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Feb. 18, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina men’s golf team will attempt to defend its 2004 Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship title this weekend at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. After a practice round on Saturday, the tournament, which is hosted by the University of North Florida, begins with an 8 a.m. tee time on Sunday, Feb. 20.

“Following a strong showing at the Gator Invitational (Feb. 4-6), we’re excited about defending at the Mercedes,” head coach Puggy Blackmon said.

The No. 25 Gamecocks will take their fourth different lineup of the 2004-05 season to the Mercedes, led by junior Eirik Johansen and freshman Mark Anderson. Johansen tied for second at the Gator Invitational, while Anderson finished in a tie for fifth.

“Eirik Johansen is returning to top form, and Mark Anderson is turning heads with his recent play,” Blackmon said.

Junior Robert Svensson and senior Jake Thompson will also make the trip.

Senior Alex Hamtilon is in the midst of a swing change and will not travel to Ponte Vedra Beach. Junior West Strieb, who has played consistently in qualifying, will replace Hamilton.

South Carolina won the 2004 Mercedes by shooting a three-under par 852 and bettering an impressive field by 27 strokes. Johansen finished second and Thompson tied for third to lead the Gamecocks.

In addition to the Gamecocks, the 2005 Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship field includes UNF, Alabama, Arkansas, Augusta State, Central Florida, Coastal Carolina, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia State, Kentucky, LSU, Northwestern, Tennessee, UCLA and UAB.

The tournament runs from Sunday, Feb. 20 through Tuesday, Feb. 22. Live scoring will be available online at: