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May 24, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecock men’s golf team closed its 2004-05 season on May 21 at the NCAA West Regional in Stanford, Calif., at Stanford Golf Course. Carolina played to a three-way tie for 10th over the three-day tournament, firing an 864 (+24) as a team. With the top 10 teams advancing on to the NCAA Championship, South Carolina, Southern California and Pepperdine had to battle it out in a playoff for the chance to move on. Southern Cal won the one-hole playoff to clinch the final team spot to the Championship.

Head coach Puggy Blackmon, who has led the Gamecocks to 10 straight trips to NCAA Regionals, believes the experience of the 2004-05 season and the West Regional have helped his team and the Carolina program.

“This one really hurt for the coaches and players, and it was very evident after the playoff concluded. It was a very emotional time, but a very positive one. This team played its heart out and I could not be prouder,” Blackmon said. “We made a lot of clutch putts and shots in the final round and the kids never backed down. Following an errant tee shot in 16, I think Eirik (Johansen) thought he needed to make a birdie on the final hole and he hit it over the green in the deep rough. He tried to hit a very difficult flop shot and it came out hot. He was trying to make par, when in hindsight, a bogey would have gotten us into in (the NCAA Championship).

“Anyone who plays this game realizes its complexity and that at this level, it’s 90 percent mental. They also realize that breaks and timing are everything.

“Everyone left (the NCAA West Regional) with a stronger commitment to win, and the seniors challenged the underclassmen to build on the foundation that was established through commitment and hard work this year. A precedence was set at Stanford, and South Carolina golf will never be the same.”