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Feb. 18, 2008

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – South Carolina holds eighth place through the first two rounds of the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational at Sawgrass Country Club. The Gamecocks are 11 strokes behind Alabama, which leads the 15-team field by two strokes over host North Florida. Senior Mark Anderson leads South Carolina in a tie for third place as he sits at one-under for the tournament after shooting 71 on the par-72 course Monday. He turned in four birdies on the day, including two on the back nine.

Junior Mark Silvers III holds a top-30 position, firing a 75 on Monday after an opening-round 74 on Sunday. Round two was much more evenly played for the junior after a first round that saw a triple and a double bogey among four birdies and an eagle. On Monday, Silvers played each nine at one-over and sits in a tie for 29th place at +5 for the tournament.

Warren Thomas followed Sunday’s 77 with a one-over 73 in round two. Like Silvers, his first round was dotted with difficult holes. Thomas got off to a quick start in round two with birdies on the first the fourth holes. Playing at one-under at the turn, Thomas battled the back nine to finish at one-over in the round. He holds a share of 35th place heading into Tuesday’s final round.

Rounding out the Gamecocks in the top 50 of the event, sophomore George Bryan IV scorched the back nine Monday to post a 75 after opening with a 77 Sunday. Three over at the turn, Bryan played the back nine even, including a birdie on 18, to hold onto a share of 47th place.

Sophomore Bryan Miller opened his first varsity event with a 79 on Sunday, but struggled to an 86 on Sunday. A triple bogey on the first hole set the tone, and Miller’s lone highlight was a birdie on the par-5 11th.

No. 4 Alabama built its lead on the backs of Mark Harrell and Michael Thompson who are among those tied with Anderson in third place. Individually, only seven players are under par for the tournament, including leader Joel Sjoholm of Georgia State, who followed up his first-round 69 (-3) with a 70 on Monday to hold a three-stroke lead on UNF’s Michael O’Neal. The host Ospreys sit just two shots behind Alabama with No.2 UCLA within striking distance of both at five strokes off the pace.

The teams close out the tournament on Tuesday with the Gamecocks teeing off among the first groups at 8 a.m.