March 16, 2008
STATESBORO, Ga. – South Carolina sophomore George Bryan IV collected his first career individual title with outstanding play over the last two rounds of the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational. His one-stroke victory helped the Gamecocks to third place in the event, finishing at 859 (-5), six strokes ahead of SEC rival Tennessee and three behind second-place Florida.
Bryan made his key move in the second round of the tournament. After a first-round 73 (+1), Bryan exploded with bogey-free golf in Saturday’s round of 66, which featured six birdies. Heading into the final round in a six-way tie for first, the sophomore powered his way to -4 just seven holes into the round. Bryan survived a slump of three bogeys in the next four holes and got back on track with a birdie on the par-5 12th. Five pars had his round holding steady, and Bryan punctuated his effort with what proved to be a decisive birdie on the par-5 18th to finish at 69. With a total of 208, he won the event by one stroke over Alabama’s Michael Thompson.
Junior Patrick Cunning also picked up his career-best finish, taking 13th place with a three-round total of 216 (E). He fired off a 70 in Friday’s opening round and carded a 71 on Saturday to sit just outside the top 10 heading into the final round. On Sunday, he got off to a solid start and made the turn at -2 before a double bogey on the par-4 11th brought him back to even. Cunning stumbled again down the stretch with back-to-back bogeys on the final two holes to finish at 75 (+3).
First-round individual leader Mark Anderson took 18th place, finishing with a tournament total of 217 (+1). The senior’s opening-round 68 set the pace early, and he was just one stroke off the lead after a 72 on Saturday. Anderson found Sunday’s round a bit more challenging, however, with a 77 (+5), saved by a birdie on 18.
Senior Warren Thomas and junior Mark Silvers III tied for 51st in he tournament at 223 (+7). Thomas closed strong with a 72 (E) on Sunday, behind four birdies, including three on the front nine, after recording rounds of 75 and 76 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Silvers’ best round of 72 came on Saturday as he made par of 16 of the 18 holes and capped his round with a birdie on 18. He opened the tournament with a 75 and closed the event with a 76.
No. 1 Alabama won the team title with a total of 849 (-15), winning by seven shots over Florida, as SEC teams claimed the top four spots ahead of tournament host Georgia Southern and UAB.
South Carolina is back in action in one week as the Gamecocks head to Charleston for the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, which begins on Sun., Mar. 23.