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March 25, 2008

CHARLESTON, S.C. – South Carolina men’s golf finished tied for second place with rival Clemson after three Gamecocks finished in the top 15 of the individual standings in the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate today. The No. 15 Gamecocks, who finished at 850 (-2), held a one-stroke lead heading into Tuesday’s final round, but North Carolina State blistered the course with a 271 (-13) in the final round to win the event with a total of 838 (-14). Junior Patrick Cunning was the top finisher for South Carolina as he claimed a career-best 10th place.

Cunning was the Gamecocks’ leader through the final two rounds, carding rounds of 70, 71 and 71 to finish with a career-low 221 (-1). After posting three birdies in each of his first two rounds, Cunning was solid on Tuesday with a birdie on the par-5 10th to offset his bogey on the par-4 fourth.

Senior Mark Anderson and junior Mark Silvers III tied for 14th place with matching rounds of 213 (E). Silvers sandwiched a second-round 75 between season-best 69s in the first and third rounds. He played bogey-free golf on Tuesday and carded a birdie on both the front and back nine. Anderson, meanwhile, turned in his typical helter skelter scorecards with steady scores of 70, 72 and 71. After scoring four birdies in each of his first two rounds, he put together five on Tuesday but scattered them among three bogeys and a double bogey.

Last week’s tournament winner, sophomore George Bryan IV turned in rounds of 71, 72 and 73 to finish at 216 (+3) and share 24th place. He carded four birdies in the first round, but lower-scoring holes grew harder to come by as the event wore on for him. In Tuesday’s final round, he picked up a stroke on the par-5 10th hole, but recorded bogeys on Nos. 7, 8 and 14.

Senior Warren Thomas rounded out the group with a share of 37th place after rounds of 75, 71 and 74 put him at 220 (+7) for the tournament. The highlight for Thomas came in the second round when he eagled the par-5 13th to go along with four birdies, which helped him get back to even par for the round.

The unranked Wolfpack surprised the seven top-25 teams in the 15-team field with the commanding victory as they were the only team to break 280 in any round, a feat they accomplished in each of the final two rounds.. The Bulls Bay Golf Club got the better of many teams, including No. 11 Duke, which finished 15th at 885 (+33) 47 strokes behind the winner. The Gamecocks finished a stroke ahead of SEC rival Florida, which is ranked No. 8 in the country. Individually, N.C. State also boasted the tournament winner in Matt Hill, who shot 71, 67 and 66 to finish at 204 (-9), two strokes ahead of Virginia Tech’s Jurrian van der Vaart.

The Gamecocks return to action in just a few days as the Furman Intercollegiate begins on Fri., Mar. 28, at the Furman University Golf Course.