KAUAI, Hawaii (Nov. 1, 2016) – For the second time this fall season, ETSU’s Mateusz Gradecki (Oborniki Slaskie, Poland) earned runner-up honors as the Buccaneer senior finished tied for second at the Princeville Makai Invitational, which wrapped up play on Tuesday from the Makai Golf Club.
Gradecki – who finished second at last month’s Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate – shot a 1-under 71 in Tuesday’s final round en route to totaling a 54-hole score of 10-under-par 206 (65-70-71).
Gradecki held the 18-hole lead after registering his lowest collegiate round at 7-under-par 65 on Sunday and began the final round one shot back, but the Buccaneer leader couldn’t hold off Mississippi’s Braden Thornberry. Thornberry, the No. 21 ranked golfer via Golfstat, carded a 5-under 67 to record a three-shot win at 13-over-par 203 (71-65-67).
Gradecki collected two birdies, six pars and one bogey over his first nine holes to sit one shot back of Thornberry at the midway point, but the Oborniki Slaskie, Poland native bogeyed the par-3, 255-yard 13th, which proved to be critical. Following the bogey, Thornberry birdied the par-4, 450-yard 12th to open a three-shot lead – and despite Gradecki posting consecutive birdies on No. 14 and 15 – the Buccaneer standout couldn’t inch any closer. Thornberry also birdied No. 14, while Gradecki bogeyed the par-4, 476-yard 17th and parred his final four holes to finish with the 71. Gradecki finished with the most birdies of the tournament (17), while he also led the 111-player field in par-four scoring at 7-under-par.
Ole Miss made it a clean sweep as the 25th-ranked Rebels recorded a team score of 33-under-par 278 to win the tournament by 22 strokes over Sam Houston State. The Bearkats totaled a 54-hole score of 11-under-par 853, while No. 24 Missouri finished third at 4-under-par 860.
ETSU finished tied for sixth in its fall finale as the Buccaneers posted three straight rounds of even-par 288.
Freshman Trevor Hulbert (Orlando, Fla.) finished the tournament on a positive note as he played the final 36 holes at 1-under-par. Hulbert – who birdied three straight holes (No. 14-16) – carded a 1-under 71 in Tuesday’s final round, while fellow freshman Ben Reichert (East Amherst, N.Y.) shot three straight rounds of 73 to finish tied for 33rd at 3-over-par 219. Sophomore Geuntae Kim (Daegu, South Korea) ended with back-to-back rounds of 73 and finished tied for 46th at 5-over-par 221.
After a three-and-a-half month break, the Bucs will open their spring season on Feb. 20 when ETSU heads to California for The Prestige at PGA WEST.