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Feb. 19, 2008

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – South Carolina men’s golf took 11th place at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational behind a top-10 finish from senior Mark Anderson and a top-20 showing from senior Warren Thomas. The No. 14 Gamecocks posted a three-round total of 895 (300-294-301), finishing five shots ahead of Indiana and one behind Pepperdine and Georgia State, who tied for ninth.

Anderson was the top scorer for South Carolina, claiming ninth place with a total of 218 (+2). He posted the team’s top scores in both the first and second rounds, carding 71 and 72, respectively. On Tuesday, back-to-back birdies on eight and nine helped Anderson make the turn at +2. He was steady early in the back nine before a bogey on the par-4 16th set him back to +3, where he finished the round at 75.

Playing just his second tournament of the 2007-08 campaign, Thomas closed the three-day event in a tie for 16th place at 221 (+5). He improved his score every day of the event after opening with a 77 on Sunday. Thomas’ play evened out on Monday, when he carded a 73 (+1). He continued his charge up the leaderboard Tuesday with a final-round 71. A birdie right out of the gate on the par-4 first hole set the tone for Thomas. He went on to birdie Nos. 8, 17 and 18 to finish one-under for the round.

Like Thomas, sophomore George Bryan IV showed steady improvement throughout the event. After an opening-round 77 that included a pair of double-bogeys, Bryan posted a 75 on Monday behind a birdie on the par-5 18th. The sophomore shed the higher numbers from his scorecard on Tuesday to turn in a 74 in the final round. At 226 (+10), Bryan claimed a share of 38th place.

Junior Mark Silvers III ended the event in a tie for 59th place with a combined score of 230 (+14). Silvers’ best rounds were early in the event, scoring 74 and 75 in the first two rounds, respectively. Silvers’ final round got off to an inauspicious beginning as he carded a triple-bogey on the par-4 first hole. He rallied to pick up three birdies on the front nine but made the turn at +5. His back nine featured three birdies, but a pair of double-bogeys as well had him turning in a final-round 81 (+9).

After a first-round 79, sophomore Bryan Miller battled the course in round two with an 86. He closed his first varsity event with a final-round 81, capping a difficult round with a birdie on 18. He finished in 81st place with a total of 246.

Overall in the event, No. 4 Alabama held off a charge from No. 2 UCLA to win the team title by four strokes. The Crimson Tide finished at 873 with a pair of players finishing at one-under for the event. Georgia State’s Joel Sjoholm ran away with the individual title, finishing at seven-under at 209 (69-70-70), five strokes ahead of three players tied for second place.

The Gamecocks are back in action on Fri., March 14, at the Schenkel EZ-Go Invitational.