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March 26, 2005

AWENDAW, S.C. – Players and coaches alike were eager to offer their approval of the inaugural Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate on opening day of the event Saturday.

“My hat’s off to USC alum and Bulls Bay owner Joe Rice, tournament chairman Doug Carnes and the Bulls Bay staff and membership for staging quite possibly the premier event this year in college golf,” South Carolina coach Puggy Blackmon said. “It is absolutely first class and is being conducted like a PGA Tour event.”

Carolina, along with College of Charleston and Clemson, is hosting the collegiate portion of the tournament.

Saturday’s opening ceremonies and collegiate-amateur were followed by an invitational-only dinner and concert at the Plex this evening. The entire event benefits the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation, which supports music programs nationwide.

The South Carolina team had a chance to take pictures and visit with Hootie and the Blowfish band members, who attended USC. Lead singer Darius Rucker gave the Gamecocks a pre-tournament pep talk and indicated he is expecting a strong showing from his alma mater.

The collegiate tournament, which runs Sunday through Tuesday, tees off off tomorrow morning. The field features the best teams from the Southeast part of the country. Eight of the 15 teams competing are ranked in Golfweek’s top 25. The following schools join South Carolina, Clemson and College of Charleston at Bulls Bay Golf Club: Auburn, Alabama, Augusta State, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisiana State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest.

Freshman Mark Anderson, senior Alex Hamilton and juniors Eirik Johansen, Robert Svensson and West Streib will compete for South Carolina.