Aug. 2, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State University sophomore golfer Bradley Ruch shot an eight-under par 205 to capture medalist honors at the 22nd Annual Oglethorpe Invitational at the Wilmington Island Club in Savannah, Ga., July 25. With three consecutive sub-par rounds, Ruch finished two shots ahead of two-time tournament champion Doug Henzel and three shots ahead of Carter Collins.
Ruch tapped in a par putt on the 18th hole of the final round to complete the tournament with a two-under par 69 and gain the first golf victory of his career. He carded scores of 66-70-69 which helped him to a pair of career firsts – he led the event wire-to-wire and took a lead into a final round for the first time in his career.
He began the final round with a four-shot lead, but had that cut in half after three holes when Jonathon Jenkins and Collins made a pair of early birdies. Ruch made his first birdie of the final round with a two-putt on the fourth hole and followed that with his second birdie of the round on the fifth hole. He was back ahead by four shots with another birdie on the eighth hole. Ruch gave himself a two-shot cushion as he drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole.
Ruch led the tournament after the first round by one shot as he carded a 66 and by three shots after the second round when he carded a 70.
“I was extremely nervous today,” Ruch said after the winning the event. “Those guys (Henzel and Collins) put so much pressure on me. But when I made that putt at 16, it was really big. That was the turning point of the whole tournament.”
Ruch was a staple in the Seminoles’ starting lineup during the spring of 2004 as he appeared in all seven events. He was one of only three players who played in all seven events during the season and ranked first on the team with 16 rounds scored at 75 or below, second on the team with a 74.33 stroke average and second on the team with five rounds at par or better. Ruch’s career-best 69 at the Atlanta Intercollegiate was the second best single-round score among the Seminole team members during the season. He was Florida State’s top finisher in two events – the Seminole Intercollegiate and the Palmetto Intercollegiate – in consecutive events during the month of March.
Ruch now has his sights set on qualifying for the 104th United States Amateur at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Aug. 16-22.