hold an unorthodox stance on his chip shot, Go landed the ball within two feet of the hole and made his par putt to deliver the win.
The Bucs, who totaled the second-lowest team score in the 21-year history of the tournament, defeated Louisville by one stroke, No. 6 Tennessee by three and Kent State by seven shots. ETSU has now won at least one tournament title in each of the last seven seasons, while this marked the 56th career win for head coach Fred Warren during his tenure with the Bucs.
“After 20 years of getting condolences, it’s nice to get congratulations,” said Warren, whose teams finished runner-up here in 2006, 2008 and 2014.
“We made it harder than it should’ve been, but on the other hand, it’s tough to win these tournaments. This was a really good field we had here this weekend. Our guys did so many good things and we were able to overcome getting in our own way a little bit. To be honest, there’s a lot of joy and also a lot of relief. It was one of the most exciting tournaments I have ever been a part of. I am glad we came out on top and I am really proud of our guys.”