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April 19, 2006

April 21-23, 2006 • St. Simons Island, Ga.
Sea Island Golf Club, The Seaside Course
Par 70, – 7,005 Yards

The University of South Carolina men’s golf team is set to compete for the 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship this weekend at Sea Island Golf Club, The Seaside Course (Par 70 — 7,005 yards) in Sea Island, Ga. The tournament tees off on Friday, April 21, and runs through Sunday, April 23. This marks sixth straight year the championship has been contested at Sea Island.

The Gamecocks will travel to St. Simons Island on Wednesday, April 19 and play a practice round on Thursday, April 20.

The Southeastern Conference will offer live online scoring throughout the tournament at A link will be posted on South Carolina’s official athletics web site, A recap and complete list of results will be posted daily on Carolina’s site as well.

Head coach Puggy Blackmon will use the same lineup for the fourth straight tournament at the SEC Championship. That group includes a senior, a sophomore a redshirt freshman and a pair of true freshmen. Of the five-main squad, only senior Eirik Johansen and sophomore Mark Anderson competed in last year’s SEC Championship for Carolina.

Player	Tourneys	Rounds	Stroke Avg. Low Rd.
1. Eirik Johansen	9	27	72.63	67
2. Florian Fritsch	8	24	73.13	67
3. Mark Anderson	9	27	75.78	71
4. Allen Koon	6	18	76.11	71
5. Patrick Cunning	5	15	74.67	67

Head coach Puggy Blackmon on the SEC Championship:
“The SEC has been a huge goal with this team and their preparation has been very good. With Georgia and Florida as the frontrunners due to their top three national rankings and several others in the top 25, this year’s event provides an opportunity for our team to make a statement. This team of a senior, a sophomore and three freshmen have gained a lot of experience and could be the tournament dark horse.”

All 12 Southeastern Conference teams will vie for the league title this weekend. Four conference teams are ranked in the most recent GCAA Bridgestone Coaches Poll, including No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Florida, No. 20 Tennessee and 24th-ranked South Carolina. Alabama and Auburn are receiving votes in the poll.

Seven teams are listed among Golfweek’s top 50. Georgia and Florida are No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. Tennessee is ranked 25th, Kentucky is No. 27, Auburn in No. 29, Alabama is ranked 32nd and the Gamecocks come in at No. 39.

• South Carolina is seeking its first Southeastern Conference Championship since joining the league in 1992.
• At the 1998 SEC Championship in Athens, Ga., then-sophomore Eric Ecker earned medalist honors for the Gamecocks with an 8-under par score of 136 when play was suspended after 36 holes due to inclement weather. Ecker is the only golfer from South Carolina to win an individual SEC Championship.
• The Gamecocks also placed second in the team standings in 1998, the best SEC finish in school history. Carolina was third in 1999.
• South Carolina’s best finish since the tournament has been played at Sea Island is fifth at the 2003 event.
• Under head coach Puggy Blackmon (since 1996), USC has recorded four, top-four finishes in the championship (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).

South Carolina is No. 24 in the latest GCAA Bridgestone Coaches Poll. Senior captain Eirik Johansen is No. 35 and freshman Florian Fritsch is No. 57, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Individual Ratings.

The South Carolina men’s golf team fired a final round team score of 292 and finished 11th of 15 teams in the Arizona State University Thunderbird Invitational, played at the Karsten Golf Club (Par 71 — 7,017 yards) in Tempe, Ariz. The Gamecocks concluded the tournament with a total score of 869 (+17).

Freshman Florian Fritsch (Wiesloch, Germany) was highest finisher for South Carolina in a tie for 28th place with rounds of 71-67-76=214. Fritsch’s second-round 67 marked a career best and matches the lowest score by Carolina golfer this season. Senior Eirik Johansen (Stavanger, Norway) produced a pair of rounds under par, including the low round for the Gamecocks on Sunday. Johansen wrapped the tournament at 69-76-70=215 and tied for 32nd.

Redshirt freshman Patrick Cunning (Aiken, S.C.) recovered from a first round 80 to post scores of 72 and 71 in the final two rounds. His total score of 223 tied for 61st. Sophomore Mark Anderson (Beaufort, S.C.) finished two strokes behind Cunning at 71-79-75=225 and tied for 65th. Freshman Allen Koon (Bamberg, S.C.) rounded out the South Carolina contingent in a tie for 72nd with scores of 77-74-77=228.

Arizona won the team title for the second consecutive year and Kansas State’s Ben Kern collected individual medalist honors with a 14-under par, 199-stroke performance.

The No. 20 University of South Carolina men’s golf team tied with LSU for sixth place at the SEC Championship, played at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course (Par 70 – 7,005 yards) in St. Simon’s Island, Ga. The Gamecocks shot a team score of 301 in the third round to finish with a 59-over par final score of 899.

Kentucky beat Auburn by two strokes to win the team title with a 35-over par total score of 875. Florida, the 2004 runner-up, sat in first place entering today’s final round, but finished fourth after shooting a 22-over par 302 in the third round.

Tennessee’s David Skinns earned medalist honors with a final score of 210 (E), edging Georgia’s Richard Scott by one stroke.

In his final conference championship, senior Alex Hamilton (Aiken, S.C.) led the Gamecocks by finishing in a tie for 14th with a 12-over par final score of 222. He came into the final day in a tie for 11th place after two rounds and shot a 75 (+3) in the final round.

Teammate West Streib finished two strokes behind Hamilton with a 14-over par final score of 224. By shooting a 75 (+5) in the final round, the junior from Atlanta, Ga. moved up two spots to finish the championship in a tie for 18th.

Freshman Mark Anderson (Beaufort, S.C.) and junior Eirik Johansen (Stavanger, Norway) both placed in ties for 31st with final scores of 17-over par 227. In today’s third round, Anderson and Johansen carded rounds of 76 (+6) and 75 (+5), respectively. After shooting a third-round score of 82 (+12), freshman Warren Thomas (Columbia, S.C.) rounded out play for the Gamecocks in 55th place with a 28-over par final score of 238.

Senior Eirik Johansen has been named team captain for the 2005-06 season. “This is the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve felt comfortable naming a captain. He’s now our captain, and he’s done an incredible job with a very young group of kids,” head coach Puggy Blackmon said.

A two-time All-SEC selection and honorable mention All-American, Johansen boasts five top-10 finishes in nine events this season.

In Golfstat’s latest (April 13) Freshman Class Impact Ranking, South Carolina ranked third among all Division I men’s teams.

Florian Fritsch has competed in eight events, Allen Koon has played in six and redshirt freshman Patrick Cunning has played in five. Mark Silvers has played in three tournaments and Baker Elmore has competed twice.

Carolina (398.756) appeared at No. 3, behind Mississippi State (507.533)and Indiana (467.312).

After competing in the SEC Tournament, South Carolina will play in the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga., May 14-15. The tournament is held at the Lake Oconee Course at Reynolds Plantation.

South Carolina claimed the team tournament title at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, which was played at The Ridges Golf and Country Club in Jonesborough, Tenn., Oct. 15-16. It marked the Gamecocks’ first team win since the 2003-04 season, which saw Carolina bring home three event titles.

The Gamecocks had a pair of top-five individuals in Florian Fritsch and Eirik Johansen. Mark Anderson turned in a 12th-place finish. Fritsch, who was playing in his first collegiate event, finished second on the individual leaderboard. All three of his rounds were under par. Fritsch was eight-under for the tournament and just three strokes behind medalist Rhys Davies of East Tennessee State, the tournament’s host.

Johansen placed fourth. He shot a one-over par 73 in the final round and finished three-under for the tournament.

Anderson fired a final round 73 and placed tied for 12th. He was two-over par in the event and notched his fourth top-15 finish at South Carolina.

Baker Elmore carded a 74 in the final round and finished in a tie for 43rd with teammate Patrick Cunning. Cunning shot 76 on the tournament’s final 18 holes.

For the second straight semester, the South Carolina men’s golf team posted the highest team grade point average of any men’s team in the athletic department with a 3.452. Led by sophomore Mark Anderson (Beaufort, S.C.), seven golfers made the Dean’s List during the Fall 2005 Semester.

Anderson was joined by senior Eirik Johansen (Stavanger, Norway), redshirt freshman Patrick Cunning (Aiken, S.C.), redshirt junior David Kite (Austin, Texas), and freshmen Baker Elmore (Cheraw, S.C.), Mark Silvers (Savannah, Ga.) and Florian Fritsch (Wiesloch, Germany) on the Dean’s List.

The fall semester continued a string of impressive performances in the classroom for the Carolina men’s golf team. Last spring, a team record was set with a 3.558 GPA, which was also the highest of any men’s team in the athletic department.