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Feb. 15, 2007

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Feb. 18-20, 2007 >> Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Sawgrass Country Club >> Par 72 – 6,910 Yards
Host: University of North Florida

The University of South Carolina men’s golf team opens its spring schedule at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational (formerly the Mercedes Collegiate Championship), Feb. 18-20, at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The 54-hole event is hosted by the University of North Florida and includes an impressive 15-team field. Teams will play 18 holes on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Live scoring will be available online at or by following the link from

The 2006-07 South Carolina men’s golf team has eight letterwinners back from last season’s team, which competed in the NCAA Championship for the 14th time in school history, but is a youthful group with no seniors and only three juniors on the 12-man roster. 2005 All-American Mark Anderson and 2006 All-SEC selection Florian Fritsch will be counted on for leadership.

Competing for South Carolina this weekend are sophomores Florian Fritsch, Allen Koon and Baker Elmore, junior Mark Anderson and freshman George Bryan IV. Anderson will be playing at Sawgrass for the third straight year, while Fritsch and Koon will be making their second appearance at the event for South Carolina.

Bryan is the only golfer on the Gamecock roster that has been in the lineup for every tournament this season.

In addition to host North Florida and South Carolina, Alabama, Augusta State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, LSU, Notre Dame, Pepperdine, Tennessee, UAB, UCLA, UCF and Vanderbilt are set to compete this weekend. The 15-team field features six teams ranked in Golfweek’s most recent top 25, including four in the top 10. Alabama is No. 5, Coastal Carolina ranks eighth, Tennessee is ninth and UCLA comes in at No. 10. Also in the top 25 are No. 21 Georgia State and No. 25 Charlotte.

Associate head coach Bill McDonald on the Gamecocks heading into the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational:
“We are really looking forward to playing at Sawgrass Country Club this week. As always, they have a great field. The team has worked very hard in the offseason and everyone is anxious to get the spring season under way. Freshman George Bryan IV has looked extremely good in the pre-tournament qualifying and the rest of the team has shown significant improvement in their scoring clubs. Sawgrass will be a great test for us. All aspects of our players’ games will be challenged at this venue that has certainly withstood the test of time.”

The golf team achieved the highest grade point average of any men’s team in the athletic department for the fourth consecutive semester by posting a 3.543 mark for the Fall 2006 semester.

USC’S 12-man roster features eight players from the state of South Carolina. That group includes sophomore Mark Anderson (Beaufort/Beaufort Academy) and Warren Thomas (Columbia/Richland Northeast), redshirt sophomore Patrick Cunning (Aiken/South Aiken) and sophomores Baker Elmore (Cheraw) and Allen Koon (Bamberg/Bamberg-Ehrhardt) and true freshmen George Bryan IV (Chapin/Dutch Fork), Patrick Rada (Anderson/T.L. Hanna) and Paul Woodbury (Lake City).

Following play at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational, the Gamecocks will remain idle for nearly a month before competing in the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational in Statesboro, Ga., March 17-18.

South Carolina shot the best round of any team in the field on the final day of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship and finished tied for third against strong 15-team field at Sawgrass Country Club. Led by Mark Anderson and Florian Fritsch, the Gamecocks posted a three-round score of 308-297-300=905. 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. Allen Koon also placed tied for 25th (77-76-77=230).

Mark Anderson has performed very well in each of his previous two trips to Sawgrass Country Club. As a freshman in 2005, Anderson tied for 11th with rounds of 72-74-74=220. He followed that showing up as a sophomore by tying for 10th (79-74-72=225). For his career, Anderson, who earned All-America honors in 2005, owns five top-10 finishes and eight top-20 showings.

Bill McDonald, a highly successful collegiate golfer, former tour professional and accomplished instructor, joined the South Carolina men’s golf staff as associate head coach this fall.

McDonald played collegiately for Blackmon at Georgia Tech (1985-88) where he was the runner-up at the 1988 NCAA Championship and a two-time All-American (1985 and 1988). He earned his bachelor of science degree in industrial management from Tech in 1989 and after competing professionally for the next five years in South Africa, Canada and several PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour events, McDonald returned to his alma mater to serve as an assistant coach to Blackmon in 1994-95. McDonald returns to Columbia for a second time after serving as the Director of Instruction at the University Club from 1996-1998.