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Oct. 19, 2007

COLUMBIA – South Carolina men’s golf heads to the 2007 Isleworth-UCF Collegiate Invitational this weekend where 10 of the 18 teams, including the No. 8 Gamecocks, are ranked in this week’s Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ Poll while four others are receiving votes. Seven of the nation’s top 10 are in the field, which tees off on Sun., Oct. 21, for the first of three days of play.

“The Isleworth Invitational is one of the premier events in college golf,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “The combination of golf course and strength of field is outstanding. We are excited about participating in this year’s event and against some of the best teams in the country. The Isleworth course is one of the best we will play this year, and I know that the team is ready to put the disappointment of our last finish at The Ridges behind them. We have had a solid fall campaign so far, and I look forward to our team playing well again this week.”

The Gamecocks got off to a quick start with top-four finishes in their first two tournaments before this week’s setback at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges. Still, both senior Mark Anderson and sophomore George Bryan IV are among the Southeastern Conference leaders in stroke average. Anderson has a team-best 71.50 mark after a pair of top-25 finishes this season. Bryan has been the Gamecocks’ top finisher in two of the three tournaments this fall, including a third-place showing at the season-opening Carpet Capital Collegiate and a career-best round of 65 in the second round at The Ridges.

A trio of juniors will join the team’s top two scorers at Isleworth. Allen Koon has played in all three tournaments this fall and topped his career best 54-hole score in two of them. His final-round 69 at The Brickyard Collegiate helped him shrink his three-round low to 215 as he finished in 16th place. His 72.56 average is three strokes better than his first two seasons at South Carolina.

Patrick Cunning has been a steady contributor in the first two tournaments with a 73.17 average. His second-round 69 at The Brickyard had him on the individual leaderboard going into the final round. Earlier this week, Florian Fritsch carded a 67 in the final round of the Coker College Intercollegiate to lead the Garnet Team to the tournament title and help himself to a second-place finish.

In addition to the Gamecocks, the other top-10 teams in the field are No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Georgia Tech, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Southern Cal, No. 7 Florida State and No. 9 Stanford. The Texas Longhorns will be back to defend their 2006 title, while Arizona, Arizona State, No. 18 Clemson, East Tennessee State, Illinois, Kentucky, SMU, No. 15 Texas A&M, host Central Florida and No. 14 Wake Forest round out the field. Georgia, which has won the event twice in the last three years, brings 2006 individual medalist Brian Harmon back to the field as well.