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Oct. 11, 2007

COLUMBIA – South Carolina men’s golf returns to action Friday after just two days off as the Gamecocks head to East Tennessee State for the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges. The three-day event is in its 10th year and features four top-15 teams in 2007. The Gamecocks, ranked sixth in the Golfstat head-to-head standings, are taking the season’s top three scorers in senior Mark Anderson, sophomore George Bryan IV and junior Allen Koon, while senior Warren Thomas and sophomore Patrick Rada will make their season debuts at the event.

South Carolina is coming off a fourth-place finish in the inaugural Brickyard Collegiate Championship, which wrapped up on Tuesday. Anderson led the way in 11th place, moving him to the top of the season leaderboard with a 71.00 average. By the standard he set early in the season, Bryan struggled in the event, carding 73 in each round to finish 30th. He is close on Anderson’s heels with a 71.83 average for the season and finished third in the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate last year. Koon had the tournament of his career at the Brickyard to take 16th place and lower his season average to 72.17. The junior’s three-round 215 and final-round 69 tied his career low marks, and his 16th-place finish was the best of his career.

Thomas was a steady contributor last season, playing in 10 of the team’s 12 tournaments, including the NCAA Regional and Championship. He posted a 73.86 average over 30 rounds and finished a season-best 11th at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate. His second-round 67, a career low, in the NCAA West Regional helped the Gamecocks to the title and a spot in the NCAA Championship.

Rada will play in his first varsity event since last season’s opener. Including three Garnet Team events in 2006-07, Rada posted a 73.73 average over 11 rounds and finished as high as fourth in the Coker College Collegiate.

Joining the Gamecocks and host East Tennessee State in the 15-team field are No. 9 Auburn, Coastal Carolina, Kentucky, Kent State, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, No. 15 UAB, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and No. 13 Wake Forest. South Carolina finished seventh in the event last year, which was won by Tennessee by one stroke over the host Buccaneers.