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Feb. 7, 2006

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The South Carolina men’s golf team shot the best round of any team in the field on the final day of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship Tuesday. Led by sophomore Mark Anderson and freshman Florian Fritsch, the Gamecocks placed in a tie for third against strong 15-team field at Sawgrass Country Club (Par 72 — 6,910 yards) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

On an overcast windy day, Carolina shot 300 as a team and finished at 905 for the tournament, tying with Southeastern Conference foe Alabama for third in the team standings. The Gamecocks and Crimson Tide were just four strokes behind second-place Texas Tech (901) and nine back of team champion UCLA (896).

“We had a good, solid round today,” head coach Puggy Blackmon said. “In difficult conditions this was a strong finish for a fairly young team. It was nice to see our young guys hande the weather. Florian had a good tournament, and Mark had a great final round. It’s a good start our spring season and should give us confidence heading into The Gator (Invitational, Feb. 18-19).”

Fritsch and Anderson both finished in the top 10 individually. Fritsch fired a final round 75 to wind up in a tie for sixth (74-74-75=223), the second top-10 finish of his career. Anderson matched the best individual round of the day by shooting even par at 72. The Beaufort, S.C., native improved his score each round of the tournament (79-74-72=225) en route to placing in the top 10 for the fifth time in his career.

Senior Eirik Johansen joined Fritsch and Anderson in the top 20, finishing tied for 17th (78-73-76=227), while freshman Allen Koon wrapped up the tournament in a tie for 25th (77-76-77=230).

Sophomore Warren Thomas placed 59th (81-80-79=240) and redshirt sophomore David Kite, who competed as an individual, tied for 63rd (77-81-84=242).

South Carolina finished ahead of four other SEC schools in the field. LSU finished sixth, followed by Florida in seventh, Tennessee in eighth and Auburn in 10th. Coastal Carolina placed 12th.

The Garnet and Black return to the links Feb. 18-19 when they will compete in The Gator Invitational at the University of Florida Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla.

South Carolina IndividualsT6  Florian Fritsch  74-74-75=22310  Mark Anderson  79-74-72=225T17 Eirik Johansen    78-73-76=227T25 Allen Koon    77-76-77=230T59 Warren Thomas  81-80-79=240T63 David Kite (I)    77-81-84=242
Team ResultsSchool (Total Score)1. UCLA (896)2. Texas Tech (901)T3. Alabama (905)T3. South Carolina (905)5. Georgia State (912)6. LSU (913)7. Florida (914)8. Tennessee (916)9. UNF (920)10. Auburn (926)11. Missouri (927)12. Coastal Carolina (928)13. Texas-Arlington (931)14. UAB (934)15. Mercer (954)