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March 28, 2008

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Sophomore Patrick Rada’s first-round 71 was two shots off the pace and led No. 11 South Carolina to second place after the first round of the Furman Intercollegiate. The Gamecocks, who shot 290 (+2), are three strokes behind tournament leader Chattanooga and three shots ahead of both Clemson and Vanderbilt heading into Saturday’s second round at the Furman University Golf Course.

Playing in his first tournament of the spring, Rada, wasted little time getting in front with an eagle on the par-5 second hole. The 2007 South Carolina Golf Association Player of the Year, who finished the round in third place, posted birdies on two of the last four holes of his front nine to make the turn at two under. Another birdie on the part-5 11th got him to three under before bogeys on Nos. 13 and 15 set him back to one under.

Junior Allen Koon made his move on the back nine, which he played at four under, to finish the round at 72 (E) and earn a share of 11th place. A double bogey on No. 8 had him at four over through nine, but an eagle on the par-4 10th got him back on track. He followed that with a birdie on No. 11, a par 5, and capped his day with a birdie on the par-4 17th.

Like Rada, sophomore George Bryan IV picked up an eagle on No. 2 and thrived on the par 5s all day, scoring birdie on the other three on the course. It was the par 4s that undermined his day, pushing him to 73 (+1) and into 16th place. After a birdie and a pair of bogeys had him at one under at the turn, another birdie on the par-5 11th brought him to two under. He recorded a par, two bogeys and a double bogey on the four remaining par 4s on the course, though. In all, he played the course’s 10 par 4s at five over.

Junior Patrick Cunning turned in a 74 (+2) to hold a share of 31st place after one round. Opening the round with four pars, Cunning posted birdies on No. 5 and 6 only to see them negated with a double-bogey on the par-4 seventh. After closing the front nine with a bogey, he got back to even with a birdie on the par-5 11th hole. A pair of bogeys on No. 17 and 18 sent him back over par for the round.

Finishing with a 75 (+3) in 43rd place, senior Mark Anderson had the Gamecocks’ most adventurous day on the course. The team’s leader in stroke average carded a team-high five birdies, including all four par 5s on the course. Four bogeys prior to his final birdie on No. 15 left him at just one under, though. Anderson stumbled into the clubhouse, though, with a triple-bogey on No. 17 and a bogey on 18.

Saturday’s second-round tee times for the 24-team field begin at 8 a.m.