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March 15, 2008

STATESBORO, Ga. – While a Gamecock holds a share of the individual lead through two rounds of the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational at Forest Heights Country Club, South Carolina men’s golf needs to make up two strokes on No. 1 Alabama on Sunday to pick up the team title. After senior Mark Anderson was tied for first after the first round, it was sophomore George Bryan who surged into a tie for first with a second-round 66 (-6) on Saturday.

Bryan followed his first-round 73 with a six-birdie effort Saturday. The longer the hole the better for the sophomore who picked up a stroke each on four par 4s and two par 5s in the round. Anderson, who was the first-round leader, held his top-10 position with a share of seventh place through two rounds. He was steady on the front nine until a bogey on the par-5 ninth hole. A birdie on the par-4 11th got him back to even. Following a bogey on the par-3 13th, though, Anderson needed back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 to get back under par. A bogey on 18 set him back to even for the round.

Junior Patrick Cunning sits just outside the top 10 in 11th position, carding a 71 (-1) Saturday following his first-round 70. For the second-straight day, it was the back nine where Cunning made his move. Making the turn at +3, he picked up birdies on Nos. 11, 13, 14 and 16 to get back under par for the round.

Junior Mark Silvers III lowered his first-round score by three strokes with a 72 (E) on Saturday. Playing steady par golf through the first 13 holes, a bogey on 14 set him back a stroke. Silvers recovered with a birdie on the par-5 18th to end the day in a tie for 38th place. Senior Warren Thomas carded a 76 on Saturday, which, combined with his 75 on Friday, has him in 63rd place.

First-round team leader Tennessee fell off the pace Saturday, dropping to fourth, three strokes behind Florida. The Gamecocks’ second-round 281 (-7) was just one stroke behind Alabama’s Saturday total. Joining Bryan atop the individual leaderboard are Alabama’s Matthew Swan, Florida’s Manuel Villegas and Billy Horschel and UAB’s Brad Smith and Zach Sucher. Four other players, including Anderson for South Carolina, are just one stroke off the pace heading into Sunday’s final round.