Tim Bunten

Junior golfer Tim Bunten, a member of the ECU men's golf team.

East Carolina University's men’s golf team kicked off its fall season with a third place finish in Michigan on Labor Day weekend.

The Pirates finished their first 36 holes on Sunday solidly in second place at the Island Resort Intercollegiate in Escanaba, Michigan. The team left round one with a score of 282, 7-under-par. This put the Pirates only four strokes away from first.

On Monday the team averaged a 2-over-par day that pushed them back to a tied third place with the University of Central Florida with a finishing score of 859, 5-under-par.

"It hurts to be so close to winning and tie for third," ECU head coach Andrew Sapp said in a press release. "We got off to the start we needed early and grabbed the lead, but struggled on the back nine until playing great on No. 18 to finish.”

Purdue University led the first two rounds of the tournament before Liberty University pushed from third to first in the final round. Purdue finished the tournament with 856 strokes, 8-under-par, and Liberty finished with a score of 855, 9-under-par. Michigan State University rounded out the top 5 with an 860, 4-under-par, score.

Senior Blake Taylor and junior Tim Bunten tied for sixth place in the individual standings. This finish was Taylor’s 10th top-ten career finish. He finished the tournament with an eagle, one-under-par for the hole, on the par 5 hole 18. Bunten earned his first career top-ten with a first round score of 3-under-par, 69, a second round score of 70, 2-under-par and a final round score of 74.

Pirate sophomore A.J. Beechler finished tied for 18th at 3-over-par, 219. Junior Stephen Carroll tied for 22nd at 4-over-par 220 and sophomore Attie Giles tied for 27th at 5-over-par 221.

"We definitely had contributions from everyone this tournament with every player shooting at least one round under par," Sapp said in a press release. "It is great to be in the hunt to win this early in the season and is an experience our guys can definitely build upon."

With a positive start to the season the Pirates prepare for the Rod Myers Invitational on Sept. 14 and 15 in Durham, North Carolina. Despite impending weather for the Carolinas, there has been no announcement of a delay or cancellation of the tournament at this time.

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