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April 3, 2008

COLUMBIA – Tenth-ranked South Carolina will tee it up at the Champions Retreat this weekend as one of seven nationally-ranked teams in the 18-team field at the Administaff Augusta State Invitational. The Gamecocks, along with No. 7 Georgia Tech and No. 11 Tennessee, are in the second group of teams to start on Fri., April 4, at 8:45 a.m. It is South Carolina’s final tune-up before heading to the Southeastern Conference Championship in two weeks.

“The Administaff Augusta State Invitational is one of the premier events in college golf,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We are fortunate to be a part of the outstanding field, and I am optimistic about our chances to compete for the title after our past few weeks of competition. This is our last regular-season event before the SEC Championship, and I am looking for our team to really come together in preparation for making a great run into the postseason.”

The Gamecocks will take five of their top six scorers this season into the event, led by senior Mark Anderson and sophomore George Bryan IV. Anderson, who is ranked 25th in the nation by GolfStat’s Head-to-Head Player Standings, has the best stroke average on the team at 72.14, the ninth-best score in the SEC this season. He has finished in the top 20 of all four tournaments this spring, including top-10 finishes in two. Bryan’s 72.46 average is 16th in the SEC, and GolfStat has him ranked 42nd in the nation in its Head-to-Head Standings. He has a pair of top-20 finishes this spring, including his first collegiate title at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational.

Junior Mark Silvers III returns to the lineup after a one-tournament hiatus. He has a 74.0 average and is coming off a 14th-place finish at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. He opened and closed that tournament with rounds of 69. Patrick Cunning, who has a 73.11 average, has turned in two top-15 showings this spring, including a career-best outing at the Hootie at Bulls Bay event. The junior collected his first career top-10 finish with a career-low 212 (-1) one week after turning in a 216 (E) to finish 13th at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational. Sophomore Patrick Rada completes the lineup for South Carolina. With a 73.50 average, Rada turned in a career tournament to lead the Gamecocks at last week’s Furman Invitational. In his first event of the spring, he finished a career-best fifth with a 54-hole total of 218 (+2), five strokes off his previous career low.

Other ranked teams in the event are No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 UCLA, No. 12 Clemson and No. 22 Lamar. USC-Aiken, which is ranked No. 3 among NCAA Division II teams, also looks to make a charge against the highly-touted field. Host Augusta State, Coastal Carolina, East Tennessee State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Houston, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech round out the field. Tee times begin each day at 8 a.m.