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March 29, 2006

South Carolina golf coach Puggy Blackmon shares his thoughts on his team’s performance at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate (March 26-28) this week.

“I’m very proud of this group, as proud of them as any team I’ve had in a long time. On the first day, we were in a group with our in-state rival and played well. We were in the final pairing during the last two rounds. In the second round, we caught the bad end of the weather, but hung in there. In Tuesday’s final round, we didn’t have anyone get off to a good start, but we battled back and were one-over on the back nine. The way the course was set up was difficult. It was a test of patience and the kids passed.

“We had a real breakthrough. It was a total team effort. Everyone stepped up at some point when we needed them to. We didn’t really have to count a high round this week. Under the circumstances and the course, it’s a respectable finish.

“I thought Patrick Cunning had a major breakthrough, not only with his (second round) 67. He started the final round bogey, double bogey, double bogey and was five over through three holes. By the time he got to the 12th hole, he was back to three over.

“The performance shows the fiber of our kids. They are developing patience and showing signs of a good team. We just need to keep progressing, improving and working hard.”